Dodgers Focusing On Stadium Future With Contactless Tech, Analytics For All And Eventual Facial Recognition
The Dodgers putting into practicing what readers of my blog have been hearing me preach about religiously. A revenue focused technology strategy built in partnership with the business is the key to growing as an organization moving forward. Building upon a solid infrastructure, the Dodgers see the value that technology can bring fans and partners and generate the team tremendous revenue as a result.
The teams not investing in infrastructure and technology will not be poised for success and will get left behind in the post covid world. There have been billions of dollars lost in the last few months and teams need to use technology to help recover and move forward because you can only sell so many tickets and put so many signs on the field. The Dodgers aren't just putting in tech for tech's sake, they are tying it back to a strategy that engages fans, partners and drives revenue. That's how you get buy-in and cooperation from senior leadership.
From the Article:
"Venues prepared, both from an infrastructure and programming standpoint, will be the ones most poised to capture and elevate the fan experience. “If they are not prepared,” Dasgupta says, “you can’t support all these devices and can’t support safe transactions and will take five steps back. They want to be ready.”"
The flood gates are opening on sports and betting partnerships. By now, most organizations are actively exploring gaming partnerships and activations because it's the best way to engage a coveted demo and has huge potential for incremental revenues that would be diverted outside the organization otherwise. Whatever your stance on gaming, you can't deny that it's a huge engagement driver for sports and in an age where the consumer has unlimited choice it is crucial to give them what they want and do it better than anyone else.
In preparation for the betting revolution, teams need to make sure they have a solid technology infrastructure in place to take advantage and create the best experience possible. Solid WiFi in-venue (Hello Wifi 6 and 5G), an advanced analytics team to bring the fans the information they demand and solid activations that can be offered to betting specific brands and partners are all table stakes to getting and keeping fans engaged.
There also needs to be solid technology and processes in-place to make sure that all gaming is done legally and adheres to all guidelines. In the big money world of betting, it takes a massive amount of resources to stay ahead of the bad guys and organizations must band together to share resources against corruption and fraud.
As we become more climate conscious, green technology will take a more prominent role and centre stage in venue design and refresh. The Climate Pledge arena has gone all in on green stadium design and is acting as a model for all organizations to follow with their innovative use of renewable energy technology.
The smart organizations will design a strategy around renewable technology that will be great for the environment but also great at generating revenue and reducing operating costs. This should enhance your overall smart venue goals and be a pillar and enabler in your mission to grow your organization.
With SoFi stadium and Austin FC stadium the latest venues to be outfitted with Wifi 6 infrastructure, I'm still amazed that some current venues are refreshing current Wifi infrastructure with 802.1ac also known as...Wifi 5. The thought process being that there is a lack of devices that can currently take advantage of Wifi 6 and the cost will be too prohibitive upfront. This short term thinking will cost a lot more in the end when you aren't able to compliment 5G or use any of the features that Wifi6/5G brings (Speed and capacity being the 2 keys). Smart Venues and IOT initiatives will only work in a WIFI/5G environment and must be part of any long term strategy in order for tech to be a value driver in the organization. Otherwise, you end up with something that the equivalent of using a flip phone in a smartphone world.
Build a solid forward looking, ROI focused tech strategy on the technology's that will grow your organization in the next 3-5 years.
For obvious reason, race cars and especially F1 cars are at the cutting edge of engineering and technology. It's necessary to be cutting edge when you are dealing with grounded rockets racing each other with milliseconds difference and doing it safely!
A fascinating look here at the technology that drives the Renault F1 Team.
Golf and specifically the PGA is one sport that has reinvented itself through digital transformation. The PGA was on a downturn post Tiger Mania and they looked to technology as a way to engage the current youth demo in the way that Tiger engaged the now millenials a decade earlier. The PGA understood that the way youth consumed sports was changing and they were ahead of the curve bringing on such technologies as TopTracer to give fans the deeper understand and analysis of the game that they have come to expect in a world where you have all the knowledge in history in the palm of your hand.
This is where your digital transformation ROI shines through. Look at the sport as a platform not a product and use your channels to create digital assets to attract fans and create authentic experiences for partners. By digital assets, I'm referring to immersive and targeted OTT streaming experiences, AR/VR activation, Statcast analytics, engaging mobile app, gameificiation etc. Funny and quirky social media posts alone wont cut it anymore.
Stealing a tweet from Amir Zonzozi of Zoomph, "Teams need to think more like media companies and less like event companies."
While many transformation projects have been put on hold during the pandemic, many others have been accelerated. The sports tech world never slows down and the value and need for digital transformation in sports and entertainment is now greater than ever.
The US Open Tennis Tournament is using robotic line calls through Hawkeye technology, MLB is experimenting with robot umpires, Fifa has moved to Goal-line technology (with mixed results) and now cricket is deploying tech to call no balls. Technology is slowly taking over officiating in sports.
When I look at sports or trends that have faded away and then revived themselves, the common thread is always smart digital and technology based investment and transformation. Two of the best examples of this are WWE and the Sports Card industry. These industries achieved huge success in the 80's and 90's and then seemingly faded away for a short time for a number of reasons. By embracing digital transformation and technology they have both revived and thrived while other trends and sports who didn't see the value of investing in technology were left by the wayside ( remember beanie babies and roller derby).
There are lessons to be learned post covid as sports and entertainment reboot, re-brand and regroup for a new era. It's impossible to ignore the fact that the brands that embrace digital transformation will thrive, while the brands who continue business as usual may suffer the same fate of beanie babies. The time is now to have transformational leadership focused on the strategic use and investment in technology to grow your business. It is not a cost that can be cut or scaled down in a time where the connected fan is the most important one. It is also not a time where technology leadership should be focused on keeping the servers running. True technology leadership is strategic and value based with the focus on growing the business.
A couple of great articles here on how Topps and WWE successfully invested in technology and digital transformation to create another golden era for them.