As we slowly navigate our way out of lockdown, one of the challenges for stadiums is fan safety, ensuring that it’s implemented for sports reopening past COVID-19.
It’s a key consideration for venues and would see some differences compared to before the pandemic hit. Brent Kocher, Chief Revenue Officer at Realife Tech, believes that increased fan engagement will be pivotal as spectators and venues work together to see new safety solutions used to its full potential.
Collectively, the majority of sports fans would love for the games to continue despite restrictions on fan attendance – a June 2020 study by ESPN showed that 78 per cent of fans were in favour of play being resumed. It was a double-digit increase on a previous poll back in April.
Australian sporting codes Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) have already welcomed sports fans back for their respective Grand Finals albeit in a limited capacity, so other venues both here and overseas will be sure to follow suit as spectators are eased back soon.
For it to be successful, discussions need to be had about some COVID safety measures to be included and the joint effort by stadiums and visitors to hold key events for enjoyment with health the main focus.
While we still don’t know the full answers about if and when we get back to full capacity, the slow return of fans in partial attendance will serve as testing opportunities for policies and procedures in the future. Technology solutions can be used during this process as fans make the transition back to sporting grounds. Fan engagement allows not only them to be informed, but engaged in an active role to keep themselves safe, as well as players, staff and teams.
Technology solutions have been created so it becomes a more seamless and stress-free experience for fans who are the focus of increased engagement, factoring in their safety to lessen the potential health risks both inside and outside the venue.
Going to a game used to be a carefree experience, but nowadays it is a completely different story. Before, all the spectators had to worry about was finding their ticketed seats and snacks or drinks they would like to buy. Now, it has become a case of spectators considering what time slot they’re scheduled to enter through the gate, where their seats are uniquely allocated and how far they would be, nominating a time to go and grab something to eat or drink, and a chosen time they wish to exit.
Realife Tech aims to create the best possible experience for fans adhering to COVID guidelines.
“At Realife Tech, we’ve developed a “Covid Safety Hub”, a range of mobile-based features that guide fans through new venue policies and procedures, with messaging delivered before, during, and after events.” Chief Revenue Officer Brent Kocher said.
“The tech features location-based safety alerts that share real-time information with fans, helping to control high traffic areas, reduce lines at entries and exits, and loosen crowd congestion.
“Fans who engage with this platform can adjust their actions depending on social distancing needs around them; for example, if the area they’d like to visit within the stadium is reaching capacity, or if the bathroom near them has a long line that would make distancing from others difficult, they can choose to avoid those areas and take another route to their desired destination.”
Venues will need to adapt to contactless changes for matchday between staff and fans entering the venue. It means usual interactions will be limited, including touch-free ticketing scanning and contactless ordering and click-and-collect type process of getting food, beverage and merchandise items.
Stadiums and venues can look into the single view of the customer across their journey, making this a significant learning opportunity for data collection – from multiple platforms and systems, including apps, ticketing, Wi-Fi, point-of-sale, digital advertising screens and access control points.
Delving into the customer journey can assist venues with their future offerings and communications to provide a more extensive experience that will become seamless moving forward. It addresses both the current challenges and customer needs.
With fan engagement at the forefront, it means there will be consistent communication between spectators about the right processes, through dedicated technology solutions. They can then feel more empowered to make decisions and be a key difference as part of their daily lives. It means that while we’re still a while off fully-packed crowds, it doesn’t mean we have to settle with empty stadiums.
To see what Realife Tech has to offer, you can find out more here.