4 ways digital signage can transform sports' arena experience
By Joe' Lloyd, director of global marketing, NanoLumens
It's a competition with the couch. And, the competitor is fierce. Professional sports teams and venues are continuing to compete with inanimate objects in the average sports' fan's house: the couch and the home entertainment system. And, by all accounts the progression of in-home entertainment technology has put a dent in the ticket sales for live sports events. To strike back at sofas across the country, stadiums and arenas are looking to up the ante for fan experience and engagement, so that an in-stadium experience is one-of-a-kind and not easily replicated by staying home. Digital signage needs to be a big part of the strategy for fan engagement and marketing in stadiums and arenas.
Digital signage is more than just wayfinding
Advancing digital signage technology, coupled with Wi-Fi and beacon technology, means LED displays can be used for much more than pointing a fan to the nearest bathroom or exit. Smart technology in LED displays can be implemented to alleviate a fan's pain points while at a stadium or arena and help make sure they don't miss a minute of the action on the field or floor. LED displays can often point to the quickest way to a fan's seat, indicate the shortest bathroom and concession stand lines, give them up to the minute information about upcoming events or promotions, and even let fans know about available ticket upgrade options.
Digital signage can integrate with the screen in every fan's pocket. Smartphones are bonafide staples now, and fans are looking for ways to engage and interact with their favorite teams through their phones. Currently, 83 percent of sports fans say they check their social networks while watching games live and in person! From offering live feeds of fans posting pictures, videos, and comments on social media about a game to knowing what information fans are searching for during games and providing it on brilliant LED displays, digital signage is the perfect partner to help fans heighten and share their experiences via smartphones.
Plus, smartphones provide the perfect avenue for sports teams to learn more about their fans. Beacons in digital displays can latch onto a fan's phone, helping the venue or team learn more about her, like her birthday and seat preferences. This information can be harnessed by sports teams to offer a better experience, like recognizing the fan when she enters the stadium and delivering her favorite drink to her seat on her birthday visit or showing her advertising messages according to her interests and preferences as she walks by various displays in an arena.
Creating a digital, visual feast for fans
Digital signage can completely transform an arena's underutilized space into a game-changing experience for fans and a revenue generator for the stadium. Case in point: the Miami HEAT's Xfinity Plaza. The HEAT's home venue, AmericanAirlines Arena, had an outdoor concrete plaza that had gone unused for close to 20 years. The area was transformed by the installation of five custom-built cylindrical LED displays and a stage with a very large rectangular digital display mounted behind it. All of the displays were designed to work with the plaza's music, lights, and sound system, creating a truly immersive experience for fans and visitors.
The transformation of the plaza was successful beyond the HEAT's wildest dreams. The once-quiet plaza became a place that fans don't want to leave. So, the HEAT decided to open the plaza two hours before tipoff and keep it open after the game, adding ambience by hiring a DJ to further heighten the party atmosphere. The new space has turned into a major revenue generator for AmericanAirlines Arena and the HEAT and is now rented out for special events.
Upping the ante for VIPs
No matter whether a sports facility is older or brand new, arenas can implement LED displays at the club level to increase the value of that ticket and make fan engagement more exciting. By incorporating digital displays at the Club Level, professional sports teams can offer high dollar fans an experience they can't get anywhere else by using technology like augmented reality, virtual reality, and offering fans a view of unique camera angles on every play. Digital signage can even be used to create an entire "fantasy" area, so fans at the game can keep up with how their fantasy teams are doing, based on other games going on around a league.
The opportunity for the creative application of digital display technology is only growing in the sporting arena. No longer are sports venues limited to a basic rectangular display hanging from the arena ceiling. By tapping into this evolving technology and creative installation design, sports teams can generate highly memorable fan experiences that elevate their venues above the competition and win the battle with the couch.
Image via Istock.com