A Fanatical Focus on Fan Experience

  • July 05, 2023

How Smart Platform is elevating the experience for fans at venues

Long lines at the concession stand. Missing the opening act because you’re stuck at the entrance. Leaving the venue and standing in a queue to exit.

These are just a few examples of friction factors that cause fans to have an unfavorable experience at a large-scale venue and think twice about purchasing tickets to the next event. Creating an experience that fans enjoy and remember beyond the headliner or team they’ve come to see is part of successful venue management. In short, it’s about the details.

Events in an inflationary digital world

It’s no secret that live events are struggling in a post-pandemic world. Just like consumers are thinking twice about where to spend their income on products at the store, fans of major sports teams and concertgoers are becoming more discerning on their event tickets. There’s also stiff competition from streaming services for people to skip the stadium experience and watch events at home.

In a recent survey about live music events, close to half (46%) of fans who haven’t been to a live music event in the past year say it’s because they can’t afford it. And for those that do attend events, they’re spending less on concessions. A new Gallup poll shows Gen-Zers are drinking less alcohol than other generations, so venues are taking a hit in bar sales.

How can venues make sure that a satisfactory experience will feel worth the ticket price and keep them coming back? The answer lies in the valuable data that exists in every area of an arena. When data offers valuable insights into how crowds are moving, resources can be reassigned to meet demand. For example, when entrance gates queues are backing up, operations managers can see the data in real time to allocate new open gates.

In addition to creating a comfortable and engaging environment for fans, public safety at a venue is a critical component to the experience, as well. For example, using facial recognition technology can aid in locating a person identified as missing faster, increasing venue safety. Using real-time data analytics crowd monitoring for event safety and planning purposes helps venues stay complaint and more efficient in emergencies.

In addition to comfort, convenience and safety, mobile technology has its place on the fan experience stage. Mobile apps offer a uniquely personalized experience for fans at the stadium by providing on-demand stats, gamification and important venue/event information. This digital experience can keep a fan engaged before, during and after the event and increase a sense of community and camaraderie.

Stadium venues can incorporate these types of event metrics on large displays for everyone in the stadium to see, making a large crowd feel less like strangers and more like a fan base. Additional information on event activities can be combined to further provide a unique fan experience. For example, event data can be formulated to improve further insights for fans. NTT DATA has added technology solutions to Race Control by INDYCAR, a digital central command center that’s monitored by racing teams, to help fans see more data during live races.

Understanding the role of data and analytics guides venue operators and management in making better decisions for fans. By putting the fan first, conceptualizing how they plan, attend, exit and even rate their experience afterward, venue management is poised to create an experience they’ll not only enjoy but rave about on social media afterward.

Analytics plays a starring role

Many stadium and venue operators across the country are reimagining what an exceptional fan experience looks like. By using analytical data at each touchpoint along the fan experience route — from ticket purchase, to seating, concessions and even restrooms to exiting the venue and follow-up — it’s possible to remove friction and even change the dynamics of the fan experience in real time. While it’s easy to get lost in a vast sea of data and information, there’s an obvious need to translate that information into real-time reporting to manage event venue resources effectively and efficiently.

Because venues have data accumulating from disparate endpoints, like IoT devices and sensors, the challenge is transforming this data into actionable intelligence and outcomes — exactly when it's needed. When raw data is aggregated, processed and normalized using edge computing, it allows venue operators to troubleshoot and predict areas that need resources while an event is happening. This type of data transformation uses superior technology including data science, AI and predictive analytics to create the best fan experience possible and reduce operational costs. Technology is enabling a win-win for venues and fans, which is an experience everyone enjoys.

Discover more information about the NTT Smart Management Platforms (SMP) and NTT Smart Solutions.

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Bill Baver

Bill is the Global VP for Go To Market activities for NTT Smart Management Platform and Smart Solutions. He is a creative technology strategist who early on saw the potential of smart technologies focused on data. Working in a cross-collaborative environment, Bill and his team are imagining the art of the possible and expanding the forward-reaching smart solutions globally.


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