With the UEFA Euros 2016 upon us, the spotlight and TV cameras are pointed at stadia across France and millions of fans turn their attention to the beautiful game.
Football has evolved at a rapid rate in recent years with technology playing a pivotal role. From goal-line decision systems and vanishing foam, to speed profiling and heat maps plotting players’ movements and predicting injuries – technology has had an unprecedented effect on the advancements in the sport, both on and off the pitch.
The growth and developments in technology extend far further than the football pitch and have changed the way we live. Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, beacons and many more devices have worked their way into our daily routines. As such, the demand for connectivity has grown, and Wi-Fi is now an expected resource in the western world.
Changing expectations and the demand for internet access means businesses and brands must adapt. Accessible Wi-Fi and social media engagement are critical in audience participation at sporting events, and stadiums are adjusting to meet these demands and to exploit this opportunity.
Wi-Fi is a necessity to reach and engage fans, both inside and outside the stadium. Connectivity means fans can easily upload photos and videos, post updates, interact with each other, share their experience and create a buzz around the event. Since we trust those closest to us most, fans armed with a smartphone, internet connection and social media presence are the most valuable B2C and outbound marketing tool.
Bespoke mobile apps for teams and stadiums have the ability to revolutionise the fan experience with game statistics, video replays, and exclusive F&B and merchandise offers. The resulting data from this has a significant commercial advantage and needs to be collated and translated to be of any use.
Information on fan behaviour, attendance and purchases allow teams to drive additional revenue streams with targeted advertising and promotions, monetising their relationship with fans. Crucial information about customer preferences can be adapted to create smart strategies that drive revenue, engagement and loyalty.
There are significant advantages to be gained if clubs harness the commercial potential of digital developments. Tackling new technology, playing the field for the best strategy and kitting out stadiums for better connectivity will ultimately transform the fan experience inside and outside the stadium.
With a winning performance from teams on and off the pitch, stadiums can ensure fan relationships and business partnerships are as strong and rewarding as possible.
Shaunagh Durkin, Shopping Centre & Venue Management at Foundation Recruitment