What the Big Game Taught Us about Customer Engagement

As the most-watched sporting event in the U.S. each year, the “Big Game” is the ultimate in fan engagement. In the heart of the Silicon Valley, this year’s venue and its innovative use of technology made the fan experience—on-site and at home– rich and entertaining.

Smart business owners watching from the sidelines took note, as these types of fan engagement experiences are akin to the same types of experiences that their customers are craving. In today’s digital world, customers demand a high-quality experience throughout their entire journey. The better the experience, the more engaged the customer becomes with the brand, and the higher potential customer lifetime value. Here are three lessons to keep in mind:

Make it seamless: In 2016, it’s become the norm to expect a fast-paced network to cover the entirety of a sports venue. The days of spotty connectivity at stadiums are behind us, and ticketholders now want digital interaction at the game and with friends and family afar.

Down the road from Levi’s Stadium is Avaya Stadium, home of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer fame, where wireless connectivity and digital content are available throughout the venue. Fans can use their mobile devices to scan QR codes to access exclusive content, and the stadium mobile app provides access to all the information fans need about tickets, amenities, parking, and game-day matchups. With this technology, the Earthquakes are making the fan experience as seamless as possible, setting themselves up for success with loyal customers and positive word-of-mouth.

Outside of the sports world, customers demand this same kind of seamless experience across multiple touchpoints with the companies that they choose to do business with. Every interaction counts, no matter where it happens. Ensure the customer’s choice of omnichannel communication is recognized and completely integrated into their personalized customer access strategy, and be ready to pick up right where you left off each time.

Live in the moment: For today’s tech-savvy fans, it has become second nature to share content – from a game-day selfie to a tweet about the latest play – as a way to feel closer to the game, the players, and one another. Sports organizations are beginning to take advantage of the large amount of content that live events offer by engaging directly with fans and followers in real-time.

Over in Colorado Avalanche territory, for example, the Pepsi Center boasts a fan engagement wall that provides fans an interactive experience that is shaping the way they enjoy game day activities. A live broadcast of social feeds allows fans to share their special digital game day moments directly on the wall. This allows fans at the event, and all over the world, to engage with others who are passionate about the same things.

This same strategy of leveraging information to provide a personalized, specialized experience is just as important for customers.  Self-service, fueled by online tools, “self-healing” technology and peer forums, continues to gain momentum with customers. While this is great from a time-saving perspective, it also reduces vendor differentiation and can marginalize service providers to the point of becoming just another commodity. Vendors will need to fight against depersonalization by working to maintain the human factor and treating each interaction as a relationship-building opportunity.

Watch the scoreboard: During the Big Game, the teams, coaches and audience kept a close eye on the game’s score as it changed minute-to-minute. Each team  also collected and analyzed player performance data to guide decision-making on the field. Data also played a role outside the game, such as with advertisers gauging the results of their marketing efforts.

For instance, advertisers are constantly trying to understand their spectators better. What they like to eat and drink, which vendors they prefer, the path they take in the stadium, how many games they attend, how often they use the mobile application, etc. The ability to understand the fan better means that more value can be given to the sponsors and other assets that the venue operator might utilize, such as digital platform programming, parking, or on-site (or near-site) restaurants. The goal is for the fan journey to never end, but to progress with greater affinity (and economic value) from event to event.

While it’s not easy to provide a personalized and consistent experience to millions of people at once, professional sports organizations find ways to keep fans coming back week after week, season after season. Just as they did at the Big Game, businesses must make sure they’re putting their customers at the center of the action by delivering the experiences they demand.

Related Articles:

The Experience is Everything in Sports & Entertainment for the Biggest Event in U.S. Football

Power. Strength. Fortitude. Offense. Defense. These are all factors that will play into the Big Game on AND off the field. Players, coaches, and staff traveling from across North America will be coming together as a team to execute a winning strategy. Avaya and WBL Services will be coming together as well to execute a winning strategy for core communications powering the biggest event in U.S. Football and delivering a solution that is powered by #AvayaStrength.

Partnering with WBL Services, Avaya’s 21st-century technology and solutions create an uninterrupted game day experience that is worthy of the championship game, powering critical communications from “upstairs” to the bleachers to the turf that impact the game from coin toss to the last few seconds.

The experience is everything in sports and entertainment and WBL Services, provider of data, telecommunications, and technology for teams and venues across the National Football League (NFL), will be leveraging Avaya’s Team and Customer Engagement solutions at locations across Houston for the Big Game to ensure fans, staff, players, and other critical resources are connected at key moments. From Foxborough, to Atlanta, to Houston … it’s the “greatest day in football.” On such an important day in sports history, it’s critical to have secure, reliable communications.

The partnership with WBL Services showcases the strength of Avaya’s portfolio for delivering fast, reliable communication services when it matters most—allowing sports teams to keep their focus on the field while we focus on the experience off the field. This is the seventh year WBL Services has provided Avaya solutions at the Big Game, which with such a rich history, makes Avaya and WBL Services the MVP for an elite, scalable, and championship-like infrastructure.

