Contributed by Venuetize in collaboration with Sports Innovation Lab
The graph below demonstrates average capacities from seven states across the U.S.
Given the various capacity numbers, stadiums have been developing protocols for ingress, egress, mobile payments and ordering, and mobile ticketing. To ensure these protocols are appropriately deployed and made available to fans, venue operators need to have a strong connectivity infrastructure in place. With the proper infrastructure in place, venue operators can implement mobile-first experiences that will help fans navigate the venue safely - before, during, and after the game. In preparation for the return of fans, many venue operators have had to rush to fit years of technology innovation and planning into a single year’s time. Thankfully, most states have had a staggered approach as it relates to fan capacity allowed, granting teams a solid testing period for rolling out these new protocols and contactless-focused technology solutions.
The graphs below show some of the requirements and specifications that stadiums in the U.S. are implementing.
The pandemic has clearly accelerated the fan journey becoming a predominantly mobile-first experience. The data is showing that people want to go to live events again and that there is pent up demand, but they also want to feel safe. In order to instill consumer safety and confidence, sports franchises and venue operators have had to invest significant resources into technology and infrastructure upgrades. While these upgrades have been directly focused on safely bringing fans back to venues in the near term, there should be plenty of longer-term benefits that are a byproduct of these most recent investments.
The data tells us that consumer expectations for visiting venues has shifted during the pandemic. By offering services that cater to these new self-service and frictionless expectations, venue operators can benefit significantly. The initial results from fans being back to venues are showing more transactions per fan, higher per caps, and more efficiency related to ingress and egress times. While it can be difficult to find silver linings from this past year, the new technology solutions being deployed in 2021 across sports and entertainment venues should pay dividends for many years to come.