May 9, 2016

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Sports 2.0 : Smart stadiums, redefining ways to experience sports

Co-authored by - Abha Sharma

The sports industry is now being known as the sports entertainment industry where apart from the on-field entertainment, drama and sports, the business side has taken a long hop. Customer satisfaction and digitalization have also become buzz words.

Realizing this, the sports industry hopes to respond to the needs and wants of every single spectator visiting the arena to view their favorite matches through smart technology and digitalization. The concept of next gen venues, ‘Smart stadiums’ are reforming the live experience of fans. Right from providing the crowd with the wealth of information on parking availability, bathroom breaks, seat upgrades to providing its visitors the convenient, comfortable experience with customer service and connectivity, these arenas have the answer to every technological and architectural possibility. The ebb and flow of humanity inside the stadium is tracked every minute through networking sensors using IoT technologies. With thousands of state-of-art cameras and devices fitted inside the stadium and all providing connectivity to n screens, by no means can fans miss any moment of play regardless of them being on their seats or not. Out of the 30 major league baseball stadiums, 12 are either already connected, or are in the process of getting connectivity.

Digital innovations such as these are driving the industries today and sports industry is no exception to it. Industries today are partnering with IT giants to transform their digital strategy so as to reap benefits of the so called “Digital revolution”. On the business side, digitalized venues such as smart stadiums are the models of operational efficiency. For instance, the usage of smart lights which can adjust the brightness as per the requirement, automatic control of temperature and ventilation, more convenient ways of purchase in addition to touch of personalization in ways of operations, makes these venues highly efficient which in turn adds to revenue generation. On the technology front, these stadiums operate on the advanced mix of hardware, software, networks and wireless connectivity to quickly collect data using cloud infrastructure and analyze it using data analytics and disperse the output through the same infrastructure. Thus, the digitalization strategy of IT partners is driven by both business requirements and infrastructure capabilities.

With sports management on roll to enhance the in stadium experience of viewers and monetize on the popularity of sports amongst masses, the question still remains, will the management be successful in

competing against the comfortable at-home experience and lure away the crowd into these sophisticated, state-of-the-art stadiums?