The new TV deal for the Premier League generated national media headlines, even beyond the back pages. There’s already big money in sport, and we are only at the bottom of the curve. Stadia Solutions specialises in developing smarter venues for clients, including sports clubs and rights holders from the entertainment sector. Using the latest technology and consumer insights, the company works to amplify audience engagement and create new revenue streams through new commercial opportunities for the venue.
Anybody that has visited a premium sports or entertainment venue recently will have seen an influx of digital technology creating advertising opportunities and an enhanced visitor experience. Big screens, digital perimeter hoardings and digital signage spread throughout hospitality areas are typical but not evenly distributed by sport or level within the sport.
Stadia Solutions are specialists in tailoring smarter venue solutions can that fit the needs of sports and entertainment clients of all sizes (and from all sports). Depending on client needs and the audience profile, technology and media options might include Wi-Fi, FanTV networks, IPTV systems, LED Screens, digital and static advertising formats.
Creating new media inventory for sports clubs and rights holders helps them realise new incremental revenues, e.g. by selling new advertising space, and also helps to engage their fans through tailored content. A good example of this are IPTV systems in stadia concourses and hospitality areas, lounges, where content can be targeted at different areas and of course tailored to the fans of that club. All of this helps to attract new commercial partners and stimulate higher spending in the venue.
Stadia Solutions has had success with very large sporting venues (e.g. Celtic Park) but also sees great potential for smaller clubs and venues that have a real opportunity to drive new revenue streams through a more sophisticated use of AV solutions. As many of these grounds are in the heart of the community, or strategically located in town and city centres, they have intrinsically high media value, no matter what league and, within reason, how specialist the sport.
It’s a matter of matching the right business model with the opportunities available to the club or rights holder. For example, concourse TV is an interesting area of development, as fans have long periods of waiting or queuing where they can be engaged by relevant content. This is especially true in sports like cricket, and also football, which makes extensive use of it, with additional opportunities available in hospitality and merchandising.
In all of these installations key aspect of the service is the content, as even the most hi-tech installations will only work if they engage the fans with compelling and relevant content. Stadia Solutions’ service combines creative, technical and consultancy, designing the best solution and content to support the business model for each venue.
One of the keys to engaging content is the extent to which it can be personalised to the interests of the individual. The technology now exists to support the provision of user-specific content, adding to the match day experience, with supporting stats and info served through a bespoke app.
This not only fuels fan engagement during the live action, but also away from match-day (via the app) giving the club an ongoing engagement platform with the fans, and a commercial opportunity. Consuming this value-added content during the sports event depends in advances in stadium Wi-Fi. Venue specific apps can be used for merchandise sales, seat upgrades, food and beverage ordering and in-match information.
Stadia Solutions made the first high-end largescale football stadium Wi-Fi installation at Celtic Park. The CelticLIVE app The CelticLIVE pitch-side team feed provides “the content you want, when you want it, so you can focus on the match”. ‘Content Cards’ update automatically on the users’ screens and feature player profiles, team line-ups, updated stats, a rolling commentary, video highlights and interviews. “Let the cards run, tap them for more detail or scroll up and down. Share cards with your friends and followers – show the world you’re a Celtic fan!”
The social perspective
Sharing to Facebook and Twitter is very advanced in the US (e.g. at the San Francisco Levi’s Stadium), and was used Euro 2016 at the Stade de France and Stade de Lyon (including food and drink in-seat ordering – so Lyonnaise).
But perhaps the key benefit of stadium Wi-Fi for a rights owner or club is to establish a bi-directional exchange of data with the fan base, enabling clubs and rights to build relationships with their supporters. Some Wi-Fi models (e.g. Wembley and EE) advocate mobile networks (4G / 5G). But this doesn’t allow for data capture as the rights holder doesn’t own the data – the mobile network does. These technologies struggle to accommodate high density crowd like true HD Wi-Fi can.
