LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILITY LIVE, ATLANTA: Connectivity is a baseline expectation for anyone who visits a stadium and the management of Philips Arena asked Boingo Wireless to set up “flawless” infrastructure to help create a great experience for fans.
Doug Lodder, SVP – Business Development for Boingo, helped the Philips Arena achieve its goals, and although budget was not a concern, there were physical limitations such as where antennas could be placed, what looked good versus what worked well, and to ensure WiFi was part of the solution.
Once the connectivity was in place, Peter Sorckoff, CCO, EVP Brand and Innovation for the (NBA’s) Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, said he used it as a canvas to enhance all other areas of a visitor’s experience.
For instance, they looked at how to integrate connectivity with physical assets in the building, such as video boards, LED screens, and a 3D video mapping projection system.
They also ensured fans have a seamless experience whether they are posting or streaming video, checking results of other games or pulling in more stats.
Historically, stadiums have only known details about 20 per cent of visitors, but once users are on the network, more information on them can be collected for personalisation and retargeting.
Mobile connectivity is an expectation, said Sorckoff, just like electricity or indoor plumbing, especially when it comes to millennials, who are “awful” spectators because they want to be participators instead.
If they are not able to connect, they will blame the Hawks, and the Arena, not their wireless service providers, which was the main driver for Sorckoff to ensure their connectivity experience was a great one, and made them experiment with ideas such as events based around dating app Tinder.
Lodder also mentioned that outside Silicon Valley the biggest thinkers are probably in sports, where there is an “arms race” between teams to create new experiences.