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How Weather and Technology Impact the American Football Industry

Outdoor Entertainment | Weather Technology |

How Weather and Technology Impact the American Football Industry

With the return of fall has come the return of the extremely popular college and professional football seasons. American football is more than just a game; it’s a massive industry with far-reaching implications. With billion-dollar revenue streams ranging from ticket sales and merchandise to broadcasting rights and advertising, professional football is a powerhouse. But what many may not realize is that this industry, like many others, is highly susceptible to the vagaries of weather. In this blog post, we’ll explore the size of the American football industry, the impact of weather on it, how our changing atmosphere may affect it, and how advancements in weather technology can help mitigate weather risks.


The Size of the American Football Industry

To comprehend the scale of the American football industry, let’s delve into some numbers:

  • Revenue: The National Football League (NFL) is the most profitable professional sports league in the United States. Between 2001 and 2019, the total revenue of all 32 NFL teams steadily increased, reaching 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. This figure dropped to approximately 12.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, however, shot back up in 2021 to exceed pre-pandemic levels. (Statista) When you include college football, high school football, and the various peripheral markets like fantasy football, the total revenue is significantly larger.
  • Employment: The American football industry provides jobs to countless individuals, from players and coaches to stadium workers and media personnel. The NFL alone has 3,595 employees. (Zippia) The industry as a whole contributes to local economies through job creation and tourism.
  • Fandom: The industry’s fan base is enormous. The Super Bowl, the grand finale of the NFL season, consistently ranks as one of the most-watched televised events in the United States, with over 100 million viewers tuning in each year. An estimated 113.06 million viewers were tuned in for Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. (Nielsen)


Impact of Weather on the Industry

The impact of weather on the American football industry is multifaceted and can influence various aspects of the game, from scheduling and gameplay to attendance and broadcasting. As the industry continues to adapt to new norms in weather extremes, finding ways to manage and mitigate the effects of weather will remain a critical consideration for teams, organizers, and stakeholders at all levels of the sport.

Game Scheduling

Weather can disrupt the scheduling of football games at all levels, from high school and college to professional leagues like the NFL. Adverse weather conditions, such as hurricanes, severe storms, or heavy snowfall, can force games to be postponed or rescheduled. These changes can be challenging for teams, players, and fans who have made travel plans and purchased tickets in advance. Additionally, rearranging game schedules can have ripple effects throughout the season, potentially affecting the playoff race and overall competitiveness.


Extreme weather conditions can significantly impact the quality of play on the field. Heavy rain can make the playing surface slippery, leading to fumbles and incomplete passes. It can also affect a team’s ability to execute its game plan, as quarterbacks may struggle to throw accurately in wet conditions. Snowy conditions can make it difficult for players to maintain their footing, resulting in slower gameplay and an increased risk of injuries. Passing and catching the ball can become much more challenging. Strong winds can alter the trajectory of passes and kicks, making accurate throws and field goals more challenging. Teams may need to adjust their strategies to account for wind direction and intensity.


Inclement weather can deter fans from attending football games. Fans may be less inclined to sit in freezing temperatures, endure heavy rain, or risk getting stranded in a snowstorm. As a result, stadiums may see lower attendance during adverse weather conditions, leading to reduced ticket sales and concessions revenue.


Weather can impact the television broadcasting of games. Severe weather can disrupt satellite signals, affecting the quality of the broadcast and potentially causing interruptions. Reduced viewership can affect advertising revenue, as advertisers may be less willing to pay for commercial slots during games with lower viewership.

Player Safety

Extreme weather conditions can pose risks to player safety. Playing in extremely cold or hot weather can increase the risk of injuries and heat-related illnesses. Extreme heat can make artificial turf fields dangerously hot, posing health risks to players. Lightning storms pose a severe threat to player safety, and games are often delayed or suspended when lightning is in the area. Heavy rain can lead to waterlogged and muddy fields, which can impact player mobility.


Our Changing Atmosphere and Its Implications

Our changing atmosphere poses a growing threat to the American football industry. This change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, leading to more disruptions in game schedules and increased risks for players and fans. Hotter temperatures can affect player performance, posing health risks. It can also reduce the appeal of attending games in sweltering conditions. High temperatures’ affects on both players and spectators may lead to the need for more indoor stadiums which come with high costs. Rising sea levels and more frequent storms can damage stadiums and facilities, requiring costly repairs and maintenance.


Weather Technology and Mitigation Strategies

Advancements in weather technology have revolutionized our ability to monitor, predict, and respond to severe weather events. These technological innovations offer invaluable tools for business decision-makers in the football industry to plan for adverse weather conditions and mitigate associated risks effectively. Here’s how each of these advancements can make a difference:

Better Radar Coverage

Enhanced radar coverage provides real-time, high-resolution data on weather conditions, including precipitation, wind patterns, and severe storms. This data allows decision-makers to closely monitor approaching weather systems and their potential impact on game schedules and safety.

Advanced radar systems can detect the early stages of severe weather phenomena, such as tornadoes or thunderstorms, allowing for timely alerts and preparations. This is critical for ensuring player and fan safety during games.

Climavision is addressing improved weather radar coverage in the US head on. We’re deploying our own network of high-resolution radars to close significant low level radar data voids and drastically improve forecast speed and accuracy. Over the next 4 years, Climavision is rolling out over 200 radars across the continental United States.

Expanded Observational Datasets

The availability of extensive observational datasets from satellites, weather balloons, weather radars, and other sources offers football industry decision-makers a wealth of information to assess current weather conditions and make informed choices about upcoming events.

At Climavision, we are increasing our access to unique observational data from multiple sources as well as  our own high-resolution radar network. These datasets give more insight into what is happening even in remote areas in real time. The more data there is to input into weather models, the more accurate the model outputs will be.

Cutting-Edge Numerical Weather Prediction Models

Advanced numerical weather prediction (NWP) forecast models use complex algorithms and computational power to provide highly accurate weather forecasts. Decision-makers can rely on these models to anticipate weather conditions with greater precision, allowing them to plan for contingencies well in advance.

Climavision’s Horizon AI forecasting Suite of advanced NWP models (encompassing Horizon AI Global, HIRES, Point and Subseasonal to Seasonal products) was developed by weather experts with extensive experience in the meteorology field. We developed these weather forecasting models to specifically address the new norms in extreme weather presented by our changing atmosphere to better predict volatile weather by assimilating novel observational data sets from sparsely monitored areas, such as the earth’s oceans, for a more complete forecast outlook.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

AI algorithms can process large volumes of weather data in real-time through the power of high-performance computing (HPC), to rapidly identifying patterns and anomalies. This enables decision-makers to respond quickly to changing weather conditions and make data-driven choices. AI can analyze historical weather data to assess the risk associated with specific weather conditions. This information can inform decisions about whether to proceed with a game, delay it, or take other precautions.

Climavision’s revolutionary Tech Platform harnesses the power of AI and HPC to integrate and process our observational data, utilize machine learning and provide high resolution data to our customers in customized formats with exceptional speed and precision.


Mitigate Weather Related Risk with Advanced Weather Technology

The American football industry is a behemoth, but it is not immune to the impact of weather and the looming threat of changing weather norms. As extreme weather events become more frequent, it is crucial for the industry to embrace technological advancements in weather forecasting and mitigation strategies. With better radar coverage, expanded observational datasets, cutting-edge numerical weather prediction models, and Artificial Intelligence, decision-makers in the football industry can plan for severe weather events more effectively, safeguarding the well-being of players and fans and ensuring the continued success of organizations within this industry. If you’d like to learn more about how Climavision can leverage these technological advancements to help your organization better prepare for severe weather events, contact us.