Defining the model
What is clear from our discussions with Stadia Solutions is that there is a multitude of opportunities for sports clubs and entertainment rights holders, but achieving a successful adoption depends on putting forward both the right technology option and a viable business model. To this end, Stadia Solutions has purchased big screens and digital signage networks, and either leased time to rights owners, shared advertising revenues and even assumed responsibility for advertising sales.
Stadia Solutions, is to a large extent, technology neutral. If the greatest benefit to the rights owner is to be generated from an IPTV network, then so be it. If a stadium-wide Wi-Fi deployment is the right answer then that will be the choice. The company develops leads across a range of sports, leagues and other rights owners and undertakes consultancy with technology partners. Creating a successful project requires specialist knowledge of the market, all the technology choices and, most importantly, the business models that make it all work. If you have a suitable case for treatment, why not drop an email to MD Gordon Campbell (email@example.com).
Case study1: Bristol Sport:
“Bristol Sport wanted to turn Ashton Gate, the home of Bristol City & Bristol Rugby, into a state-of-the-art 27,000 capacity stadium. Stadia Solutions were commissioned to design, install and develop the necessary technology to make it just that.
“Whilst a project of this magnitude will always continue to develop, as new ideas and technology comes to the table, our installation at Ashton Gate has been a resounding success. With a range of partners, we designed, installed, and developed the full IPTV solution for 350 screens; the largest indoor video wall in any sports bar in Europe; concourse digital menu boards; and Large Format LED Screens (including the exterior screen above the sports bar). Our solutions have been integrated with all existing and club-sourced technology.”
“Stadia Solutions now manage the system, create the content, schedule for fixtures and events, supporting key staff at Bristol Sport, and provide system monitoring and full match day support.”
Case study 2: CelticLIVE Wi-Fi and App solutions
“We have worked with Celtic FC for many years to make Celtic Park on of the most comprehensive Smarter Venue in the UK. The club has always been very keen to deliver a unique matchday experience to its fans. As one of the most popular Scottish clubs, Celtic has a range of high profile sponsors, and are always looking for new ways to connect them with fans through innovative assets.”
“Initially installing poster frames and our renowned FanTV system, we evolved the relationship to include digital consultancy. Celtic were keen to maximise the experience at their famous Glasgow stadium, and they wanted to add connectivity that would allow fans to use their mobile phones and interact with the team in the stadium.”
“Initially installing poster frames 10-years ago, we then installed a FanTV system throughout the stadium. Providing exclusive and engaging content for the fans, and a new platform for advertisers and sponsors. Three-years ago, we took the Smarter Stadium to another level and decided to compile a team of industry experts to develop StadiumLIVE – Stadia Solutions’ connected stadium solution.”
“This included the recruitment of a Wi-Fi Director, a hardware partner, an installation partner, a Digital Engagement Director, a Mobile Product Owner, a content team, a willing rights holder, a betting expert, a data expert and an investor. The result was the ultimate fan engagement team. Following two and a half years of R&D, the StadiumLIVE product was launched in October 2013 at Celtic Park. It is the first example globally of a fully functioning High Density Wi-Fi network that delivers fans a LIVE content-rich smartphone experience built for matchday. Our Smarter Venue vision also includes content delivery and creative at Celtic Park. This ranges from designing LED artwork to feeding content to the FanTV screens and our CelticLIVE app.”
“Celtic Park provides the ultimate Smarter Venue experience, which the fans love. All around the world of sport, there are many examples of Wi-Fi deployments that haven’t lived up to expectations, and venue apps that have had disappointing engagement levels. Not so with CelticLIVE, the fan app devised and managed by Stadia Solutions and our partners. Two and a half years after launch, the Celtic Wi-Fi and CelticLive app are still seen as gold standard products in the market. Combined with in-stadia posters, FanTV and LED perimeter boards, Celtic FC now has a unique and expanded suite of fan engagement opportunities and additional sponsorship assets at their disposal.”