Sports stadiums have become more than just forums for watching live sports. Gone are the days where fans were spectators – they now appreciate a much more immersive experience, making them feel like a part of the event.
To stay competitive with the big flat-screen TV’s in the home or sports bar, thriving stadiums are adding a complete digital experience to bring out the fans and keep them engaged.
From Dallas’s AT&T Stadium to the upcoming launch of what some are calling the world’s most advanced sporting venue, the $1.4 Billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium under construction in Atlanta, we’re seeing an evolution in connectivity, signage and digital audio-visual solutions to ‘up the game’.
Rich Pierro, CEO of Premier Mounts, has been working with venues like Mercedes-Benz Stadium to design, manufacture and install the next generation of display solutions.
“To maintain and grow attendance, the demand for fan-based technology is a no brainer,” he says, emphasizing three main points why:
- Sports events are more social than ever. Ensuring connectivity throughout the site has never been more important. It keeps fans connected from the parking lot, and common areas, to the escalators, vending, and suites.
- Venues use hot spots for Facebook and Instagram selfies to make friends at home jealous.
- The need for fans to stay current on the event, visually and audibly, is driving audio-video equipment into more unique applications. This drives the need for higher level support from mounting solutions experts.
The philosophy driving these modern venues is simple: engage the fans with attractive, entertaining, and informative content from the moment they approach the venue and keep them engaged the entire time they are present.
Premier Mounts supports sports venues, like the American Airlines Arena in Miami, in its mission to connect with fans through innovative mounting solutions for a broad range of digital display products.
Combining fixed video display with wireless connectivity innovations like “stadium exclusive replays” brings younger generations of fans back to the stadium who may have been staying home for a more digitally connected experience.
Not only is digital display presence driving millennial engagement, but it’s directly linked to revenue. Michelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO of the NFL, says digital information display expectations from older to younger fans “goes more from a ‘this would be nice to have’ to a ‘what, you don’t have it?’ kind of feature.
I have a lot of contacts in college sports, and it is definitely the case where they are seeing some of their younger fans leave if they don’t have connectivity.” Because these young audiences expect to see video, hear audio and remain connected at all times, they are buying less tickets to low tech events.
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According to a recent Cisco study, 57% of all fans prefer to watch sports from home because it’s less expensive, offers great flexibility and delivers HD video – something they can’t always count on at their local stadium. But 74% say that HD video would enhance the experience at a venue.
Much like a passionate fan knows every statistic for his or her favorite team, savvy sports organizations are embracing the digital revolution and incorporating mounting solutions experts during the design phase. According to Pierro, doing so provides important benefits to stadium designers:
- Early collaboration can reduce the amount of customized mounting products needed.
- Early identification of goals and challenges to unique display mounting solutions.
- a “one size fits all” approach is not always the best.
- Designers can incorporate attachment features that will decrease the installation time, which will help contractors meet tight deadlines and lower the total cost of the project.
- Design coordination among structural and civil engineers brings clarity to safety, expectations, and objectives.
Every display deployment is different; venues should not approach the problems of mounting from a position of inexperience. While the mechanical connection of a display is crucial, it is not the only consideration. Organizations can avoid these pitfalls by asking three critical environmental questions before beginning work:
- Will the display be installed in areas of high ambient light?
- Will the display be placed in direct sunlight, partial shade, or full shade?
- What are the climate conditions within the geographical region where the digital display will be installed?
Modern stadiums built from the ground up should have display visibility factored into the very layout of the seats and sections, but existing venues can augment display capabilities to accommodate their layouts and available mounting structures.
Ben Maitland is an author for Premier Mounts’s blog.