Game Day – The fan experience means much more post-Covid

There’s nothing like the thrill of game day. The anticipation, the jangling nerves, the excitement. The cost to attend a game has risen in recent years to pay for stadiums that provide a mind-blowing game day experience. On the flip side, fans expect more for their ticket, in an entertainment market that’s increasingly competitive and battling the average fan’s amazing home entertainment system. The sports entertainment market has changed considerably since the days of Comiskey and Candlestick. Throw in a global pandemic and suddenly the nature of how fans experience game day is unrecognizable.

Fans need to know they’re going to be entertained and have an amazing time of course but more than ever, their primary focus is going to be the safety of their families. If stadium management expects fans to come back soon, then the priority must be to create environments that are easy to understand and safe to move around.

Making the journey a part of the experience

This isn’t a new challenge though. The primary challenge facing professional sports teams has always been attracting a game day audience consistently and to capacity. Fans no longer want to battle traffic, confusing parking and long lines at the gate in order to have a watch their team. Most fans can have a premium experience watching their team from the comfort of their living room. Fans who want more, and want to experience the game live need a frictionless journey to the stadium and on to their seat. They need the journey to be a pleasant part of the experience.

Stadiums now provide premium parking, beautiful pedestrian ways, boutique shopping and fun events to make the pre game popular with fans and a lucrative part of the stadium revenue stream. To make this happen, stadiums are now implementing intelligent navigation for fans, which guides them from their garage at home to the best parking and onward to the events and experiences hosted by the stadium prior to kickoff. The journey now IS a part of game day.

Making game day personal

At the stadium, personalized, contextual navigation makes it easy and quick for fans to know what’s happening right now, and where it’s taking place. Events, amenities, shopping and seating is found using 3D maps and dynamic directional signage. Instead of simply pointing to all the obvious landmarks across the property, digital signs show the location of specific events taking place right now across the district. Fans are connected with the environment and get the most value out of their time. It’s an amazing experience before the game’s even started.

Safety first

For the operators of the stadium, it’s critical that fans spend as much time engaged as possible. It ensures high satisfaction ratings, great reviews, optimum season ticket sales and of course strong game-day revenues. Importantly though, stadiums have other, more important concerns. Fans are number one, and so safety sits above all else. An Intelligent navigation system provides an advanced way of communicating with fans in times of emergency. It acts as a communication conduit to ensure fans know what to do when things become hazardous. A well-planned and executed strategy for managing crowd flow and information is critical to making sure safety comes first.

The importance of an intelligent navigation system becomes all the more obvious now it’s time to start welcoming fans back into stadium districts post Covid-19. Fans need to know they’re safe. Advisory messaging, pedestrian routes and entry protocols will change regularly. Pedestrian traffic will have to be managed to avoid bottlenecks and large gatherings of people. Dynamic signage helps each fan know the least crowded (and stressful) way around for them. 3D maps show alternate routes to seats and extra gates for extended entry measures. Fans have the knowledge they need to feel in control and feel safe.

Power to the people

The relaxation of rules and the return of fans is just the start of the battle for stadiums and other entertainment venues. Fans are going to decide whether a venue is safe and convenient before committing the money and time required to attend a game. Providing personalized, contextual information to fans provides the comfort and transparency needed by many fans in order to make the plunge back into experiencing the thrill of game day again.

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