Euro 2016 is in full swing, and Europe is absorbed in football fever once again.
And as is often the case with the world’s best-loved sport, there’s rarely any part of the globe that isn’t tuned in – and right now it’s the same in North America, with the Copa America Centenario having just blown the whistle on an exciting final.
But it’s not just the beautiful game that has fans excited. Many are also enjoying a connected stadium experience for the first time, making live matches more engaging, connected and digitally immersive than ever before.
Cisco has deployed this technology in more than 350 stadiums in 40 countries around the world. We see first-hand the biggest demand from fans globally is the ability to have more reliable mobile connectivity to share their passion for the game, check player and match statistics, and experience a match like never before.
Bringing together communication, entertainment, and operations all onto one single connected stadium platform can add huge benefits to the live fan experience while creating new efficiencies and commercial opportunities for businesses.
The modern, increasingly digital sports fan craves convenience – parking that is easy to find, accessible local and stadium amenities, and the ability to find their friends in huge crowds.
Fans also want a more immersive live sports experience – with access to the right content, in the right context, and augmented within the event itself.
A connected stadium also looks at how to convert massive volumes of digital interactions into deeper fan and operational insights that fuel new business opportunities, while also having a contextually aware conversation with fans.
For us at Cisco, we invest a lot of time, energy and R&D into developing the right digital solutions that create ‘value-add’ for supporters, sports clubs, and sponsors.
Let me bring this to life with some of the great work we’ve done so far across Europe…
In Turkey, Beşiktaş JK and Vodafone partnered with Cisco to build the first smart and connected stadium in the country, the 42,000-seat Vodafone Arena. Fans attending are able to enjoy high-speed Wi-Fi and rich digital content on HD screens all around the facility.
In Wales, Principality Stadium offers a unique fan experience when over 70,000 sports fans descend on the Cardiff city centre ground for a major event.
The connected stadium has been able to encourage match-goers to arrive earlier and hang around later once a match has finished. Cisco StadiumVision delivers unique content to HD displays for die-hard supporters in fan zones to extend their experience (where they can also buy a drink), resulting in overall dwell time increasing by 90 minutes.
This has big pluses for the commercial model of sport, while giving the connected fan what they want. It creates new revenue streams for sports clubs, as well as also new advertising categories for sponsors – helping brands reach larger audiences in more engaging ways.
In Sweden and Norway, where the football leagues are looking to increase overall attendance, connected stadium strategies are focused on motivating younger generations to get back into football grounds.
So to entice digital natives in, the solution offers up unique digital content, services and experiences only available at the match, which helps to drive and encourage ticket sales.
Whether it’s in Cardiff, Wales, Stavanger, Norway or Denver, Colorado, forward-thinking sports and entertainment customers are digitally transforming their businesses and providing new levels of fan experiences today. Learn more here.
What’s driving this change in sport, similar to any other consumer-focused sector, are lifestyle trends where people desire to be more connected than ever before.
Truly, there’s never been a better time to be a connected sports fan.