Do people at sports stadiums actually watch the game anymore? Connectivity and social networking is becoming a more integral part of the live sports experience, and stadium owners and sports teams are increasingly looking at tapping into technology to drive new business models.
Sports management is eager to install ubiquitous wireless systems and encourage you to browse online media and chat up fellow fans to your hearts content. They’re developing new advertising and marketing models tied into these networks. And that’s likely to accelerate, according to a a new report, “State of the Stadium,” published by Mobile Sports Report in conjunction with the the Sports & Entertainment Alliance in Technology (SEAT).
The two organizations teamed up to survey more than 50 respondents representing arenas that host the top professional league teams, including the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL, as well as top U.S. university facilities for basketball and football, European and U.S. professional soccer teams, professional golf and car-racing venues. The report is available for free here (registration required).
The survey and report show how fast stadiums are moving to upgrade technology to serve the fanbase — and themselves — to build a living, breathing network of fans that interact in real-time. Stadium managers concur that wireless communications can enhance fan experience and may represent bigger business opportunities.
Stadiums are moving quickly to install new technology, including wireless systems (both Distributed Antenna Systems [DAS] and WiFi), networked digital signage, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that can leverage social media.
The enabling technology, wireless connectivity, serves as the foundation for everything else. But stadium owners do have to make some key decisions about wireless technology, because it represents a significant investment. One of those decisions is whether to install a DAS or WiFi system. DAS, a network of smaller, distributed cellular antennas, can cover more of a stadium faster, even though it’s a slower connection. WiFi is more expensive but provides more bandwidth.
Here’s a sample of stats from the full State of the Stadium report:
- 55% of stadium managers said they had installed Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) wireless technology, and a further 35% were planning them or had them under construction.
- 35% percent of respondents said they had high-quality WiFi in all seating areas, and 19% said that it was in the planning stages or under construction.
- 84% of the organizations surveyed said they use CRM.
- 20% said they use social media to drive ticket sales.
- 70% said they had three or more employees dedicated to social media.
- 58% said they activiely solicit fan comments on social media both live and online.
You can see where this is going: Connectivity yields data. The stadiums see an opportunity to further engage their fan base and track demographic information and engagement. They can then build their marketing channels throught social media networks and track sales and marketing activity through a CRM database.