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The way that we consume sports has been evolving for the past decade. The fact that we have better home experiences, larger TV’s, surround sound, and the ability to gather inexpensively with family and friends are just some of the reasons why we’ve seen some stadiums and arenas experience drastic attendance decreases.

However, there’s still something unique and authentic about seeing a game in person. For me personally, the moment I walk in and smell the almonds roasting and see the fans bustling, my mind automatically goes back to my childhood standing in section 5 row 32 of Michigan Stadium waiting for kickoff with my father and grandfather as my beloved Wolverines took the field. It was an experience and a memory, and most importantly, something I still remember to this day.

The fan experience might be changing, but there is still an experience to be had for the next generation of fans standing in the concourse with their friend or loved one walking in to see that unforgettable moment that is about to unfold right before their eyes. However, how we present those moments to them and which technological advances are available for them are now key components of attracting and retaining fans. What we must do is a sort of future-proofing of arenas and stadiums to leave fans stunned and delighted.

Content is also more important than ever. The game-day experience cannot be any less digitized than one would expect to receive sitting at home in their living room. The Wi-Fi must be robust, the stats and scores easily accessible at every turn, and entertaining and educating experiences must exist throughout the venue. Not only this but in the wake of a global pandemic, fan monitoring and crowd intelligence (ie: spatial recognition) also becomes vitally important. (For more on this please visit our partner WaitTime.)

Fans want a personalized experience, with content that is as tailor-made as possible. Both service and convenience are of utmost importance This is true both in-stadium, in the concourse, and outside. Digital signage for instance becomes key to not only concourses but outside of stadiums, as it draws the interests of the masses outside during the pre-game and post-game. Signage in restrooms showing wait times, or directions to the nearest hot dog stand are also a growing trend and are important to drawing fans back to arenas and stadiums time after time.

Concourse experiences are also a growing trend in stadiums across the country. Fans are looking for activations to engage with during breaks in the game action. The ability to shoot hoops, win a game, throw a ball, or even try and win a T.V or a car allows for fans to move about, exercise their brains, and even their bodies; all while getting back to the action efficiently. We recently completed work at the Final Four and an activation for Mountain Dew. This brings up another point – activations are great opportunities for teams and arena ownership groups to activate sponsors and attract additional sponsorship revenue. Learn about other stadium activation ideas here.

Learn more about our stadium and arena AV and experiential offerings.

Lastly, if you go the extra mile with the pieces noted above, you can’t skimp on the necessities. Fans expect a premium audio experience, easily read scoreboards and LED signage that captures their interests. Broadcast video integration systems, sound reinforcement, and even in-arena projection must leave behind a jaw-dropping experience for the fans in attendance. We’re even starting to see teams and firms working on new arena builds to experiment with interactive video that can engage fans at the highest of levels.

For more information regarding how Bluewater can help you with your next upgrade, or new arena or stadium build; click here.