Going to a live sports event just keeps getting better and better – and that’s no accident. With athletes and fans becoming social media powerhouses, millennials increasing their time spent at live events, and new ways to use stadiums that take advantage of today’s gaming audience, stadium technology has needed to leapfrog past enhancements.
Over the next two years, over 60 new major sports stadiums are planned to open their doors to fans worldwide. While stadiums have been upgrading their dining experiences over the past decade - such as with microbreweries and satellite locations for local restaurant favorites - new stadiums are building some of the best bars in the country that require a ticket for entry. The cuisine is but a portion of the game day experience, with many stadiums now turning their attention to where fans spend most of their time – in their seats. Teams know that with 72-inch ultra-high-definition televisions at home and comfortable couches, they need to up the comfort factor – and to compete are turning to perks like concessions ordered and delivered via mobile devices, and heated seats, and built-in USB charging ports.
Technology is having a major impact on new stadiums and the game day experience, and video is a big part of that. While it’s been only two decades since jumbotron video screens started making their way into stadiums across America. Now, stadiums without screens are in the minority and the newest stadiums have video screens that expand from the center of the arena to what the new Atlanta Falcons Mercedes-Benz Stadium features with the world’s first 360-degree video wall. Stadiums of the future aim for every seat to see the game showcased during the live event from all camera angles – in their comfy lounge seats no less.
Catering to Today’s Live Sports Fan
Leagues such as the NFL are feverishly working to build new stadiums and bigger video screens than ever before. And they aren’t afraid to have a little competition among themselves for whose is bigger, such as when the Jacksonville Jaguars promoted their video boards at TIAA Bank Field which reach 362 feet wide and 60 feet tall. They took it to the streets to try make the Dallas Cowboys acclaimed 160-foot video boards at AT&T Stadium and even the Houston Texans’ massive 277-foot screens at NRG Stadium look small in comparison.
Fans and their thirst for rapid-fire mobile internet at games are winning out too, as the teams compete to make their in-seat wifi faster than the others to woo fans that need to pay top dollar ticket prices to enter. (Live sports event ticket prices are on the rise, with the average cost of taking a family of four to a single NFL game in 2016 reaching $502.84; an NBA game comes out to an average of $339.02; even MLB is high at $219.53). Fans need to be able to post photos of themselves at live events afterall.
Further pushing for these stadium changes is the Esports market which is growing at breakneck speed – estimate to reach over $1.5 billion USD in 2020 with more than 280 million fans. New premier stadiums are being built, and others retrofitted to not only focus on the traditional on-field, on-court or on-ice action but on making massive video screens the primary focus so the facilities have the necessary video infrastructure in place to host live gaming events.
The Live Sports Event: An Advertiser’s Dream
Brands have long loved to associate with sports – be it the halo effect from alignment with an NBA or NFL superstar or simply riding the coattails of the league’s home team brand loyalty. Today’s stadiums expand the opportunities for brands to align with sports and the video enhancements make the live game day experience a media channel that can't be overlooked. So, why is the live sports event an advertiser's dream?
For starters, audiences that attend live sports events are the high spenders that most advertisers covet, so where better to put your brand? Live event attendees skew high on household income and education. Effectively and efficiently getting a brand message in front of these consumers is tough as they are an elusive group that is difficult to reach via traditional media - they tend to be light TV viewers in general. Yet, here they are, all in a single room and captivated by the world’s largest video screens.
Furthermore, brands that advertise in these stadiums not only reach a highly desirable demographic – the live sports fan – but they do so in a way that can’t be missed. With sight, sound and motion, brands are front and center with a roomful of massive purchase power. Add in the fact that nearly all have a mobile phone with them and can engage with the brand -
Brand messages featured on colossal screens present unrivaled premium video opportunities, showcasing creative that is quite literally larger than life. Reaching a captive target market that is otherwise tough to reach, and with a message format that can't be missed? Now that is an advertiser's dream.