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Why Mobile Connectivity is now a critical service in stadiums

As stadiums across the world begin to welcome back crowds, clubs are looking to improve the overall experience for fans in a post COVID-19 world.

Mobile connectivity continues to be an increasingly important utility in stadiums, with fans now somewhat expecting the service at the football grounds they visit.

UK company Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG) own and operate the nation’s largest selection of indoor mobile networks, serving over 1.25 billion visitors each year.

Working with all UK mobile network operators, WIG have direct experience in designing, installing and operating mobile infrastructure and lead the market in network deployment and management in stadiums and sports venues.

2020 saw the biggest ever growth in the UK for mobile devise usage, with users trying to stay connected whilst offices, businesses and venues were closed due to the pandemic.

These figures are expected to increase again in 2021, with mobile device usage now exceeding time spent watching live TV.

Vijay Sodiwala, Commercial Director at WIG, believes that these increases during the COVID period will impact supporters’ expectations of the matchday experience in stadiums.

“It is inevitable that fan behaviour will have changed significantly in terms of how much they interact with their mobile devices and the quality of connectivity and service they expect as part of their overall stadium experience,” he told fcbusiness.

“Fans will expect dedicated coverage and a high-speed data capability allowing them to access the internet, stream videos, interact on social media, text and make calls to friends and family before, during and after matches.

“They will be less tolerant of a poorer mobile experience, especially in venues that are charging them to attend events.”

Sodiwala explains the best possible way to address poor mobile connectivity in stadiums.

“Outdoor networks (such as masts, towers and rooftop installations) are just not designed to deliver the capacity that is needed when you have stadiums operating at full capacity and it is no longer appropriate to look to the mobile network operators to solve these problems for us,” he said.

“The most efficient solution for enabling properly dimensioned mobile services within a stadium is a distributed digital network approach.

“This is a single network deployed around the stadium that can support all of the mobile network operators and all of their technologies (2G, 3G, 4G and 5G) at the same time. It can also support private network capabilities that stadiums operators and clubs have started to use as a secure, high capacity, flexible and lower-cost alternative to WiFi and traditional wired networks.”

Leading stadium owners and clubs across the UK, including Premier League clubs, have teamed up with WIG to create their own dedicated infrastructure solution.

“Stadium owners and clubs have started to look at investing in their own network infrastructure and partnering with Wireless Infrastructure Group to design, deploy, operate and maintain their stadium networks and provide the interface to the mobile network operators to enable service.”

Sodiwala outlined that because of the rapidly changing behavioural habits of fans, it is an appropriate time for clubs to invest in technology to improve their digital strategic footprint.

“The pandemic has resulted in a seismic shift in consumer behaviour with an increased reliance on mobile devices and adoption of digital technologies,” he said.

“Think of how much our daily interaction has gone digital – from attending meetings to ordering groceries – and stadiums are not exempt. Fans will understandably be relived to return to live events, but their expectations on stadium experience will be markedly different.

“Some of our stadium partners (clubs) have seen the restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic as an opportunity to address this.

“Firstly, to use digital as a more effective way of engaging and connecting with fans through a more immersive and content rich experience. Secondly, clubs are looking at capturing operational efficiencies which have the potential to improve the bottom line – mobile ticketing, in- seat ordering, and mobile payments are the sort of things that come to mind here.

“Underpinning all of this of course is the realisation that high quality mobile service is key to a successful digital strategy.

“A desire to drive fan engagement, improve stadium experience and reduce operational costs certainly feels like a strong response from clubs in a post-pandemic environment. Investing in the right infrastructure approach with the right partner is the first step on that journey.”

More information on the Wireless Infrastructure Group can be found here: https://www.wirelessinfrastructure.co.uk/

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Deltatre adds sport-related functionality to AXIS

Deltatre, the global leader in fan-first video experiences, has announced the development of a new suite of sport-focused features and functionality within its user experience (UX) management tool, AXIS, to support leagues, teams and federations. 

AXIS is a targeted UX management console and suite of multi-platform Reference Apps. For many years, AXIS has been the go-to product for OTT services, including BritBox, Rogers Sports & Media and DR.

AXIS empowers an OTT service’s editorial team, reducing churn and boosting personalisation and monetisation options.

This latest evolution of AXIS brings Deltatre’s expertise to life, offering sports-focused OTT providers the ability to offer their users uniquely different ways of following specific leagues, tournament rounds, teams or players. 

By putting the power in the hands of knowledgeable editorial staff, clients consistently report increased engagement and reduced churn from their OTT offering. 

Deltatre has added the ability for broadcasters and rights holders to adapt their services, so that sports content such as competitions, events, teams, and athletes can be promoted out-of-the-box, with dedicated templates enabling easy discoverability of live and catch-up sport video content. 

