A recent Cisco study stated that 57% people choose to watch games at home instead of going to the venue. This statistic is jolting venue owners and sports teams who are striving to drive footfall to sports venues. The challenge for them is to motivate fans to choose sports venues over the comfort of their homes. One of the best ways to achieve this difficult task is to enhance fan experience via iBeacon technology. As reported in studies, sports teams and venue owners all over the world, are making huge technology investments these days to meet their fans’ demands for more interactivity and information. Fan experience has gone beyond the game itself in a holistic sense.
Beacons today have become an essential part of businesses’ technological innovation and digital marketing strategy by helping industries generate business intelligence and serve customers at the same time. They assist in gathering contextually relevant customer data which improves the accuracy of promotional offers and advertisements. Beacons can be used by venue owners and sports teams in proximity based programs that will accrue new revenue opportunities in the form of impulse purchases and sponsor integrations.
A large number of sports venues and teams are already using beacons to create a frictionless and intuitive fan experience. Many Major League Baseball stadiums like AT&T Park and Citi Field have deployed beacons to ping visitors with special offers and trivia. Let’s take a look at two examples under each of the following four ways in which beacons can enhance a visitor’s experience:
1) Location-based assistance
Image source: rakutaeagles
Miyagi Baseball Stadium recently worked with the Media Active Inc. beacon-enabled app to provide assistance to visitors at their seats. With the help of beacons placed on the seats, the app can be used to call a salesperson for assistance. The salesperson near the user’s seat area will automatically get a push notification and he/she would know the user’s seat location. The app can also be used by visitors to get shop information, facility maps and other recommendations.
Wimbledon used beacons this year at the railway and tube stations close to the venues. Anyone alighting a train at one of these stations who had the Wimbledon app received an alert with directions to the venue location in case they had a ticket, and advice on where to queue outside the venue. It also gave out information about the places where one could buy tickets for the tournament.
2) Delivery of contextual and real-time information
The 99th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) recently launched its own mobile beacon-enabled app which provides customizable information to race attendees. App features include real-time race results, profiles of drivers and a spectator guide. Every vehicle has a beacon installed and is identified by the mobile app in real-time to provide vehicle related information.
Image source: denverpost
The Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, recently deployed beacons in the stadium to help fans navigate through the 68,500-seat stadium via their own special stadium navigation app. Fans could find the closest washroom with the shortest queue and order food directly by using the same app without having to face any time-wasting hassles. With 1,000 beacons installed throughout the 1.85 million-square-foot stadium, it is one of the first indoor positioning systems installed in a space of this size.
3) Value-added engagement
Beacons enable personalization through proximity. NBA’s Sacramento Kings, for example, has a new arena coming up which is poised to be the smartest arena in the world. It will pay special attention to personalizing the fan experience by keeping track of a fan’s favorite team player and drink. The director of the team, Jordon Montoya, plans to use this data for special occasions. “If it’s your birthday you may get a special greeting from the star player or you may get that favorite soft drink for free when you visit the concession stand.”
Image source: sportal
Beacons also allow venue owners to create revenue opportunities by collecting customer insight and generating ROI through sale of merchandise. Statistics from The Warriors’s Oakland arena show that people who received beacon promotional offers spend 93% more than those without such offers. Beacons also aid sponsors at the time of special events held at sports venues.
Cleveland Cavaliers, the famous basketball team, teamed up with a proximity based mobile engagement platform to provide special offers to their fans at the Cavaliers Team Shop via the official Cleveland Cavaliers app.The notifications included reminders about the game time, promotional incentives, and exclusive content delivered at points of interests. Future plans of the team include installation of beacons in areas where the Cavaliers’ partner companies sell merchandise to provide incentives to fans for boosting sales.
4) Process simplification
Beacons aid in simplifying various cumbersome processes like payments for tickets, payment for seat upgrades, and many more.
Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium, the third oldest stadium in MLB, has its own app that enables automatic check-in upon arrival at the arena. This way it simplifies the check-in process by automating it. Orlando’s Amway Center, which has partnered with VenueNext, plans to provide users with the option to verify a single credit card in the app and use it to conduct multiple purchases throughout the venue.
Golden State Warriors, the first NBA team to install beacons in its arena, used beacon-enabled app to provide seat upgrades to their visitors. Results highlighted that about 15% of the total seat upgrades were tied to beacons.
Image source: sporttechie
Last but not the least, iBeacon technology is an important part of the IoT surge that is revolutionizing sports. It is contributing to so many dimensions such as fan experience, team revenue, investment in sports infrastructure, and much more. One of these is also transformation of athlete training programs with a new technology called Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) that uses beacons fixed at particular locations to interact with tags that can be worn by players or can be alternatively attached to equipment like balls. This technology is being refined to track players and analyze their on-field performance. With such innovative ideas in line, we definitely have a lot more to watch out for in the coming time!
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!