For marketers, the greatest attribute of a sports arena is the fact that it brings together like-minded consumers with similar interests, en masse. Event attendees are there to consume and have fun, and are generally in a good mood for the duration of their time there. Coupling this type of positive environment with data and new technology allows marketers to have a powerful impact on an already engaged audience.
The fan experience at stadiums and event venues is continuously evolving due to never ending developments in the world of technology. The use of apps is particularly common in these spaces, through which consumers can order tickets, concessions, and enter contests. Data and analytics tracking have also played a major role in improving fan experiences and ultimately keeps them coming back.
These days, live events like concerts and games are no longer simply about being a spectator in a seat. Fans want and demand an interactive experience that combines physical and digital elements to make fans feel like they’re in the center of the action and like VIPs, no matter where their seats are.
Engaging the Fans
Nothing will make the price of admission feel more ‘worth it’ to a fan than the feeling of being part of the action. Here are a few opportunities for effective engagement, that have been made possible by a combination of enthusiasm and technology:
Offer a Working Wireless Network
Most smartphone owners seem to be on a perpetual quest for wifi… so give it to them! Offering a powerful network to event attendees is a way to collect consumer information quickly and ethically (user emails, etc.), and will also encourage more users to engage with social media and other communication tools throughout the event.
Apps, Of Course!
Teams like the San Francisco 49ers and venues like the Barclay’s Center offer their own custom apps for fans and event attendees to download and engage with. Users of these apps enjoy discounts, advanced ticket sales, find parking spots, and other benefits comparable to a loyalty program. Some venue apps even go so far as offering attendees insight into the shortest bathroom and concession lines – a courtesy I’m sure we’d all appreciate! Apps directly affect the bottom line of sports franchises and event venues, since they make ordering and purchasing a convenient, seamless, and often quicker experience than traditional routes. They are also a great way to convey information to an already engaged and interested user base.
In-Seat Order Automation and Payment
Often offered through an app, venue order automation puts the buying power at the customer’s fingertips and never requires them to leave their seats. Multiple vendors throughout various stadiums rely on mobile point-of-sale (POS) machines to fulfill orders and collect payment on-site, right at the user’s seat. Missing a part of a game or a concert is the biggest sales deterrent at these types of venues, and any effort to fulfill orders while mitigating time spent away from the event and standing in line will inevitably result in a spike in patronage.
Screens! Screens! Screens!
Event venues seem to have digitized every available flat surface in the building – and rightfully so! From huge HD jumbotrons to individual screens above urinals and on the inside of washroom stall doors, screens are all over the venue. Digital touch screen technology can be a great on-site addition to these venues, allowing users to access maps, buy tickets to future events, and even order concessions. This behavior paves the way for a litany of communications and direct marketing opportunities.
The backbone of all these initiatives is your data collection, analysis, and protection practices. Using the right technology and data collection will allow sports teams and venues to connect with and engage their fans in an unprecedented way, cementing their franchise loyalty and creating experiences to keep them coming back for more. Staying connected to your fans, and allowing them to feel connected to you, begets lo