Welcome to the Smart-Stadiums Era

30 de May de 2019 Off By morse

Last week, while dragons were flying for the last time in Game of Thrones, another dragon drew our attention – this one, gliding over a Baseball park, in South Korea. This venture used 5G to create Augmented Reality (AR), and brought a unique experience for the people who were there. This is the future of stadiums, arenas, and airports: More connected, more mobile, and much more attractive for the audience – and for the brands knowing how to be present.


We do like sports and technology, but we talked with someone that is much more knowledgeable in the topic: João Paulo Albuquerque Melo (for us, JP),  Sports, Entertainment and Consumer Industries lead, Cisco US and Latam. According to JP, enhancing mobile  connectivity and use in stadiums improves rooter experience. “The joint of mobile and Signage [dynamic digital signaling] adds even more value when it comes to rooter experience. For example, the system is able to identify when a rooter comes into the stadium, whether that person is a new visitor or a loyal visitor and offers promotions and services according to their preferences and profile. Services ranging from ordering food and drink to mobile merchandising to customized offerings upon moments of sponsors’ exclusivity,” he said.

Land Down Under

An example comes from the other side of the globe. In Australia, the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, over one-hundred-year-old stadiums, now offer better wi-fi connection and they added to their app a purchase option using the cell phone. The result? A 47% increase of food and drink sales inside the stadium and increased number of ticket sales through mobile.

Good friends…

All of this is very interesting for stadium owners and teams, but what does a brand have to do with all this? Well, making the stadium “smart” means an increase of interaction channels with users. Check out what happened at SunTrust Park, in Atlanta, which enhanced the wi-fi, digital kiosks and digital ticketing, and, to complete, ended up by increasing a lot the sales of sponsored products through an owned ad network in there. Landing on the world of brands; Coca-Cola has performed digital activations during footballand baseball matches in the United States. Equipped with a better connection, they can put digital tokens in the stadiums and create mobile AR experiences to reach rooters.

Fast or furious

In the Netherlands, one of the soccer stadiums is creating ways to receive self-driving cars in its parking lots. There is also use for improving the interaction in concerts. The point is: It is all about connectivity. And, as with goalkeeper in a soccer team, we just remember about it when it is bad. “Nobody says anything when a stadium has a great, excellent, super rapid connectivity; rather, only when it is slow, unstable and offer a disservice to rooters. Therefore, a good-quality connectivity is essential for experience activations,” JP said.

The future is …

Speaking of connection rapidity and not remembering 5G is almost impossible. In the last months, Camp Nou – the home stadium of Barcelona – announced its own dedicated network for 5G; in the United States, NFL is closing deals for operators to make the new mobile internet network arrive in stadiums. There are analysts strongly stating that arenas and stadiums will be the pioneers to show how 5G really works. JP reminds that the Wi-Fi 6 will also join it to improve the connection.  What happens in the arenas are not confined to the sports and entertainment segment, says JP, once it is closely observed by segments such as retail and hospitality. “They are learning with the success these activations are obtaining to replicate in their own premises,” he comments. We should keep an eye on it!