There’s nothing like watching your favorite sport in person. Whether you’re sitting in the nosebleeds watching a baseball game on Labor Day weekend, or your pounding the glass as a guy gets checked into the boards in hockey, there’s excitement in the air. However, in recent years, stadiums are seeing a dip in attendance. Baseball attendance was down 4.2% and even football home openers are having issues filling seats. Historically, attendance has been a huge factor in determining a franchise’s success. Although it’s not as big of a priority anymore, with the advancements in premium sports TV channels and live streaming games, it’s still important for stadiums to take note of and begin figuring out ways to generate more interest.
The first place to start is the fan experience. For those who are making the trek out to watch the game, it’s critical that they reap benefits that those at home aren’t receiving. Consumers are demanding the same level of connectivity and technology that they would get at home or with any other business. Venues have been converting themselves into mini smart cities, creating personalized experiences for each fan.
- Mobile Apps – these are now the best tools in a stadium’s toolbox. The features are only limited by the venue’s imagination. You can let fans find parking spots, upgrade their seats, order food to be delivered to their seat, traffic information, and view exclusive content and promotions.
- Sensors/Beacons – using geo-mapping stadiums can send exclusive promotions and trivia right to fan devices. Pushing the relevant information to them instead of waiting for them to look it up themselves. This will give you the added benefit of being able to track fan behavior.
- Instant HD-Video and Images – replays aren’t just for the people at home, the instant replay on the jumbotron makes fans feel more included in the game, but some venues also offer to let fans watch those replays on their mobile devices while cycling through different camera angles. Additionally, we all want to see ourselves at the game. Some stadiums have high speed cameras that can capture the big moments of the crowd during the game and make them available to download.
- Targeted Ad – stadiums can make a lot of money from merchandise and food/beverage sales. By installing dynamic screens that can be changed to highlight different products and tailor offers during the game, not only are venues catering to their sponsors, but offering fans more options. Stadiums that implemented this saw a 50% increase in partner sponsorship revenue.
- Fast Wi-Fi – we’re always on our devices and we’re always sharing. But the problem with crowded areas is low bandwidth wi-fi. Sharing pictures, and especially video, on social media and even watching the replays all require fast, secure and reliable connectivity for fans to fully engage.
And all of this is just the beginning. Stadiums are pushing themselves to become more and more innovative. For example, they’re now providing data about what’s happening on the field. How fast was that running back going? Did that puck really cross the goal-line? The answers will soon all be at our fingertips instantly.
Venues need to ensure the proper foundation is built to accommodate these new innovations. The right cloud platform, connected to the right networks, with the right experts creating models where data is transmitted in milliseconds. All of this will create the ultimate fan experience, which in the long-run will lead to more revenue for venues. 45% of “premium fans” who buy season tickets would pay more for a better in-person experience, and technology is paving the way for businesses to succeed.
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