Create Magic (not Mayhem) with Mobile Technology

Contributed by Todd San Jule

What a weekend it was to be a sports fan. If you were lucky enough to attend the Super Bowl in Los Angeles or the Waste Management Phoenix Open, you not only witnessed some historic moments (10 years from now I am not sure what I will remember more - the epic Super Bowl Halftime Show or the “rain delays” on the 16th green at TPC Scottsdale), you also most likely used the latest and greatest mobile technology at the event. This might have been for ticketing, ordering another of your favorite beverages, wayfinding, or replaying over and over Sam Ryder's incredible hole in one.

As a technology partner that was involved in supporting these major events this past weekend, Venuetize knows all about what it takes to deliver an amazing fan experience on the biggest stages. Our tech has been deployed across all the US major professional sports leagues, as well as professional golf and major tennis tournaments, concerts, and other special events. Although there is no magic formula for delivering a frictionless event, there are several must haves to ensure your FAN has a FAN-TASTIC experience.  


Easy Entry 

Tickets have gone digital. Especially since the pandemic, most sports fans are now accustomed to using their mobile phone to enter a stadium or venue. This might be by accessing their ticket through a team or venue app, or logging into a ticketing web site such as Ticketmaster, or loading their ticket into Apple Wallet or Google Pay app. However, as with any technology, things can go wrong. At a recent professional sports event I attended, one frustrated fan after another was turned away at the Gate and sent to Customer Service because they could not access or download their mobile ticket. Key takeaway: By providing ticketing integration into your mobile app (without requiring fans to remember another web site or another password), your fans will experience fewer delays entering the venue.


High Speed Wi-Fi 

According to our friends at The Sports Innovation Lab, Americans check their phones an average of 96+ times per day. You might think this number would go down at a sports event, but it's actually the opposite. Whether it's looking at stats, checking other scores, making a bet, or posting to social media, sports fans are glued to their mobile device. That is, only if there is high speed Wi-Fi available. I recently attended an outdoor professional sporting event, and because of spotty Wi-Fi service I was not able to access live scores or player stats, let alone try to live stream the event. Key takeaway: The mobile phone is your friend, not your competition for eyeballs. Invest in high-speed Wi-Fi and enable your fans to use their mobile phone as a second screen viewing device. Your customer satisfaction, attendance, and profitability scores will all be positively impacted as a result. 


Quit the Queuing 

Everybody hates waiting in lines. Especially when it means potentially missing the big play or the big putt. That's why teams and venues have been investing in new technology to make it quicker for fans to get a bite/drink and get back to their seats. A number of our clients are leveraging Venuetize's Mobile Ordering and Mobile Wallet products to enable fans to order food and beverages for pickup or in-seat delivery. Other clients are installing touchless checkout systems that allow fans to truly grab and go - with no barcodes, no cash, and no wait. At a recent sporting event, I was able to skip a 30-minute line and get my favorite mixed cocktail automatically poured from a company called Tended Bar. I took a photo, showed my ID, scanned my credit card, and 2 minutes later I was sipping a Moscow Mule while my buddy had not moved an inch in the normal line. Key takeaway: From Uber Eats to DoorDash to Instacart to Amazon Go, Americans young and old have become accustomed to using their mobile phone and other technology to order and pick up food. Don’t let operational fears or gadget overload get in the way of investing in new tech. Win your fans over by losing the lines. 


Interested in learning more about Venuetize’s platform and in-venue technology? Contact us and set up an appointment today! 

Why a Destination-Themed App is the Future

Contributed by Myles Romm

Are you ready for some football? Believe it or not, the NFL season is kicking off tonight at the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The start of the NFL season alone is reason to celebrate, but this year’s game is especially exciting for Venuetize and our partners at the Hall of Fame Village (HOFV). Last month, Venuetize in partnership with HOFV powered by Johnson Controls, deployed a destination-themed application to expand beyond traditional sports venues and provide guests a mobile-first experience to a year-round destination. Mobile technology that provides more convenient and safer options has become a requirement in a guest’s visit rather than a pleasant surprise; our work with the HOFV tracks along a similar path.  

The HOF Village experience is enhanced by the various concerts and other hospitality and entertainment opportunities available on site. As such, the HOF Village needed a mobile solution that could blanket the entirety of the campus and each individual experience that is offered. Venuetize’s mobile technology essentially functions as the concierge of the HOFV, aiding guests in where to go, how to get there, and what is available. This transformation of facility navigation puts compasses and maps to shame. More importantly, our partnership with HOFV reflects the beginning of a technological revolution that relies on an accessible mobile-first experience for any destination.  

