FAN EXPERIENCE 2.0: It’s Time to Get Connected
by Mark Francis
January 15, 2014
January 15, 2014
2014 is upon us and with it comes continued intensive discussion among stadium/team owners about what to do about the high fan demand for a comprehensive Wi-Fi solution in their respective venues. Currently, the vast majority of sports and entertainment venues both in North America and abroad do not provide Wi-Fi for their fans and it is having a negative effect on attendance and revenue.
Studies out of both the SEC and BIG 10 indicate that there is a direct link between declining attendance and the lack of stadium Wi-Fi while the NFL’s attendance figures have declined steadily since 2007. Even more alarming is that the most significant drop in sports attendance can be seen in the ever-important 18-24 demographic and primary research clearly indicates the lack of Stadium Wi-Fi as the major contributing factor.
While there are a number of additional factors that have contributed to these attendance issues, including the vastly improved quality of the home-viewing experience, the reality is that today’s fans are extremely tech savvy and want to be connected wherever they go. This desire translates to all of their activities, especially attending sporting events, and their inability to do so is having a significant negative impact on their fan experience, not to mention the revenue that the teams could potentially garner from them.
Sports fans in 2014 are arguably the most passionate group of brand ambassadors in any industry. They want to associate themselves with their favorite teams and share every unique experience about them that they can, yet the lack of stadium Wi-Fi actually prevents them from doing so. While Stadium/team owners are now starting to understand the need to address this important issue, they continue to look at the cost of doing so only as a hard cost. Why not look at it from a revenue and brand-building perspective? A solution lies in the application of updated hardware and software that can quantify and qualify user activities. The reality is that an investment in stadium Wi-Fi hardware will allow stadium/team owners to meet fans’ demand for the technology and simultaneously open a whole new range of revenue streams that are driven by their fans’ social interaction activities. And now, through the development of relevant software solutions, it’s possible to go beyond the traditional likes and impressions to leverage a fan base’s passion for their team(s) by tracking, incentivizing, measuring and monetizing all of their social activities while at the same time providing sports organizations with the ever-important marketing data on all of their fans.
In short, it is imperative that sports organizations continue to push the envelope when it comes to delivering on their fan experience promise and in 2014, this means responding to the fan’s demand to be connected. Doing so will enable sports organizations to provide a true 360 degree fan experience, leverage the immense level of passion fans have for their teams and drive significant new revenue and brand awareness for the respective organizations.
Do you think increased availability of Wi-Fi at sporting venues will improve the overall fan experience? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.