Digital fans drive demand for integrated AV experiences throughout Live Event Venues
Joe Walsh, Vice President, Sports & Entertainment Division of VITEC, and Seth Koch, Engineer, Daktronics, discuss how digital fans are driving demand for integrated Audiovisual Experiences throughout Live Event Venues.
Venues that host sporting and entertainment events will be called upon to deliver increasingly connected and integrated engagement, as digital experiences permeate all aspects of consumers’ lives. This is elevating the strategic importance of networks and AV displays for stadiums and arenas that are upgrading and renovating their facilities.
The fundamental desire of fans who go to live events has never changed. They want to be part of an experience that’s uniquely different from what they can get at home. What has changed is technology.
While most consumers now live and work in a mature digital environment that is integrated and dynamic, that is not a situation they typically find when they go to a stadium or arena. This is why venues are not only modernising their networks, but also incorporating digital considerations into the development of fan experiences.
Venue Migration to IP Networks
Stadiums and arenas that hope to maximise the benefits of the digital world will have to re-think the implications of their video strategy. Many stadiums today rely on an RF (radio frequency) infrastructure. However, there is a broad move to replace these legacy networks with internet protocol (IP) infrastructure to meet the expectations of today’s digital fan base.
The flexibility, interoperability and intelligence that is unleashed by a shift to IP networks opens the door to new ways of engaging with fans during live events. Venues have an opportunity to add more layers of value by integrating unique and exclusive experiences that cannot be captured at home. For instance, many fans come to games because they like—they love— the social interaction. Architects of modern venues have done a terrific job of designing more open sightlines from social areas like bars, lounges and eateries.
However, there are opportunities to further enhance this experience by overlaying carefully designed digital experiences that integrate the inner bowl action with displays in concession areas and mobile devices. This makes it possible for fans to leave their seats to areas where they can talk and socialise, while still being connected to the main event.
We know that fans want a more unified experience. This has prompted a lot of venue owners and planners—from top tier premier professional leagues to college arenas and local stadiums—to look for new ways to engage with fans through integrated video, sound and imaging.
Beyond the Fan Experience – Revenue Maximisation
There are other benefits associated with integrating IP infrastructures at stadiums and arenas. The technology can play a major role in integrating and optimising collaboration among business groups.
Marketing groups, for instance, do not typically interact with the guest services teams, which in turn have had little contact or interaction with game production crews. Even though they all wear the same badge, their missions are often completed in silos. By moving to a digital environment, there is a major opportunity to connect these silos and unlock a whole range of untapped value.
Venues are, consequently, in a better position to connect the dots between what’s happening on the field and how it affects back office operations – for concessions, advertising and retail – more effectively.
If the home team is unexpectedly blown out early in a game, it is not unusual for fans to leave the venue. Digitally enhanced venues make it possible to keep those fans within the concourse by offering sales, promotions and other compelling reasons to stay. In short, an effective digital strategy provides options for making real-time decisions based on the dynamics of the day to drive revenue and enhance the digital fan experience.
Joe Walsh, Vice President, Sports Entertainment Division, VITEC
Joe Walsh is the VP of Sales, Sports & Entertainment Venues for VITEC. An established sales professional and sales leader in the video, broadcast and IPTV industry, Walsh brings more than 25 years of experience to his role. A true video industry insider, prior to joining VITEC, he held senior management positions with Focus Enhancements, Fast Forward Video, Visionary Solutions and Pinnacle Systems Team Sports. Since joining VITEC, he’s been an instrumental player in securing large IPTV and Digital Signage projects in the NFL, NBA, MLB and Collegiate space.
Seth Koch, Engineer, Daktronics
Seth Koch is a Live Events Application Engineer at Daktronics with over a decade of experience in digital signage system design for collegiate and professional sports. Seth’s extensive experience in discovering customer goals and pairing those with the right technology has led to many successful projects which modernise facilities and provide a great return on investment for sports venues.
Main image (top): EZTV sport collage
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ALSD International – Europe’s leading event for the Premium Seat & Sports Hospitality sector – taking place at Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium this October, 12-13, will examine how to increase revenue through new builds, renovations, service expansions and the latest technology, and how to recoup lost revenue post COVID-19.
The next edition of ALSD International – organised by the Association of Luxury Suite Directors and Sports Venue Business – will feature a high-level conference, an exhibition hall showcasing the latest products, services & solutions, tours of Anfield, Everton’s Goodison Park and M&S Bank Arena, and numerous networking events, ensuring optimised opportunities to knowledge-share, network and do business.
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