This annual matchup of the top teams in the NFL draws huge crowds both at the stadium and at home viewership. Collectively, NRG Stadium is part of a group of venues (including the Astrodome), known as NRG Park. The Lone Star State’s NRG Stadium stretches across 1,900,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of 71,795, which is a lot of area to cover and a lot of fans to serve on any given day—let alone the massive personnel required to flawlessly run and televise the mega-event under the Sunday night lights. Avaya’s next-generation communication systems provide support for up-to-the-minute broadcasting for the fans, operations, and media in-house as well as they anticipate 100 million viewers at home.

Big-Game-Infographic

Avaya Aura® will also be used by press and analysts, including 5,000 credentialed media, and game day operations personnel—serving as a mobile NFL command center at nearby facilities. A transportation command center and transportation call center will also be set up and used to dispatch transportation for the media, press, and the team. The Avaya IP Office™ Platform will be used by the AFC and NFC champions at their respective team hotels for pre-game and day-of communications that can mean the difference between game-winning play calls.

Having participated on the sidelines of the championship game, I know the commitment, blood, sweat and tears that go into victory. As a proud owner of San Francisco’s XXIX championship ring, it is with great honor and pride that I get to be a part of the Avaya sports team that carries a tradition of providing world-class technology that pays tribute to the most important day and the highest level of professional American football in the world.

We know you’ll be tuned in on Sunday, February 5, so keep in touch with us leading up to the day of the Big Game for more fun facts about how we deliver a world class communications experience for the biggest event in American football @avaya, #AvayaStrength, and #AvayaSports.

About WBL

WBL Services provides cutting-edge telecommunication services and support for CenturyLink Field and Event Center in Seattle. WBL also provides telecommunication services for large sporting events, trade shows, conferences and special events throughout the world, earning them a reputation for providing trustworthy, secure and customer-centric services.

Avaya Technology Will Do More than ‘Cover the Spread’ at the Biggest Event in US Football

Avaya and WBL Services will be providing a touchdown experience when it comes to gameday operations for the biggest event in US football. Partnering with WBL Services, Avaya is creating their own ‘red zone’ for uninterrupted gameday experience.

WBL Services provides the management of data, telecommunications, and technology for teams and venues across the NFL and will be leveraging Avaya’s Team and Customer Engagement solutions at locations across the Bay Area for the “big game” to ensure fans, staff, players, and other critical resources are connected at key moments.

It’s the ‘greatest day in football’ and it’s returning to the Bay Area fast after 30 years. On such an important day in sports history, it’s critical to have secure, reliable communications from the player to the coach, the coach to analysts, the coach to the team, the field to the box, the box to the press, the press to the fans, and everywhere in between.

This is the sixth year WBL Services has provided Avaya solutions at the big game, which, with such a rich history, makes Avaya and WBL Services the trusted advisors and go-to suppliers for the game’s elite, flexible, and scalable infrastructure.

The partnership with WBL Services showcases Avaya’s 21st-century technology and capabilities for delivering fast, reliable communication services when it matters most–allowing sports teams to keep their focus on the field while we focus on the game, media, security, and real-time connections. With Avaya solutions and partner services, we are able to literally ‘keep the lights on’ for an entire facility and activity hub for the “big game” covering over 75,000 anticipated attendees and hundreds of media and analysts.

Avaya’s next-generation communication systems provide support for legacy technology like analog, ISDN requirements, and DCP sets while embracing the future with IP telephony in all areas in and around a mega sports complex, especially in far-out areas that are critical for preventing power outages over 1.85 million square feet across the venue. Already the most-watched television program in the United States with more than 100 million plus viewers at home, rapid-fire communications and up-to-the-minute broadcasting requirements must be upheld.

Typically, solutions that are brought in to support these types of events are temporary fixes, but after visiting Avaya’s EBC and talking with our technology partners, it was determined that Avaya’s communication infrastructure will be left in place post-game to meet recurring demands, leaving a legacy for teams of the future.

It took one week to install miles and miles of cable to enable these on-site one-touch communications that keep the game going forward from the sidelines to the game clock; ensuring that NFL fans near and far as well as local and on-site personnel can expect a fan engagement experience that not only delivers unprecedented gameday experience but also pays tribute to the culture of Silicon Valley and its innovative spirit.

Apart from the stadium, Avaya is fostering mobile communication-enabled engagement environments at 18 locations across the Bay Area for a series of events leading up to the big game, including a key communications hub to support 5,000 credentialed media in San Francisco leveraging Avaya Aura®.

Avaya IP Office™ will also be used at team facilities hosting the respective AFC and NFC teams to ensure pre-game and day-of communications are operating at a championship-level. There will also be a 2-week stadium takeover at Avaya Stadium, no more than 6 miles away, that will operate as a transportation command and call center operating within the stadium’s reliable infrastructure.

Keep in touch leading up to the day of the “big game” for more fun facts about how we deliver a mobile fan engagement environment for the biggest event in American football @avaya, @avayastadium, and #showusyouravaya.