There are two ways to understand smart stadiums. Fans, sponsors, and organisations picture them as a place unfolding limitless technology which makes the whole experience at the stadiums extraordinary. While in the professional world, such a term is a “global concept” which seems to erase any resemblance to the stadiums we have known until today.
That is why aspects such as their use, the existing possibilities in the market and the potential of the current horizon. To identify the real impact on a stadium to make it Smart, taking into account the experience of all our fans, sponsors, businesses, corporate partners… as well as its impact on the balance sheet of the club. In this way, it will prevent the need for applying technology just because of a hype and not because of what it can really do.
There is no room for scepticism when it comes to applying technology in stadiums. In fact, it must be an essential part of any business model, but a rational and optimised one so that it can be monetised.
In the short to medium term, having a technological positioning will be mandatory for all stadiums. And it will no longer be seen as a positioning stance, as it will simply meet the basic demands of the market. Smart technology is strategic to not fall behind the competition (as it goes beyond looking other stadiums), and look at the whereabouts of the leisure and entertainment industry.
Fan Experience and Technology
Smart stadiums provide clients with the best experience. What does this mean? The more technology, the better for the fan experience and the rest of users? Not really. Technology itself is not the core of the experience—at least today—but it is just a complement designed for fans to enjoy when visiting stadiums. In this way, they will be drawn to come again and spend more time at the venue. Consequently, technology is not the experience itself but just an element which leads to improvement.
As an example, it is of little use for the stadium app to give us information on the food & beverage court if it is poorly designed, poorly distributed, and the products is not right in terms of price, quality and tastes according to the profile of our fans. The proposal and the catering service do stand as the experience itself, but not the technology providing access to it. This will help improve the gastronomic experience, because it can promote consumption by offering ad-hoc promotions in real time with pop-ups related to the game, for example. Or it will allow us to order before the break, reducing waiting times, and it will even allow us to operate a cash-free payment system. But we will not engage with the fan if the experience /product, gastronomic or not, is poorly designed or insufficient.
Up to now, connectivity has been one of the weaknesses of the technological development of smart stadiums. After the arrival of 5G, the possibilities of impact on the fan interaction increases substantially, meeting a demand which is already a fact in the day-to-day routine. Thanks to the speed of the new mobile network, it will be possible to download content, share videos on social media, go live with friends who are also in the stadium or access AR or VR content. Besides, it will exponentially increase how many mobile phones can be connected simultaneously, which will allow offering the same service just like any other place but enjoying the real-time experience with thousands of fans.
And if fans in general no longer concieve attending a match or event without being fully connected, or without interacting on social media and sharing content, for Centennials this is in their DNA. They are the customer of the future, and in a few years they will be at the core of the business. The success of stadiums and arenas will depend on how they adapt to their demands and how they personalise the fan experience, understanding that the experience is both physical and digital, and that one cannot be understood without the other. High connectivity will therefore be fundamental.
Applying Technology and its Impact
As we mentioned at the beginning of this first chapter on Smart Stadiums, we must look for a rational and optimised use of technology that brings monetisable value to the clubs. In the second article, we will review its impact and in which areas it has a significant application, such as: operational, commercial, AI & big data, audiovisual, and the commitment to VR & AR as well as holograms.
CATEGORY: MARKETING, COMMUNICATION AND MANAGEMENT
This model looks to the future with the requirements and demands of a new era of stadiums, directed toward improving and fulfilling the experiences of fans and spectators, remembering “feeling” and “passion” when designing their business model.
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