Fans in arenas and stadiums expect total immersion in the product they are consuming—or, in essence, never to miss a moment of the action. Similarly, fans these days want to engage and interact with the product or experience at a higher level than ever before. Whether fans are in the apparel shop or grabbing a snack at the concession stand, stadiums and arenas around the world are incorporating digital deployments to enhance the customer experience while, simultaneously, capturing data that can be used to improve overall stadium operations.
With the cost of most new stadiums averaging more than $1 billion, these venues are constantly evolving to incorporate a variety of mediums. Doing so helps ensure that a diversity of cultures and generations are interacting with their product in a way that facilitates a more personalized experience and that keeps customers engaged and returning for the next game. But how is this done? Now more than ever, the answer lies in technology upgrades for stadiums and arenas.
Relevantly, InfoTrends has found that digital displays can increase brand awareness by almost 48 percent! The evolution of technology and analytics is finally catching up with our desire to have an agnostic platform from which to tailor user experiences, thus making the possibilities truly limitless and allowing venues to be as creative as they wish to be.
Continuous Fan Experience
To establish an easily updated platform for wayfinding, advertising and interactive experiences, outdoor TVs, displays and mounts can be seamlessly installed. This platform then creates a continuous fan experience throughout the entire stadium—in essence, it makes some (or all) aspects of the stadium product-portable. Integrated kiosks offering entertainment and information are another smart option for arenas; they encourage fan engagement, and they can create a design element by using customizable branding, cameras, logos and more. Similarly, digital menu boards in concession areas can be customized with content that communicates estimated wait time, shares menu items’ availability or even tries to upsell key items.
Of course, it would be impossible to discuss stadiums without paying tribute to the largest form of digital signage in an arena: the scoreboard. Direct-view LED (dvLED) is the technology that powers scoreboards, and, as a technology, it’s the only choice when going for a large-format wow factor. dvLED scoreboards allow for visibility at all times of the day—even in the brightest conditions—and they can be seen by fans seated anywhere in the stadium. The large size of the screen also allows scoreboards to provide advertising and entertainment opportunities that can be viewed far and wide, extending well beyond gameday, if desired and appropriately situated.
With the ease of updating and segmenting content, it’s now simpler than ever for a stadium to update fantasy scores while, simultaneously, showing a replay from the game and displaying a featured athlete’s statistics. dvLED technology has advanced to the point that it can be deployed, in a cost-effective manner, anywhere in the stadium. That includes areas that previously would have been considered lesser-utilized or dead space. This further enhances both the fan experience and stadiums’ revenue potential.
Digital-Signage Benefits For Fans & Stadiums
Understanding the opportunities for digital signage is the first step. Stadium and arena tech decision-makers must next focus on the benefits. For example, implementing digital displays can reduce fans’ perceived wait time in long lines for everything from concessions to the lavatory; this will increase customer satisfaction. Digital displays also help with wayfinding, they can serve as dynamic and promotional menu boards, they can offer entertainment and they can even deliver interactive experiences.
For stadiums, digital signage creates a number of cost-related benefits and eliminates landfill waste by replacing traditional print advertising with a long lifespan, reusable platform. In addition, digital signage allows stadiums to relay information in real time, whether ensuring all parties are informed if an emergency occurs or providing general announcements during the game. Another leading benefit lies in adaptive signage networks’ ability to select content that appeals to the customer, creating a personalized digital experience; this, in turn, can have a massive impact on buying trends within the stadium, yielding happy purchasers and happy concessioners.
Key Considerations For Deploying Tech In Stadiums
Once the decision has been made to deploy digital signage in stadiums, doing so effectively requires considering how to make the new technology work appropriately and meet compliance guidelines. When incorporating outdoor solutions, tech decision-makers should consider extreme temperatures, sunlight exposure for viewability and fading, product maintenance, and external conditions such as rain, snow, hail, humidity and dust.
It must be assured that the displays can be seen, and will remain in working order, in any situation. Enhanced IP ratings on displays ensure enclosures are effectively sealed against intrusion from foreign bodies/moisture, and optical-bonding technology or an anti-reflection treatment will allow outdoor TVs to be viewed year-round, regardless of the position of the sun. Displays that are significantly impact-resistant can also mitigate much of the damage that might come from accidental (or intentional) impacts.
Although visuals are a key priority, audio is also important for tech decisionmakers to pay attention to when incorporating digital-signage solutions into stadiums. An IP65 rating, paired with durable construction material on all speaker systems, will ensure dust does not destroy sound systems. Tech decisionmakers should also address the size of the audio environment to ensure the equipment can be safely secured and protected, as well as to ensure the audio is sufficiently robust in a gameday-ambient-noise setting so that it can be heard throughout a large-scale facility like a stadium.
Lastly, safety and compliance standards for digital signage must be met, as this will ensure fans can enjoy the experience while also helping all staff working near these solutions stay safe. Hardware should feature e-coated paint, corrosion-resistant fasteners, and security features for enhanced safety for both the technology and the people who will be using it. There are also several safety certifications and standards, such as a strength test (UL listed), salt-fog and salt-spray test for coastal areas, wind test and seismic activity test (OSPHD).
To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all electronic information must be accessible for those who have disabilities. So, tech decisionmakers have to look at reach height and side-reach limit, as well as any additional audio options to meet these standards.
Given the high costs associated with building a stadium, it only makes sense that these facilities incorporate the latest and greatest in digital signage. This technology will encourage fans of all ages to return, it’ll keep attendees informed, it’ll streamline operational processes and more. Using digital signage for advertising, wayfinding, informational messaging, menu boards and entertainment throughout the stadium will create an unforgettable fan experience. Remember that engaged fans are likely to spend more time and money at your stadium, and that’s a winning combo we can all get behind.