Mobile Applications and Better Networks Seek to Improve the Fan Experience

Football Stadium.jpg

As any fan knows, the good aspects of watching a live game –

the energy of thousands of fans, stadium snacks, and live football – also come with some logistical challenges and headaches.

Spending time outdoors in a football stadium with more than 60,000 other fans can present some logistical challenges that can put a kink in an otherwise perfect day at the game. Long concession lines or lines in the bathroom can result in missing the live action you came to see.  Clogged or unavailable networks can negatively affect many new services that organizations are trying to deliver to fans.

As a result, forward-looking, customer-oriented franchises are embracing technology in different ways to enrich the experience of fans. It is interesting to see the importance of this relationship as new job titles like "General Manager of Stadium Experience and Technology" emerge on the scene.

In this blog, I've pulled from a series of articles I found that highlight key dependencies and emerging requirements to think holistically from the individual fan all the way to the data center infrastructure. The reason: The Live Experience has competition from an ever-improving At Home Experience.

  • This Sports Illustrated article about how the New 49ers Stadium Will Feature Mobile App to Help Optimize Beer and Bathroom Trips. The IT team is set to roll out a mobile app that points fans in the direction of the shortest line - and shorter lines mean more time watching football and more happy customers!
  • Another app is focused on eliminating lines altogether by arranging for food to be delivered right to your seat - so you don't miss any of the action you paid for.
  • Speaking of not missing the game - while many stadiums continue to focus on large screen displays to bring the on-field action (and replays) to the fans, others are also focusing on hand-held apps that enable personal replays and streaming of multi-media experiences in the stands. The multi-dimensional experience of watching a game at home - such as the ability to replay at your will, engage in conversations with other fans on social channels, and follow your fantasy team can, and should, all be a part of watching the home team play live.
  • The shared experience of witnessing a great game is only further enhanced by stadiums and teams that have embraced social media. By giving fans new ways to connect with each other, the team, and the players, pro football organizations provide a view of the game from every angle. Fans' game experiences are enriched by photos and commentary from the nosebleed seats, the sidelines, the press box, and the locker room.
  • However, this increased use of mobility and the rapidly increasing number of mobile devices in the park can be a drain on network availability and bandwidth, hindering the benefits of these new services and experiences mentioned above. Proactive sports franchises and CIOs are investing ahead of this curve, realizing that the competition for fans is seats is fan on the couch.  For any fan who has struggled to send a text message, or to upload a great game picture, it will come as a relief that stadiums and in some cases leagues are being encouraged to upgrade to more powerful wi-fi networks. These days, a strong network connection is an important aspect of how closely fans feel connected to their team!

Join the Twitter conversation by using the hashtag #SportsTech!

How do you think technologies, such as cloud computing, Big Data, the Internet of Things, and/or mobility could be used to fix your stadium headaches?

Check out yesterday’s blog on how pro football teams are using enterprise tech to keep players safer.


Chris Peters is a business strategist with more than 21 years of experience ranging from Information Technology, manufacturing, supply chain, nuclear power and consumer products.

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