#SportsTech: Enhancing fan experience in a cost sensitive market

Technology is hugely prevalent in the modern sports world, whether that’s in-bowl, concourse, online or on the training ground it has well and truly permeated the foundations of sport at all levels, in all disciplines and in a variety of ways. The sports industry has been frantic in recent years, with directors demanding they deliver an improved fan experience and ‘better’ fan engagement; but often the budgetary support doesn’t follow the instruction. So, how do you deliver technology solutions that allow;
  • Better supporter engagement online and in-stadium?
  • Improved atmosphere in-bowl?
  • Improved entertainment in the concourse?
  • Better performance by players?
  • A better experience for all staff and supporters within the club?
  • Return on investment (ROI)?
It’s not easy, and by no means is it guaranteed, but you can achieve it by being clever with that investment, by ensuring the technology you deploy has dual-purpose and can enable a return on that initial investment. For example, a digital signage platform, like Tripleplay, can be utilised to deliver social media feeds, recorded video content or live streams, whilst simultaneously being deployed in the retail shop promoting under-selling items, advertising local businesses in the concourse and promoting offers as part of a digital menu board system in F&B. These applications all help deliver ROI, whilst also providing the engagement platform a club needs to better engage and entertain; enhancing the overall match day experience. Does technology deliver? From our experience of working with clubs all over the world, it is apparent that the same consideration for ROI isn’t made at the top end of sport as it is just a rung or two down the ladder; but in both cases the effect is easy to discover. When premier league clubs report double digit percentage food sales increases, increase in the sales of premium seating and improved season ticket sales; their investment in tech is often seen as a key part of that, without them ever really analysing. But 2nd tier teams have much lower budgets, so they need to assess and track their investment to make sure they leverage their platforms to bring in whatever they can. We’ve seen English championship clubs report ROI in 3 to 9 months; depending on level of investment and we’ve also had clients refuse to tell us how much they’re making as they ‘don’t want us to increase their support costs’. Is experience impacted by technology? Technology impacts the experience, undoubtedly, it can make the day more enjoyable for young or occasional supporters for whom results and performances matter little, ensuring they enjoy the experience, talk about it and come back for more. Ultimately though, the biggest determinant in terms of the experience for hard-core support is often the result on the pitch; which aside from video and sports analytics technology can’t help too much. Sports tech can often just enhance a positive mood and be used to build atmosphere before a game. More than the game Using a digital signage and IPTV platform can also give a stadium operator the opportunity to build the experience beyond the match itself; drawing crowds in before, and holding them afterwards. This improves concourse dwell time and maximises the opportunity for revenue from ticket holders. Using digital screens to deliver premium or exclusive content before a match, fan videos, good F&B offers can make a stadium the first stop on a match day instead of a local bar. Likewise, at the end of a game, displaying local travel information (particularly if its bad news) and showing other content, live sports and highlights can keep fans in the stadium long after the end. Building a personality We’re also seen a move towards a more engaged online presence from clubs, with social media teams being given carte blanche to ‘troll’ rival clubs or engage in ‘banter’ with fans; social media teams are no longer spewing press releases and corporate standard boiler plates; they are actual fans delivering a fan experience. This can help to deliver more engagement with the club off the field, making the club feel more a part of its people and making the people feel more part of the club. When you then tie that into a stadium with a connection to its support, an instant communications platform, good content and a well-orchestrated match-day you start to deliver your goals… all of them. Companies like Tripleplay cannot promise you success on the field, but we can help you deliver business success and ensure fans are entertained; regardless of your playing style!

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