VITEC, Daktronics Discuss Digital Fans’ Impact on AV Experiences in Live Sports Venues

Entertainment and sports venues are exploring the trends driving today’s hyper-connected consumer in an effort to enhance the fan experience during live events. According to industry analysts, the average consumer carries at least three devices on their person and returns to a residence with nearly a dozen screens for both entertainment and professional use. This “always on, all the time” culture is changing the ways in which people work and consume entertainment.

As a result, strategic conversations of executives responsible for planning, building, or renovating sports and entertainment venues are zeroing in on digital engagement strategies that require the latest technologies to achieve desired business objectives.

New Strategies Require Venue Migration to IP Networks
“Stadiums and arenas that hope to maximize the benefits of the digital world will have to re-think the implications of their video strategy,” notes Joe Walsh, vice president of sales, sports & entertainment division at VITEC. “Many stadiums today rely on an RF (radio frequency) infrastructure. However, there is a broad move to replace these legacy networks with internet protocol (IP) infrastructure to meet the expectations of today’s digital fan base.”

IP networks provide greater flexibility, interoperability and intelligence as well as introducing new ways of engaging with fans during live events. Venues have an opportunity to add more layers of newly designed digital experiences that integrate the inner bowl action with displays in concession areas and through mobile devices.

“We know that fans want a more unified experience,” says Seth Koch, Engineer for Daktronics. “This has prompted a lot of venue owners and planners—from top tier premier professional leagues to college arenas and local stadiums—to look for new ways to engage with fans through integrated video, sound, and imaging.”

Beyond the Fan Experience – Revenue Maximization
There are other benefits associated with integrating IP infrastructures at stadiums and arenas. The technology can play a major role in integrating and optimizing collaboration among business groups.

“Marketing groups, for instance, do not typically interact with the guest services teams, which in turn have had little contact or interaction with game production crews,” says Koch. “Even though they all wear the same badge, their missions are often completed in silos. By moving to a digital environment, there is a major opportunity to connect these silos and unlock a whole range of untapped value.”

Consequently, venues are well positioned to more effectively coordinate and support what’s happening on the field and its relationship to back office operations — for concession, advertising, and retail.

“An effective digital strategy provides options for making real-time decisions based on the dynamics of the day,” says Koch.