As detailed by Nick Nishikawa in his latest article on Modern Sport Media Consumption, platforms to follow live sport are multiplying and are offering continuously increasing interactivity. Sport fans are multitasking. They are following many simultaneous games while engaging on social media. This brings its own set of opportunities, but also threats. For the connected generations of sport fans, this is more effectively accomplished in the comfort of one’s home where sources of information can be conveniently combined and where wait lines for concessions are inexistent. With multiple options to consume sport, many of the biggest sport fans are now turned away from stadiums.
This growing trend has a drastic impact on the sport industry. Without spectators in seats, in danger are not only revenue streams but also ultimately an essential element of sport: the role of the crowd in that 6th-man or that 12th-man effect.
Many influencers in the sport industry refuse to let live sport go down the road of sitcoms and have their crowds replaced by canned cheers. The recent months have seen many facilities upgrade their offers with innovative solutions being implemented to keep sport fans in stadiums.
The best example is the freshly built and state-of-the-art Levi’s Stadium, new home to the San Francisco 49ers. While numerous arenas underwent major renovations to improve elements of sometimes aging infrastructures, the Bay Area NFL franchise decided not to let the skeleton of Candlestick Park be a limit to innovation and instead built a new stadium from scratch – and recycled materials. Its unique combination of high-tech features represents efficiently the overall recent advancements made in the sport industry to enhance fan experience in stadiums, which is done mainly through three factors: 1) increased interactivity 2) sophisticated content and 3) reduced wait times at concessions and at the gates.
Welcome to The Next Generation
Opened in August 2014, the brand new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA integrates countless elements of sustainability and technology to market to a demographic of environmentally conscious, tech-savvy consumers. Among the most notable features that make this the most green stadium are the solar panels, which can yearly produce enough energy to power the daily stadium operations of the 49ers’ games. Facilitating eco-friendly ways of getting to the games are bike paths and parking, as well as multiple options for convenient public transportation. To top it all off and as a landmark for the facility, a 27,000 square foot green roof top that not only provides a unique environment but also helps with insulation to reduce the carbon footprint.
Moreover, situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, the facility offers an innovative experience to fans with the use of high technology. The increasingly interactive nature of live sport and usage of mobile devices during live sporting events justified for many stadiums to increase the bandwidth to allow fans to follow live scoring action from the league and to facilitate social media engagement. Levi’s Stadium is a leader in that matter thanks to an innovative and secretive Wi-Fi infrastructure, which offers the 60,000 spectators a signal 30 times faster than in any other arena. Additionally, through the Levi’s Stadium app, fans can view video playbacks with customized camera angles and order concessions at the tip of their fingers – a few taps and swipes on their mobile device is all it takes.
With Levi’s Stadium, fantasy sport fans have one less excuse to stay at home. Appropriately sponsored by Yahoo! Sports, the Fantasy Football Lounge integrates a number of features to enable smooth monitoring of fantasy teams.
Host Your Next Pool Party at EverBank Field
Another avenue to enhance fan experience is through premium seating inventory. This might be the one area where using Levi’s Stadium wouldn’t be a fair representation of the best innovations implemented. The NFL Jacksonville Jaguars’s EverBank field has recently undergone extensive renovations to offer unreal poolside cabanas for groups. These suites create a one-of-kind party venue, combining the best entertainment options available in Florida: unlimited food & beverage, luxurious swimming pools and lounges to comfortably watch live sport with friends, supplemented with larger than imaginable screens displaying the scoring action of other simultaneous games. Quite the upgrade from the old plastic chairs found in arenas!