How do you turn a new sports stadium into a Silicon Valley tech start-up? San Francisco 49ers can probably answer that question.
The NFL team from the heart of the Valley, San Francisco 49ers, opened its Levi’s Stadium to public in August 2014. Billed as one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment venues, it’s built at a cost of $1.3 billion with 1.85 million square feet of space, with high speed Wifi connecting the approximately 68,500 people that fill it to capacity.
This time lapse video shows how this hi-tech stadium was built.
What this video does not show, though, is how it led to the inception of the hot Silicon Valley start-up, VenueNext.
What is VenueNext?
Created by the 49ers, VenueNext was formed to create a mobile app that’ll improve the in-stadia experience of their fans. The app would allow 49ers’ fans to buy tickets online, block parking spots, pay for food, find the shortest bathroom lines and watch match replays on their smartphones! Basically, the app aims to remove all headaches associated with going to the stadium as well as provide some of the advantages of watching it on TV while at the stadium.
Win win for spectators and organisers
In the words from the VenueNext site,
“The crowd will love how VenueNext enhances their entire event experience – and you’ll love what it does for venue operations.”
It isn’t just about the experience it provides for the spectators, which seems spectacular on its own, but also for the venues that adopt VenueNext’s services. With every interaction a spectator has with the application, the organiser can collect behavioural data such as parking preferences, beverage preferences, seating preferences, the type of replays the individual prefers, and tie the data to demographics within the stadium. VenueNext’s technology platform also integrates with stadium concessionaires and ticket sellers.
The video below is a detailed presentation of what VenueNext can do.
How was it received at the Levi’s Stadium?
In a report by SFGate where they spoke to VenueNext’s chief operating officer John Paul, the data was there to back up the proof of concept.
– More than 30 percent of the 68,000 fans in attendance used the app. “No application in a stadium has ever gotten more than 5 percent of the audience during a live event,” Paul said.
– About 65 percent of the season-ticket holders have downloaded either the Android or Apple iOS version of the app.
– 13 percent of the fans used the mobile ticket for entry.
– About 2,100 food and drink orders made through the app were delivered throughout the stadium, with an average 22-minute delivery time. Other similar food-delivery apps to date only work within a small area of stadiums or arenas.
Future potential at different types of venues
Tech analyst Tim Bajarin feels that VenueNext and its app has potential to find other revenue sources, as any type of venue with thousands of people to want to connect are a possivle market.
VenueNext COO John Paul said that potential clients have been monitoring VenueNext’s progress. He said,
“We think there’s a big opportunity right now. Every stadium in the world is looking to upgrade their infrastructures.”
VenueNext points us to the future of tech-enabled in-stadia experience. With ticket sales still forming the bulk of a sports team’s revenues, we expect sports teams to invest more on in-stadia experiences. If VenueNext delivers on its user experience promise and is easy enough for different stadia systems to integrate with, it could prove to be the winner.