Does Your Sports Enterprise Have a Winning Strategy for Engaging Fans?

By: Becky Lawlor | - Leave a comment


On game day, your team plays to win. But gaining fans and revenue as a sports enterprise isn’t just about game day; it’s about playing to win every day of the year.

This isn’t just about team performance, but how well you can engage your fans at every level — on and off the field, on game days and non-game days. However, with so many disparate pieces of data from numerous silos (like venue, ticketing, concessions, merchandise and sponsorship), creating a winning engagement strategy requires managing all of these pieces of the fan experience in a holistic manner.

How a Unified IT Platform Engages the Fan Base

To increase profitability, sports enterprises need to engage fans while improving the health and performance of their team and optimizing the efficiency of their venue at the same time. No small undertaking. Through a unified IT platform, predictive and cognitive capabilities can help shape real-time decisions that carry into the fan experience. A unified IT platform can specifically do the following:

Transform Fans From Passive to Active Spectators

Most fans watch their favorite teams play from home on their TV. But when they turn a passive spectating experience into an active (or interactive) one, they’re much more likely to invest their time and money. While at a live game, fans can feel more engaged by receiving personalized notifications about automatic seat upgrades, ideal parking locations and even estimated wait times at restrooms. The ability to place and receive concession orders without leaving their seat — and share exclusive video feeds or instant replays with friends — increases fan engagement and keeps them returning to the stadium rather than just watching at home.

Improve Team Performance to Increase Fan Engagement

Sports enterprises need real-time data and insights into multiple interdependencies across the program, both in and out of competition. Consolidated data streams that provide a holistic view of a given event allows the enterprise to make critical decisions about teams and players, KPIs, pricing and more.

Optimize Venue Experience

The entire fan experience must be easy and enjoyable, including travel to and from the game, seats and any other venue-related activity. To this end, an venue not only requires wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi and cellular) so fans can use their devices to share game information; it also needs a central point of IT command. A unified IT infrastructure optimizes venue performance to meet these needs by monitoring power, water, elevators, HVAC, traffic and crowd management.

A Unified IT Approach in Action

One sports enterprise that understands the value of unifying its IT platform is AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE), which, according to SportTechie, is currently building a new stadium for events such as the upcoming Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer Atlanta games. Slated to open in 2017, its new stadium incorporates IBM’s Smarter Stadium Network, which will allow the Falcons to manage the entire fan experience end-to-end.

The new stadium will be outfitted with Wi-Fi services delivered via a single fiber-based Passive Optical Network (PON), Distributed Antenna System (DAS) and an IP-based digital signage and media distribution solution. It will include traffic management, cameras, managed doors and video intercom system, as well as integration with a new 360-degree, 63,000-square-foot HD Video Halo Board alongside 2,000 video displays and concessions.

“By partnering with IBM, we will ensure our fans and guests an unparalleled interactive and engaging experience, helping to make the new Atlanta stadium the marquee sports and entertainment venue globally,” said Jared Miller, AMBSE Chief Technology Officer in a joint AMSE and IBM press release about the new stadium.

A Winning Strategy

Winning fans’ hearts and wallets is not as simple as it used to be. Today, sports enterprises need new technologies that can take advantage of tech-savvy audiences who are tied to their mobile devices no matter where they go or what they’re watching. Unifying the experience from end-to-end, using an integrated IT platform with wireless capabilities throughout the venue and real-time analytics to help predict what fans want and when they want it, is the winning strategy.

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About The Author

Becky Lawlor

Freelance Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer. She develops and writes content on topics such as mobility, cloud services, unified communications, managed services and more.