As I was watching college football over the weekend I thought to myself how does the fan experience get any better than this? With an HD 60 inch flat screen television, a decent audio system, my remote and my couch I knew I was on to something, I mean who would want to actually go to the game right...
The truth isn't as simple as I'm making it out to be with millions of fans packing stadiums across the country every day but its still a reality that the improving in-home fan experience combined with increasing ticket prices are starting to have an affect on the number of people attending sporting events.
Today’s fans want to see and experience more than just the game they love; they demand ‘always on’ connectivity, accessibility, and convenience that only new innovations in stadium Wi-Fi technology can provide.
Let's face it the real battle your facing is not against other teams or sports but the comforts and luxuries of being at home.
This evolving fan behavior poses both a challenge and an opportunity for event and venue owners to provide the in-stadium atmosphere fans expect and that will keep them coming back.
From the start of any new stadium design or renovation wireless should be at the top of your list of priorities. This may be a huge investment but with the current market’s direction moving towards growing wireless technology expectations, having a fully connected stadium is no longer an option.
You need a high-density event Wi-Fi infrastructure to leverage technology in taking advantage of the different possibilities that come with a connected stadium.
To help you capitalize on these changing fan expectations, we have listed a few different ways that wireless can help you transform the fan experience.
1. Connected “Always On” Environment
Fans want that constant connection to the outside world. They want to share their experiences to their friends via social media. A connected environment will allow them to check-in their location, send messages, upload photos, and post real-time updates.
They can also access live feeds of information, check statistics and scores from other games, and engage with their sports team and other fans through mobile device apps.
For example, fantasy football is almost bigger than the game itself (depending on who you ask), and many fans will want to be able to check their scores, make adjustments and place their bets. It's important your stadium or event's wifi is designed to support what your users want to do when they are connected.
Encouraging the sharing of information with others is a great addition to the fan experience as well as a huge marketing opportunity for teams, sponsors, and event managers. By creating apps and other exclusive content, you can market specifically to your fan base, opening up new means to boost revenue.
2. Data Collection and Analytics
“Big Data” can help you gain insights into your fans that you can use to make smarter more informed decisions.
Wireless and intelligent networking using the "IoT" can provide you the opportunity to collect data on fans’ behavior, preferences, emerging patterns, and how they use your network. This will help you develop marketing strategies based on real-world and real-time data and target those efforts to a specific fan base.
3. Digital Marketing
Even before the event starts, your marketing efforts have been trying to gain attention and create anticipation for the live event.
Digital marketing makes this much more efficient and effective. You can create some buzz by launching teaser campaigns, social media activities, and previous game recaps.
You want cause for people to talk and spread your reach even further. This helps with ticket sales and getting the fans to attend.
Once at the venue, a reliable event Wi-Fi network will encourage fans to share and pull in more attention. You can also live stream the game, instant replays, or alternative views for both attending and remote fans to extend your connection beyond the venue.
It's all about creating a collaborative community that allows your fans to connect and interact with the event and each other in real-time.
4. Navigation and Logistics
You can integrate traffic navigation and logistics for people making their way to the venue. You can provide updates for the quickest routes to take and give estimated travel times.
A parking aid feature can also cut down the searching and waiting for parking spots by indicating where they can find open availability.
Event venue navigation can provide turn-by-turn directions to a fan’s seat, nearest exits or fire exits, and ticket and concession stands. Using intelligent networking with the "IoT" you can even offer guests wait times at bathrooms and concession stands while also providing them with suggested best times to use those facilities. This takes the convenience of the event experience to whole new level.
5. Instant Gratification
There’s nothing like watching a ball game while eating popcorn or hot dogs in the stands but everybody hates having to miss some game time to go to the concession stands.
With event Wi-Fi and a dedicated mobile app, fans can order food and drinks through the app, queue in virtual line, and have their orders delivered to their seats without even having to get up.
Wireless technology enables you to inject more value to the fan experience, allowing them to enjoy the game minus the usual live event frustrations.
Suggested Reading: "3 Smart Ways Beacons are Changing The Event Experience"
As Sasha Victorine of Sporting Innovations said, “You have to think about getting people into your building. You look across to all leagues now, and everybody’s looking at, if I’m in the building, am I getting content that I can’t get at home? Am I getting things that I can’t get somewhere else? Because if that’s the case, then that’s maybe a benefit for me to come.”
This is especially true with the increasing demand of mobile devices and digital content. The game itself isn’t really motivation to leave the house anymore because the game is now accessible anywhere.
In order to keep live events relevant, you have to offer an experience that fans cannot get anywhere else. You also have to meet the changing expectations of connectivity and technology.
In the digital world we live in, Wi-Fi is critical piece to making all of this possible.
To learn more about designing and deploying a wireless network infrastructure for your event and developing a contextual networking strategy, simply contact us here.