Digital signage ROI coming up roses

Sept. 26, 2011 | by Christopher Hall

Just two years after deploying digital signage throughout the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore., home to the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, the facility has realized both hard and soft returns on its investment.

In just two years, the digital signage deployment paid for itself and is now producing a positive revenue stream for the facility — providing a hard ROI. And it has improved the customer experience and facility branding, Rose Garden executives say — providing a soft ROI.

Initially, the deployment replaced all of the facility's concession stand cathode ray tube (CRT) screens, which were displaying a loop of menu content played on DVD players, according to a case study by the digital signage software provider for the project, Omnivex Corp. In the summer of 2009, all of the Rose Garden Arena's concession CRT screens were removed, and a new digital menu board network consisting of more than 250 LCDs was installed.

The digital menu board content is augmented with advertising and sponsor branding, providing the arena with the ability to generate revenue by selling advertising space on the screens.

In phase two of the deployment, the arena's management team decided to deploy a three-by-three video wall to show content directed at visitors to the facility.

Additional screens were deployed throughout the facility, including ones facing out of the arena to the general public to welcome them to the venue and encourage them to come to the games and to expand the fan base. Other screens within the facility highlight upcoming events, promote fan activities and involvement, offer brand exposure for sponsors and add to the overall visitor experience.

Phase two also included adding information channels created for luxury suites and the VIP club to convey information to enhance the experience for visitors to those spaces.

And within two years, the entire thing has paid for itself, according to Bob Barnett, project manager for Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, the management agency for Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen.

"The addition of digital signage has been of great value to the arena," Barnett said in a recent email. "It has enabled us to provide very compelling content and has improved the overall fan experience. It is hard to measure the impact it has had on increasing concession sales due to the many variables involved, however we feel it has improved the overall experience."

Improving the overall experience is a soft ROI, but the advertising done on arena digital menu boards and digital signage displays also is providing a substantial hard ROI for the Rose Garden, Barnett said.

"We have been very successful with the advertising piece," he said. "It has enabled us to cover the cost of the system in just two years of operation."

And Tony Hendryx, GM of Ovations and the arena's VP of concessions, said the new digital menu boards are so attention-getting that they probably account for sales that can't be directly attributed to the new technology.

"I'd say that the digital menu boards are so active they have the power to make consumers stop in their tracks," he said in an email. "Once we've captured their attention it's easier to relay targeted messaging that may lead to a sale."

David Drain, executive director of the Digital Screenmedia Association, which just released its own ROI calculator for association members, said the Rose Garden provides a good case study that shows how upgrading technology can lead to making money in the long run.

"Stadiums and arenas are using digital signage to create an exciting experience for sports fans," he said in a recent email. "It appears The Rose Garden has done its homework in determining how to upgrade its facilities at a reasonable cost with a quick return on its investment."

And now that the system has paid for itself, and continues to incur minimal additional costs, almost all the ad revenue that comes in from the system is a net gain, Barnett said.

"Knock on wood," he said, "our maintenance costs have been extremely low. We do pay Omnivex an annual fee for licenses and maintenance and have had a few graphics card failures plus had one of our PC's (player) power supplies go bad. We have not had any TV failures. So with maintenance costs being very low and ad revenue continuing, we are seeing the dollars going directly to the bottom line."

For more about digital signage advertising or digital menu boards, visit our Advertising and Menu Boards research centers.

Topics: Advertising , Customer Experience , DOOH Advertising , Entertainment Venues , Menu Boards

Companies: Digital Screenmedia Association , Omnivex

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