Binoculars, an amplified organ and the roving kiss-cam used to be the extent of AV in the stadium experience. But today’s fans are expecting a lot more as they pump a “We’re #1!” giant foam hand in the air. The game experience has got to be immersive, interactive, and above all fun in order for a fan to leave the comfort of home and pay their hard-earned dollar for the privilege. This is why sports events and AV are getting a real makeover, and integrators are crucial in the opportunity.
With high fan expectations and the enormous potential for AV to up the stadium’s game, the stakes are high. Fans want more, much more than they can get from their HD home entertainment setup. With that in mind, here are a few ways we help clients give their fans the best experience possible.
Know Your Fans
In order to understand the fans, it’s important to think like a marketer. In marketing, the practice of customer persona creation helps brands hone in on archetypes of their customers in order to create an experience targeted specifically to that persona.
Integrators can help their clients translate what they know about their fan base into a memorable experience at the stadium. Here’s how to build on that knowledge.
Design for a Personalized Experience
The stadium experience begins way before a fan actually enters the stadium. More and more teams and venues are working to create a lasting impression even as fans approach the stadium. This means the use of exterior video walls and the creation of “fan zones.” More and more stadiums are creating these fan zones where people can congregate and get collectively pumped up outside the stadium. Audio and video components are a big part of these fan zones.
Heading into the venue, when you think of AV in stadiums, the first thing that comes to mind is massive video walls, and smaller screens all around. What you also need to be thinking about is AV and the mobile experience. Handheld devices can be very much a part of this personalized experience, so integrators need to think both at the macro and at the human-scale to work with clients to design.
Audio also needs special attention in stadium-sized spaces. This presents a challenge for integrators, with notoriously loud stadium noise and notoriously bad acoustics. But teams and stadiums are taking this challenge seriously. They are using more and higher quality speakers, so scores, as well as sponsor messages, can be heard clearly, enhancing the personalized experience of each fan.
Here’s what personalization for AV in sports events can look like. Picture a stadium that needs to move from analog to digital. And in the design, you want to incorporate a stand-out feature, like the longest bar in the league. It makes sense to incorporate a vast video wall that measures over 3,000 square feet that is 30 feet high to ensure while at the bar, each fan is in the middle of the action. To add to the experience, it is critical to incorporate a massive number of speakers so every fan could hear every bit of the on-field action in the space. Creating a central feature that ensures the fans are engaged at all points in the game can make the venue stand out and keep the excitement going.
Design for Interactive Experience
Interactive AV in sports is a deeper layer of that personalized experience.
Interactivity is great for the fans themselves, but a selling point to your clients is that interactivity can add another layer of revenue to their operating budget. Venues and teams are creating content for both large screen and handheld devices, as well as geo-targeted messages from sponsors. This, plus games and trivia, along with stats and other value-added content available only in the stadium, gives fans more layers of reasons to get off the couch and experience the game. It also brings advertising dollars to your clients. With interactive AV integration, everybody wins.
You’ve Got the (Proverbial) Ball – Now What?
This reach into an immersive experience for sports fans creates a tremendous opportunity for designers and AV integrators. How can you as an architect or design engineer take some of these ideas and create this visitor experience?
Stadiums and clients large and small are looking to bring fans back into the stadium. We are ready to play ball.