Live sporting events aren’t just competing with other forms of entertainment, like movies and concerts, for viewers and their money. They’re also competing with themselves, in the form of watching on TV (or online). At home, fans have access to comfortable seating, an endless supply of snacks and clean, private bathrooms…and they don’t even have to buy a ticket.
For arenas, rinks and stadiums to bring sports fans out to the game, they must give the fans access to modern technologies. This technology ranges from Wi-Fi to tablets to digital signage, not to mention a reliable data centre with enough power and the right backup solutions to keep everything up and running. Here’s how you can enrich the stadium experience to give fans something they can’t get at home.
Wi-Fi connectivity that fans need, whenever they need it
Wi-Fi is the basis of a better stadium experience. A solid signal means fans can access their social media accounts and share their photos and reactions during the game. And employees — including IT staff — will enjoy the ability to work from anywhere in the stadium, thanks to greater connectivity.
With everybody bringing a mobile device to the game, Wi-Fi is nearly as essential to a stadium as plumbing. This can present a major challenge, as putting reliable, robust Wi-Fi in a stadium or arena might mean finessing equipment into a new build, working around stadium features that predate the wireless world or creating an adaptable setup that accounts for added seating at large-scale events, such as a concert or championship game. But stadiums that make this investment often see big returns in the form of satisfied fans, free advertising via social media and the ability to power their own apps, making this technology a must-have for an improved fan experience.
The future of stadium signage is digital
Improving stadium signage with digital displays can greatly enhance the fan experience and create new sources of revenue. Digital signage can help stadiums deliver content to fans, including exclusive camera angles, replays and live, in-game statistics. Signage can also be an additional source of revenue, by displaying dynamic ads or updatable food and product selections at concession stands.
Fans will always remember where they were for the game-winning goal or touchdown, walk-off home run or buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Digital screens near the concession line, or even inside washrooms, can not only show the live action, but also provide replays of the big play, so fans don’t feel like they’re missing out on the action.
Mobile technologies pave the way for a more personalized, engaging experience
Custom mobile apps take media delivery to another level, giving fans the chance to select their own content. One football team deployed a mobile app that adds value to the fan experience by providing player and coach bios, game stats, rosters, injury reports and news feeds, as well as highlights from other games. Mobile apps can also provide teams with data to further understand fan behaviour and allow for venues and teams to stay connected to their fan base outside of game days.
Mobile technologies are also used by workers at the stadium, whether it’s ticket scanners at the gates, tablets for in-seat concessions, or players and coaches looking at plays on the sideline. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7, powered by Microsoft 365, lets stadium employees get their work done from anywhere, helping them get closer to the fans. Or, they could opt for an ultralight business convertible like the HP Elite Dragonfly with Win 10 Pro. It features a durable iridescent dragonfly blue finish, diamond-cut accents, and an impressive screen-to-body ratio. An exquisitely crafted x360 touch laptop, that provides mobility beyond expectation, and converts from a laptop to a tablet to a “tent” mode that allows two people to collaborate, share content and fuel productivity.
On gameday, your infrastructure can’t let you down
The challenges of managing any facility, such as power availability and reliable access to data, are magnified when there are 20,000 fans filing in and the game is being broadcast on national TV. But the right data centre solutions can keep stadiums running smoothly and efficiently, ensuring that nothing goes down on gameday.
For instance, APC’s Micro Data Centre provides reliable power and security using lithium-ion batteries and physical security capabilities to reduce the amount of service visits and incidents on-site. Its EcoStruxure IT platform provides data-driven insights to warn you of potential issues that can cause downtime, and its compact design supports the latest servers and networking gear.
And with data being crucial to stadium performance and fan engagement, it’s important to keep it protected with reliable backup. Veeam’s Cloud Connect lets you rest easy by encrypting all data at the source, before it leaves your network perimeter. Included within several Veeam products, Cloud Connect allows you to access and recover data directly from the backup console, track cloud repository consumption and even offers reminders for hosted storage renewals.
In the English Premier League, Southampton FC relies on Veeam to back up servers that support 48 turnstiles across the stadium, as well as POS systems selling merchandise, food and drink. Fans might not notice when nothing goes wrong, but ensuring minimal downtime is key to stadiums providing a more enticing experience than the average living room.