Copy of HOFV Screenshots - Aerial Background - Final

The bedrock of the Venuetize-HOFV partnership is the willingness to innovate and invest in technology that is leading edge. Phase one of the app launch offers relevant content and news, the ability to book at campus attractions, as well as make reservations for places to stay. In the second phase of the HOFV app, the addition of augmented reality (AR) allows for the HOFV to provide guests with immersive and creative experiences. Once again, the HOFV has tasked Venuetize to move away from a passive guest experience and into one that is interactive, accessible, and fun. This idea is also apparent in the upcoming “Hall of Fantasy League”, a community backed national fantasy league.  

Can’t make it to tonight’s game or upcoming HOF Induction Ceremonies? Well, there are plenty of other opportunities to visit the Village this summer. Later this month is the GEICO ESPN High School Kickoff game between the world-renowned IMG Academy, based in Bradenton, Florida, and Bishop Sycamore High School, a local high school in the northeast suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. And if you are a country music fan you won’t want to miss the Highway 77 Music Festival on Sept 12 featuring Dan + Shay, Dustin Lynch and others. 

Download the app today and don’t miss out on the excitement! 

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Venuetize Insights: Cashless Venues, Sports Betting, Name Image Likeness

Contributed by Todd San Jule, VP of Strategy and Sports Innovation Lab

It’s a New Year, and as we look to the next 12 months we see three primary themes that will define the sports industry in the US in 2021:

Theme #1: The Surge of Cashless Venues
Theme #2: US Sports Betting Boom
Theme #3: The Emergence of Name Image Likeness (NIL)

2021 VZ_SIL Research (Web Format) DAY 1

The Surge of Cashless Venues

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and the suspension of most spectator sports in March 2020, there were just six professional venues that were 100% cashless. Just nine months later that number has grown to approximately 50 venues across five professional leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS), based on data that was compiled by Sports Innovation Lab (SIL). The number of cashless venues seems to be growing every week, as teams address safety concerns and fan anxiety by adding new touchless payment options. This new Touchless Fan Journey is made possible through emerging technology from companies such as Venuetize, a leading mobile technology and advanced e-commerce platform for the sports, hospitality, and entertainment industries.

From its proprietary database, SIL broke up 130 venues into five groups:

  • Fully Cashless Pre-Pandemic (5%) - These are the very few venues that made the switch to totally cashless pre-pandemic. They explicitly say on their website that they do not accept cash, and publicly announced this before March of 2020
  • Requiring Cashless Post-Pandemic (34%) - Venues who are not allowing fans that return to stadiums to use cash. This decision comes in conjunction with numerous other health protocols, such as mobile ticketing, social distancing, mask requirements, etc.
  • Leaning Into Cashless, No Commitment (28%) - Venues that have dabbled with cashless kiosks, cashless merchandise, or some form of part cashless, but are still not ready to make the full switch
  • Credit/Debit, Cash, Mobile Pay (25%) - Venues that still rely on cash, and may have recently adopted POS systems with contactless payment tech at some of their kiosks
  • No Info (8%) - These venues did not have enough information publicly available to make a classification
DAY 2 Research Web Format

US Sports Betting Boom

You might not have been able to attend your favorite team's home game in 2020, but chances are you could bet on it. As of the end of the year, 25 states plus the District of Columbia had legalized sports betting, leading to astronomical wagering numbers. In November alone, approximately $3.5 billion was legally wagered on sports events in the US, with more than 80% of those bets being placed on a mobile device.

The Top 5 Sports Betting states in November (pending official numbers from Illinois which was 4th largest in October) according to Legal Sports Report were:

  1. New Jersey - $931 million
  2. Nevada - $609 million
  3. Pennsylvania - $492 million
  4. Indiana - $251 million
  5. Colorado - $231 million

Surprisingly, coming in the 6th spot was Tennessee, which only launched on Nov 1 and set a new record for the first month of legal wagering in a state. Bigger things are in store in 2021. Early this year, mobile sports betting should go live in Michigan and Virginia, with Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota to launch in the months ahead. The big wildcard is New York, where sports betting is legal at a handful of upstate casinos but mobile sports betting is currently prohibited. That could change in 2021 if government passes legislation, and if it does, New York could see several billion dollars in annual handle and several hundred million in tax revenues. Connecticut and Ohio are two other states that could cross the finish line in 2021.

