Internet Connectivity at Sporting Events and Monetisation Opportunities

Venue technology, specifically Internet connectivity at sporting events for spectators, is an emerging and exciting topic.

Telecom networks have historically struggled to provide access to the Internet for the masses at large venues, sparking the race for ‘connected stadia’ in the past few years.

I recently participated on the Major Events International panel on Venue Technology, discussing future trends and emerging requirements of this market segment.

Other members on the panel originated from technology installation backgrounds so it was interesting to get their take on how the sport industry is moving.

Points of debate ranged from the investment required to challenges with installing equipment, through to engaging fans in a unique way to generate revenue.

It’s easy to forget that the smartphone revolution is only but a decade old. The access to information that these devices have brought to us is unrivalled – information: anytime anywhere. And, in our pockets, no less.

In fact, they’re now considered a necessity by some rather than a commodity. Coupled with the social media boom, itself also in its junior years, a new broadcast channel has presented itself.

There is probably a wider point to consider here, something more basic: we like to talk about ourselves. Anecdotal numbers suggest around 75% of social media shares are announcements of immediate experiences and or opinions.

But what does this mean in sport? Well, it’s fair to say the average sport fans are not shy in sharing their opinions. This is often fuelled by their passion and personal investment in the sport.

Passion and opinion brings debate, and social media harnesses this. So it’s only natural for them to take to the Facebooks and Twitters of this world to share.

Of course the ability to do this on venue is an even bigger thrill; not only is an opinion or view being shared but it can be accompanied by a photo, compounding the sense of self-indulgence.

Statistics released around the use of in stadia connectivity at the 2015 Super Bowl predictably put Social Media as the highest used application – 60% of those connected were sharing on Facebook.

The general agreement on the panel was that this trend would continue so a unique challenge presents itself – how to engage fans with specific apps and lure them away from social media. There were a number of points discussed but generating loyalty and personalised content featured heavily.

Feedback from members of the audience seemed to confirm this and the advancement of the US stadia compared to the UK and EU was discussed.

This can in turn lead to monetisation opportunities (e.g. personalised advertising), cashless payment, and additional revenue streams such as ordering food and drink from your seat or purchasing match content – all of which deltatre is actively exploring.

Knowing the user is another crucial facet. Providing free Internet is great – but a streamlined mechanism of user data capture is key. The value of a user data can be high if used correctly, and a CRM system can help further enhance this.

There was a general agreement that venue technology is moving to become the norm. So much so that we even discussed and explored the concept of a ‘connected house’ – imagine having a fridge which automatically orders your shopping. The possibilities are endless – and I for one am excited to see how the ‘connected’ revolution evolves.