K.A.A. Gent gives loyal fans a world-class venue as club joins elite
In 2013 the Ghelamco Arena opened its doors, welcoming 20,000 of K.A.A. Gent’s army of supporters into a modern, state of the art venue, a moment that marked the beginning of a new era in the club’s history which has seen a first league championship, Belgian Super Cup win and a debut in the UEFA Champions League.
Established in 1900 and now one of the Belgian Jupiler League’s top clubs, K.A.A. Gent has built up a loyal following and looked at the move to its new home as a way to create a more meaningful experience, reward its supporters and provide a platform for future growth and success within the club.
As part of this investment, the club not only wanted a modern construction but also an engaging environment, a memorable fan experience and an arena that maximised the revenue generation opportunities on match and non-match days.
K.A.A. Gent wanted to find a technology that could help them deliver this and working with Belgian AV integrator, Screen Services they found Tripleplay and its Digital Signage and IP Television platform.
Stijn De Meyer, ICT at K.A.A. Gent explains, “At our previous stadium we used a standard coax television system. We delivered a single TV feed to around thirty televisions, there was no flexibility to it and there was no possibility to deliver advertising messages.
“We needed a solution that would allow us to deliver content to all areas of our stadium, for multiple different operational teams and that would be simple to operate on a match day.”
The deployment would be delivered to 160 Smart TVs around the stadium shop, food and beverage stalls, fan concourses, in-bowl jumbo screens, television and press areas and into changing rooms while they also wished to deliver a branded interactive TV portal into VIP corporate boxes.
Clean, smart solution
The solution designed by Tripleplay and Screen Services enabled K.A.A. Gent to utilise the on-board processing of the Smart TVs to deliver content without the need for digital signage players at each screen.
Stijn De Meyer continued, “We wanted a clean installation so we chose smart TVs, using the Tripleplay platform we have created seven digital signage playlists which are encoded and delivered as IPTV channels via Amino Set Top Boxes.
“This method gives us the flexibility to choose the right playlist either centrally or via remote control within each area of the stadium, and also enables us to standardise delivery across the whole site, with channel selection being delivered via a fully branded, interactive IPTV portal.”
Using this approach Stijn and his team can deliver digital menus to food and beverage kiosks, live match streams via the Tripleplay Encoder to the concourse, advertising in retail outlets and statistics and match facts to the press and media. They also use several additional Amino Set Top Boxes to deliver content and streams to the stadium’s Jumbo screens and to non-smart TV screens within their offices and to the stadium’s TV studio.
Generating additional revenues
K.A.A. Gent have also been able to monetise their investment, selling advertising space on the digital signage screens. De Meyer continued, “While we don’t track the return on investment of the solution, we have been able to create an additional revenue stream through it. This is an excellent valueadd for us as a team and allows our business partners and sponsors another method of getting their messages to our supporters and guests.
“We focus our attention on ensuring the fans have the best possible experience at our games and the technology helps us deliver that. Investment in our supporters is important, so counting revenue takes lower priority than creating a meaningful experience and improving fan engagement; the additional revenue stream is a nice extra for the club.”
Experience is key to create meaningful partnership
With so many solutions in the market, it was important that K.A.A. Gent found one that suited their needs and with Tripleplay’s wealth of experience in the sports and arena industry they were able to deploy with confidence and work through any challenges.
De Meyer adds, “With any technology implementation there will be challenges, especially using a new technology like the Smart TVs. What impressed me most about Tripleplay is that they understood the importance of the technology to our team, they made sure that we ended up with the solution we wanted and needed, which included bespoke development that will be unique to us; not many businesses will make such effort for a single client.
“It is clear to see they have worked extensively in this industry and we have benefit from that experience, giving us confidence and peace of mind that Tripleplay will stay with us and support our growth and help us get the best from our technology.”
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