"Wi-Fi is no longer a luxury, it’s a utility. It’s the same as trying to apply an ROI model to installing urinals. The next generation of fans simply won't come if they can't connect."
Technology is impacting both the sporting and entertainment worlds at a rate never seen before. Chris White, Cisco's SVP and GM of IoE and Sports & Entertainment, declared "there’s been more innovation in sport in the last five years than over the last 50 years".
Granted he would be enthusiastic. Cisco are one of the biggest players betting on stadium WiFi and if the growth in stadium Wi-Fi usage between Superbowl 2014 and 2015 is any indication, this is a longer term strategy that is set to pay off with fans.
Not that there aren’t significant challenges ahead. While the sporting world as a whole is embracing digital and recognising the potential to disrupt an industry, innovation to date has been focused on WiFi technology in stadiums and expanding digital campaigns to include the odd foray into Snapchat (not that there haven’t been some cracking examples though).
Now with all 32 NFL teams and 30 MLB teams expected to have enterprise-grade WiFi installed in stadiums by 2016, the question remains how best to utilise it. It’s in this aspect of a technology deployment, that the team or event mobile app is critical to meeting the needs of fans, sponsors & rightsholders.
- From Informational to Transactional
Currently, the majority of team apps or event apps – particularly in Europe, aren’t incorporating any of the top 6 stadium technologies that we’ve highlighted as critical to the fan experience. A significant number are solely focused on informational content in-app, such as a live Twitter feed or Upcoming Fixture list.
However, platforms such as VenueNext and Venuetize are providing strong opportunities for teams and venues to turn these apps into commercial vehicles – facilitating financial transactions live from an event, to create new revenue streams.
Additionally, a significant shift is underway to power the next generation of event mobile apps that build on these transactional capabilities - to enhance the live fan experience and enable digital sponsorship initiatives.
With this in mind, here at Crowdsight, we’ve decided to examine existing mobile app offerings offered by sports teams & event promoters, and evaluate the offerings across two key areas:
- Enhancing the Live Fan Experience
The aim is to understand the strategy teams implement to cater to fans in real-time. For fans attending in-venue, what examples of in-app innovation are contributing to their experience? Special emphasis is going to be placed on unique aspects of mobile tech that break the mould and drive adoption/usage levels.
For fans second-screening during the game – does the app showcase the event or attract those users with value-add approaches. This is hugely critical for teams/event promoters going forward, as the opportunity now exists to use team apps or event apps to engage second screeners, capture their contact information and nurture them ona the journey towards becoming purchasing clients.
- Digital Sponsorship Innovation
As mobile apps take a more central role for attending fans, interacting at the height of their experience – the opportunities available for Sponsors to more effectively align their brands with the emotion of an event are almost unparalleled. The emphasis here once again will be on innovative approaches across digital that power more effective Sponsorship. Branding is the first step - however, real activation needs to go beyond displaying a logo in the app.
TEAM AND EVENT APP REVIEWS
This article is part of our series of Live Event App reviews where we look to understand best practice and current industry standards with a series investigating the potential of market leading Team or Live Event apps. Check out the other team/event app reviews that we've done here:
- Official Rugby World Cup App: A Review of how Fans made the Rugby World Cup a Digital Business
- San Francisco 49ers App: Examining how VenueNext re-invented the 49ers Fan Experience
- Real Madrid App: Real Madrid Keep Fans and Sponsors Happy With Unique Mobile App
- Barclays Center App: Barclays Center Creates a Digital Fan Experience via Interactive App
Check back soon for the latest in our series or sign up below to get informed as soon as it’s available.