The Emergence of Name Image Likeness (NIL)

Later this year the NCAA is expected to allow college athletes to start earning money using their name, image and likeness (NIL). What this exactly looks like and how much money the NCAA's nearly half a million student-athletes can make is still up in the air. In addition to updated NCAA bylaws expected later this month, there are multiple federal and state bills in pending legislation, each with its different set of rules.

Regardless of which bills cross the finish line, however, there is already a declared winner, and that is the college athlete. For the first time ever, whether you play sports at Colorado or Columbia, Washington or Wheaton, you will be able to profit from your name, your image and your likeness.

Although a lot of attention has been placed on how much money the big-name football players will make, the highest upside may be for women college athletes. Although they are not as well-known as the Trevor Lawrences and Justin Fields of the NCAA landscape, many of these female athletes have large social media followings that they should be able to monetize. Would it surprise you that the Cavinder twins (Hanna and Haley) that play basketball at Fresno State have more than 2.5 million followers on TikTok and more than 50,000 subscribers on YouTube? Ka-ching!

The folks at Sports Innovation Lab (SIL) looked at the potential earnings of several college athletes across multiple sports, and then compared that to the highest salary they could make as a professional. The results are astounding. Haley Cruse, for example, a softball player at Oregon, could make an estimated $117,000 annually posting on her social media channels where she has nearly 335,000 followers across Instagram and Twitter. This is nearly 6 times what she could make in the National Pro Fastpitch League where the top salary is $20,000/year.

The chart above shows the earnings potential of other female collegiate athletes, which was compiled by SIL using earnings data provided by OpenDorse and INFLCR (as published in Axios, FiveThirtyEight and OpenDorse and INFLCR are a couple of the new companies emerging in the NIL space, along with other headliners such as the Perpetual Sports Network, a Venuetize client that will be launching a premium Content Hub in 2021.

This new and unique partnership between Venuetize and Perpetual Sports Network will leverage Venuetize's extensive experience in mobile and e-commerce with the launch of the Content Hub that will host unique athlete content within a subscriber channel. On the first day that an athlete signs with Perpetual Sports Network, the Perpetual Sports Network’s Content Studio will kick off a content plan that includes robust video storytelling produced by its team of action sports and documentary experts, long-form journalism stories that are unique to each athlete, and social-media content that will share the collegiate experience of each athlete with an audience.

The goal is to have new NIL legislation adopted before the 2021-22 academic year. And before the start of the 2021 football and women’s soccer seasons, when last year’s headliner Sarah Fuller - who made history by kicking extra points for Vanderbilt last fall - will be back on the soccer field, this time as a graduate transfer at North Texas. Sarah has approximately 245,000 social media followers, which could be worth more than $150,000 annually.

Stay tuned for more Venuetize Insights in 2021!




In-Vehicle Delivery

Contributed by Ryan McClellan, Mobile Ordering Product Owner

In-Vehicle Delivery


With the rise of concerts and events taking place with guests in their vehicles, Venuetize has launched a brand new solution to enhance the guest experience.

  • Benefits and features:
  • Easy ordering through your mobile app integrated to your POS
  • Can be added to existing mobile application, but is not required for deployment
  • Menu and ordering can be accessed via web URL or QR scan allowing you to promote food and beverage ordering
  • Order flow allows user to enter vehicle location and information
  • Venuetize Mobile Wallet allows users to store payment methods for easy order/re-order

This product has been designed for quick deployment. If you’d like to learn more, contact the team to learn how you can use this solution to drive more revenue for your upcoming events.

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Introducing the Touchless Fan Journey

Touchless Fan Journey


For many years, Venuetize has provided solutions that maintain ease and convenience for fans attending live events at a venue. In a post-COVID world, fans are going to demand a completely reinvented venue experience that reduces, if not eliminates, physical contact. That’s where the Touchless Fan Journey comes into play...

Dan is a huge fan and season ticket member (“STM”) of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He loads his Chase-issued VISA card to the mobile wallet in the AMALIE Arena app and automatically receives a digital $25 Arena Cash card to spend anywhere in his team’s home venue. Before a game, he can buy game tickets and pay for parking with the app’s mobile wallet. Once he arrives at the arena, he can buy concessions with a single scan of his mobile wallet at a point of sale terminal, which will also apply his 35% STM food and beverage discount. He can order a team jersey through the app, which will automatically apply his 25% STM merchandise discount and pick it up at his convenience from a locker in the concourse without having to wait in a long line at the team store. Even if he forgets his mobile phone at home, he can still buy things at the arena with “Pay with Face”, which leverages facial recognition censors at the concession stands.

