Leveraging Data to Understand Today’s Fans for a Better Stadium Experience Tomorrow

Leveraging Data to Understand Today’s Fans for a Better Stadium Experience Tomorrow

Our interactions are increasingly digital. The world is becoming more mobile, more social, and in a word, smarter. With buzz phrases like actionable analytics, internet of things, advanced machine learning, and information of everything—it is our responsibility to increasingly integrate cutting-edge technology and smart solutions for a smart digital world into our everyday interactions. In fact, everyone is moving to a mobile-first mindset considering that by 2020 the number of devices per person will grow from 3.64 to 4.3 (Global Web Index, Strategy Analytics).

Narrowing the scope a bit, look at a single slice of this great big pie by taking a look at what the mobile-first, digital transformation means for the sports and entertainment industry.

The Mobile Mindset of Sports

In this mobile-social world, sports fans are visiting stadiums and arenas with their mobile devices expecting a connected game day experience. This expectation is causing the in-person experience to shift; it’s no longer about being isolated in your seat and more about an experience that combines physical and digital touch points throughout the arena from your seat, to your phone, to the concession stand, to the video boards and everything in between. It’s an all-inclusive experience.

Fans expect technology to play a major role in their game day experience. Fast, reliable, connection speeds. Mobile offerings. Interactive apps and signage. But the all-inclusive game day experience goes even beyond the technology…to what can this technology do for me. And the best way to assess what technology can do for fans is to collect and analyze big data.

The Power of Data

How big is Big Data? Huge, in fact. The massive and varied amounts of data we are producing and extracting through mobile devices, cloud products, mobility services etc. is growing geometrically as more digital touch points are incorporated into the game day experience. But what is happening to all this great data? This concept of big data in sports, or fan analytics (fanalytics as we call it), provides an opportunity for sports organizations to use these vast data sets for maximum impact on and off the field.

Let’s take a look at a few fanalytics trends we’re seeing so far in 2016:

  • Social: Sports organizations are focusing on a tighter integration with social media platforms. Data and fan sentiment can be extracted to evaluate which networks get the most traffic, when and why social activity surges, and which players or teams get the most mentions in social.
  • Mobile: As part of the stadium digitization efforts, it’s increasingly apparent and critical that clubs/venues need to provide their fans with a mobile app experience that provides relevant, engaging information. But outside of that, there is potential for mobile apps to have an even bigger impact on their game day experience, making it immersive.
  • Infrastructure: Because of social, mobile trends, it is imperative for stadiums to invest in either retrofitting or installing 21st century technology that can scale and support heavier loads of digital traffic. Investing in fast, secure, reliable connectivity provides the foundation for stadium operators to support fan access while simultaneously measuring, predicting, and responding to high peak periods.
  • Beacons and Sensors: Beacons and sensors help analyze and streamline different types of location-based activities around the stadium. With insight into different types of queues and wait times, users can plan their activities accordingly to maximize their in-seat viewing time.
  • Second Screens: Fans can be a bit impatient. How can we blame them…there’s just so much to look at. With second screens you’re providing additional digital touch points for your fans to continue to be connected to the game from their seats to the stands to the food stalls.
  • Wearables: Wearables are on the cusp of transformation. We know about iWatch and FitBit and Google Glass and RFIDs. But how do we find a way to use this pulse of data extending our physical selves to an as-yet-untapped segment as market penetration grows? Wearables for the fan and the player can blend to provide a deeper, more human connection.

These are just a few of the trends we are seeing this year, but really they are just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg that has amassed in the big data sea. Winter is coming and that means more icebergs. As you can see, there is massive potential in the sports and entertainment industry to learn from and share with data-hungry fans, and Avaya will help mine the ice, sculpt the data, and use fanalytics to drive innovation for sports and entertainment.

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