SEAT Global Magazine - Sports Industry Case Studies Issue 06 August/Sept 2017 - Page 14

How to Create a Modern Stadium Fan Experience with a Digital Identity

Written by Andy Steen, Head of Strategic Marketing at Avaya

The sports fan experience—the way we consume and immerse ourselves in sports on site, at home, in a pub, pre-season, live, or in retrospect—is interwoven with digital tech. Sports fans are focused and engaged, with instant mobile access to info and entertainment. They crave integrated experiences that reach beyond the walls of the stadium.

So it’s the responsibility of stadium operators, club owners, and tech partners to discover how to use innovative technology to create unique, immersive, automated, smart, social, and personalized experiences. Experiences that will bring fans to the stadium—online and in person.

It’s no secret that venues have struggled in recent years to fill seats. They not only compete with other venues, they compete with couches and recliners. Live streaming, virtual reality, fan caves, theater surround sound, multi-device accessibility, food delivery—it’s all available at home. And it all competes with the in-stadium experience. To fill a stadium now, you must push beyond to re-make attending an arena event into an experience in and of itself. Start by thinking who your fans are—what are their personas? What do you want to represent when it comes to the fan experience you’re crafting? What can you do to shape your in-stadium, on-site experience so it is enticing to your fans?

Are You an Early Adopter of Tech or a Laggard?

The most promising—and most disruptive—thing we see across the industry is how brands are embracing and adopting modern tech trends. A variety of early adopters have rolled out impressive technologies and platforms. Their goals are to boost fan and customer experiences, optimize event performance and activities, and generate revenue—especially via uncharted channels. Early adoption matters when building the fan experience of today. Those on the frontline of tech have an advantage over the competition—they will collect crucial insights that can be used to further improve venues, teams, tools, and offerings.

But when we look at the some 500+ Pro Sports stadiums operating worldwide, there is vast room for improvement. Some venues are upgrading systems—a good phase 1—but globally a lot of stadiums are already in phase 2 or 3 of their digital transformations. So, to survive, it’s important to know how to move fast. On average, laggards make up about 16% percent of brand and customer groups. They are usually the last to adopt an innovation, sometimes much too late. Where do you fit right now? Innovator, early adopter, early majority, late majority … or laggard.

Case Study