Let's face it, an iPad is no more distracting than a magazine or a book, yet, nothing in the New York Yankees or Yankee Stadium "rules" bans book or magazines.
So why are the Yankee's doing this?
Here are a few likely "reasons" they are from someone who grew up inside the sports world, from the age of 14 until I was 38, working with and for some of the most professional venue and team executives ever to be around sports and entertainment:
1. The reflection from the screen may distract one of the ballplayers--gee so could the groupie in the front row who is wearing hardly anything at all who likely will have more of the player's attention after the game.
2. If you're reading the iPad instead of watching the screens you're not seeing the ads--gee, some fans could be reading their Bible and be praying for a home run. Either way, this impacts revenue from gross impressions from ads and commercials on the replay screens, signs and scoreboards.
3. The iPad may let you make a bet in real time just like your iPhone, Android or any Smartphone. Gee-- they're not on the list of banned substances in the MLB yet.
4. You'll be subscribing and using the MLB's At Bat 2010 iPad application and know more about the game's that day, and possibly learn more than the guy sitting next to you. That's ok, they're a fan of the opposition anyway, and it may cause them to learn something new, because we all know that Yankee fans already know it all.
There are likely a ton of real reasons/excuses the Yankees could offer up, but honestly, does a laptop or iPad really interfere with the game? Does it create a risk for the venue? And most of all, is the safety of the fan really compromised? Well, I guess to be serious they do. You see, we all know about distractions at athletic events, and the iPad could easily cause more than a few distractions:
1. A foul tip could hit you in the face because you were too busy watching or reading on the iPad (but the same argument applies to Blackberries and they are not yet banned)
2. Walking into someone-we all have seen the Blackberry Helmet video (or should watch it)
3. Revenue-you're not buying the game day magazine or program book and instead are getting more current content and information from other sources that are not making money for the Yankees and MLB.
4. Theft, fights and more--Yankee Stadium isn't exactly in the most poshest of neighborhoods in the five boroughs of New York. The risk of theft or a fight over your iPad on your way in or out of the venue could cause patrons harm or lead to increased thievery.
5. Where does it get stored when you're not looking at it? Let's face it, seats at a ballpark don't exactly have baggage storage. At what point is a bag too big to fit under your seat?
I could go on and on, but the reality is, after thinking this over, the Yankees are really leaning to the side of caution. Unfortunately, they just dropped the ball in how they handled the communications to the public.