5 Stadium Technology Trends Increasing Fan Engagement
Published on January 24, 2023
As more and more advances in stadium technology make events more appealing to fans, it’s time for you to get on board and get ahead
Not too long ago, if you wanted to see a sporting event, you had to go in person. Sure, you could listen to a play-by-play on the radio, or adjust the bunny ear antennae on a standard definition television, but the only way to get the full experience was to go to the stadium itself.
In the last decade or so, viewing options for sports lovers have changed. A comfy recliner and 52″ HDTV can now give them an up close and personal look at each and every play—not to mention easy access to the “concession stand.” And with fast internet connections, fans can watch games on their phones or computers while they’re on-the-go. So what’s one thing that fans can’t get at home? State-of-the-art stadium technology.
Stadium technology wasn’t always a necessity; teams offered a totally unique experience fans couldn’t get in on anywhere else –you can’t dance with the Philly Phanatic at home! Turning a blind eye to technological advances can’t happen anymore, though. Attendance is down and teams are feeling the pressure. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 10-year changes in average home game attendance for professional hockey, baseball, basketball, and football teams across North America—of the 17 teams they surveyed, average home game attendance declined by more than 10%.
Trying to compete with the appeal of staying home to watch a game? You’re going to need to give your fans more than peanuts and popcorn.
Keep fans informed and watch your branding efforts come to life with Everwall. For folks at home, you can even embed the feed on your team’s website.
Stadium technology you need to create a memorable fan experience
If you want to engage your fans the right way, you need a mix of stadium technology options that work inside and outside of your venue. It’s your job to make attending your games a unique experience.
1. Good, reliable Wi-Fi
You may be thinking “duh” right now, but the importance of Wi-Fi in your stadium can’t be understated. Your younger fans expect fast Wi-Fi at your venue and if they can’t do what they need to do instantly, they may just walk out at halftime and never come back. The whole stadium should be seamlessly connected to make all of your digital initiatives successful and enjoyable. You also want to make sure your fans have reliable Wi-Fi so they can post on social media from the games in real time, making it a true word-of-mouth advertising opportunity for your business.
2. Digital signage
Jumbotrons changed stadium displays when they hit the scene in the ’80s, but digital signage is more than that. Screens of all sizes can be used on the field, in concessions, the ticket office, and more. Use some of them as social media walls and pull in moderated fan posts that use a specific team hashtag, showcase photos, host polls, and make announcements. This type of stadium technology allows you to engage your fans in fun ways and make them the star of the show when their social posts show up on the big screen.
3. In-seat phone chargers
Smartphones are a big key to keeping fans engaged during a sporting event, but what happens when their phone batteries die? Help fans keep their mobile devices charged by offering a way to charge their phones right at their seats. IBM notes that “with Apple’s embrace of Qi wireless charging in the latest iPhones and broad adoption across Android manufacturers, a new option has opened which makes in-seat charging possible.” Qi charging pads can be waterproof (and beer proof, and soda proof) and fans don’t have to worry about bringing a charging cable.
4. Mobile apps
Your team may have a general mobile app, but do you have capabilities that are unique for in-person attendees? The Minnesota Vikings offer a free gameday app that features on-demand video, breaking news, real-time statistics, instant replays, directions to the stadium, Vikings ticket downloads, reward points, and the ability to purchase team merchandise. A mobile app is your opportunity to enhance the fan experience using a form of technology they already brought with them.
5. GoPro videos
Fans may think they get a better view of the game at home, but using GoPro videos in your stadium can create a different view for attendees that at-home watchers can’t see. For example, strap a GoPro onto your home plate umpire and put the UmpCam on one of your big screens. ESPN started this trend during the 2015 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, and while they were broadcasting the ump’s point of view on cable, the UmpCam (or RefCam) could easily be for stadium use only. Attendees will be able to watch the game from the ref’s point of view. Have ticket holders tweet with a specific hashtag and give their opinions about the ref’s calls—and, of course, let those posts come through on your social media wall.
Once the game is over you can repurpose the videos and post them on social media. That way, you get good mileage out of the footage, but it’s still only live in the stadium and unique to that in-person experience.
As you integrate new forms of stadium technology at your venue, keep an eye on up-and-coming tech as well. Ideally, you won’t just keep up with other stadiums—you’ll be an early adopter and set the bar for the others.
Display all the social posts from your fans in real-time! Everwall is built to handle large volumes of social posts at stadium events, with filters that help ensure the content shared is family-friendly.
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