In a series of seamless, convenient, and contactless transactions — without ever exchanging cash, presenting a card, or making physical contact with another person — Dan has interacted with a ticketing system, parking system, two point of sale systems, a membership system, the team, a concessionaire, a retail merchant, and a parking vendor, both in and out of the arena.

Our integrated eCommerce platform breaks down the silos between devices, interfaces, back-end operating systems, and merchants to create an easy, personalized, and seamless payments experience for both consumers and operators.

Let’s walk through the Touchless Fan Journey and look at each stage of a visitor’s experience and how venues must adapt and evolve their operations in order for fans to return.

  1. PLAN
    Current Fan Experience: Fans browse websites, social sites, or use team and venue mobile apps to see upcoming events and search for tickets.
    Digital communication channels offer a direct path to fans that allow fans to stay current on team-produced content, plan for their visit, and decide on transportation to the venue. Meanwhile, teams and venues can keep fans informed of COVID-related changes being made to venue operations, shifting event schedules, and updates on steps being taken to address health and safety concerns.
    Current Fan Experience: Fans either purchase tickets through ticket sites, in the secondary market, or pay with cash at the box office.
    Push fans to purchase tickets and pre-pay for parking using the mobile wallet in the team or venue app. Eliminate cash payments and physical credit/debit card transactions for tickets and parking by requiring mobile or web payments in advance of an event.
  3. ENTER
    Current Fan Experience: Most venues employ gate attendants who use handheld scanners to scan physical tickets or mobile barcodes for access control. For fans who have not purchased their tickets or parking passes in advance, they interact with a gate attendant to pay with cash or physical credit/debit cards.
    Reduce fan-facing gate attendants and expedite entry by eliminating handheld scanners and installing freestanding turnstiles and biometrics sensors for facial recognition-based access control.
  4. ORDER (F&B)
    Current Fan Experience: Most fans walk up to a concessions stand and interact with concessions staff to place an order, often paying with cash or a physical credit/debit card. Lines are long, transaction times are inefficient, and there are multiple physical touch points throughout the process.
    Reduce fan-facing concessions staff by enabling self-service, touchless options for fans to order and pay. Push pre-paid mobile ordering of food and beverage items for express pickup, and increase counter space for pick-up only stations. Enable fans to favorite items and past orders. Prompt repeat orders, and enable one-swipe pay in-app to expedite transaction speeds and increase order frequency.
  5. BUY (MERCH)
    Current Fan Experience: Long lines in crowded team stores, involving physical exchange of merchandise items, and payments involving cash or a physical credit/debit card.
    Opportunity: Reduce fan-facing merchandise staff by enabling self-service, touchless options for fans to order and pay. Go 100% cashless by deploying cash-to-card kiosks. Install scanners at POS terminals and kiosks for mobile wallet payments. Enable NFC terminals for tap to pay. Introduce biometrics scanners for facial recognition-based payments at POS and kiosks. Push pre-paid mobile ordering of merchandise for express pickup or locker retrieval.
  6. PLAY
    Current Fan Experience: Limited options for interactive games.
    Opportunity: Offer interactive games through the mobile app to increase fan engagement. Incentive play through action-based rewards, offers, and promotions that can be redeemed through the mobile app while also grooming future behavior for sports betting.
    We’re using re-order to show another way to pay for concessions.
    Current Fan Experience: No matter how many times fans order concessions, subsequent visits are not any faster or more personalized.
    Opportunity: Go 100% cashless by deploying cash-to-card kiosks. Install scanners at POS terminals and kiosks for mobile wallet payments. Enable NFC terminals for tap to pay. Introduce biometrics scanners for facial recognition-based payments at POS and kiosks. Fans’ STM discounts get applied and their default method of payment is charged automatically through the mobile wallet, without them ever having to use their phone.
  8. EARN
    Current Fan Experience: Some fans may participate in loyalty programs with restrictive point-based economies or confusing earn and redemption policies, resulting in limited results for teams and questionable value for fans.
    Opportunity: User action-based rewards promote desired fan behavior while personalizing relevant offers and benefits. Behavioral data can then be used for targeted marketing and upselling.

Teams and venues must take action now to adapt to the post-COVID world that will be demanded by fans, or risk empty venues. If you’d like to discuss your venue-specific options, contact the Venuetize team here to set up a time to learn more about how you can prepare to welcome back your fans with a touchless experience.

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