In addition, a new personalisation feature allows users to follow their favourite team or player so they never miss a moment of the action. 

Using a simple drag-and-drop interface, AXIS helps editorial teams control every element of their OTT video service, including design, navigation, promotions, page layout, and content. 

This builds on an already extensive set of core AXIS functionality that includes the following features:

 A drag-and-drop management system: Enables any content producer to make real-time changes to an OTT service without needing to touch any code – helping to boost engagement and monetisation opportunities. 

 Smart lists: Streamline efficiency with ‘smart’ lists of content that combine manually curated and rules-based content.

 Advanced Segmentation Tags: Target your audience by demographic type, device, location and so on. 

 Personalisation:  Dynamically surface related content that you know your users are interested in, based on their followed items. 

 Page and row templates: Ready-to-use templates and row types let you create and configure detail pages for your competition, event, team, and other assets, that users can navigate to from anywhere in their app. 

 Monetisation options: Boost revenue potential in a non-intrusive way, by adding brand sponsored rows or banners directly into the UI. 

Gilles Mas, President of Video Experiences, Deltatre, said: “As a long-standing streaming technology provider to leading OTT platforms across sport and entertainment, Deltatre is uniquely positioned to understand the complexities and differences in the way fans and users engage with and consume different content. 

“We know how important it is to combine a greater user experience with clear, actionable audience data. Truly understanding your customers, and giving an editorial team the tools to act on that knowledge, is key to maximising engagement and reducing costs and churn.”

AXIS complements Deltatre’s comprehensive end-to-end offering across sports and entertainment, which includes its OTT player DIVA, the world’s most powerful sports publishing platform FORGE, and mtribes, a SaaS platform for real-time, data-driven UX targeting. 

Infront X creates the ideal fan experience for leading clubs 

With popular football clubs among their extensive client list, Infront X presents as the perfect partner for anyone in the sports industry looking to improve their fan experience. 

Infront X is a digital media company focused on the link between data science and technology and how this can create more personal experiences for users  growing audiences for content owners, bridging the gap between storytelling and technology and creating digital platforms and experiences to help global brands engage with audiences and monetise their investments. 

Infront X works with many of the biggest names in sports, media, entertainment, and gaming, tailoring to meet their interests using data-driven insights to cater to audience passions and empower businesses to make millions of lasting impressions.  

Infront X has established themselves across the world with offices across North America, Europe, and Asia, where they have had a massive impact in helping elite organisations like the PGA TOUR, Verizon, NASCAR, FOX, Chelsea FC, AS Roma, the International Ski Federation, and the International Basketball Federation, as well as many others. 

Forming part of Infront X’s expertise is the way they have delivered fan experience for sporting organisations. One of their leading projects has been with 2020-21 UEFA Champions League winners, Chelsea FC. 

Launched in 2018, The 5th Stand App connects a global fanbase to their club and community. 

During a long-term partnership, Infront X has worked closely with Chelsea’s digital team to create and implement a data-driven digital product strategy, which brings the very best features together on The 5th Stand. The app is designed to let Chelsea’s global fanbase interact with each other and support the club, even when they cannot be in one of the four stands at Stamford Bridge, particularly key to capturing an international audience. 

The collaboration between Infront X and Chelsea both parties to develop and deliver an innovative digital strategy that focuses on deep fan engagement for a truly interactive interface. Since From the time The 5th Stand was released, it has been downloaded over 6.7 million times, making it the fastest growing football app in the world. A recent survey by Chelsea saw 92% of all fans recognise the importance of having The 5th Stand app. 

Moving across to Italy, Infront X and AS Roma FC form another partnership that is in amongst a multi-year deal. Regarded as one of the most successful clubs in Serie A, Infront X saw another perfect opportunity to help a club that has an incredibly passionate global fanbase.

Ordinally, AS Roma were able to relaunch their flagship website in 2018 thanks to Corebine, powered by Omnigon, in conjunction with Infront X. The introduction of the digital media company to AS Roma’s business strategy and planning identified the needs and requirements for the club, through insights gleaned that saw new monetisation opportunities and holistic recommendations to take the digital experience to the next level. 

Infront X were then able to develop and launch mobile apps to cater for the global community, alongside a revamped and responsive website that comes with a host of different languages. A verstaile platform gives AS Roma fans everything they need with in-match and player statistics, as well as enhanced video capabilities. 

Sporting leagues themselves can even get in on the action, as evidenced with the features that Infront X helped the Scottish Professional League (SPFL) with. 

The SPFL were seeking new ways to keep their fans engaged in a time where the league was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

When league games were cancelled, Infront X found a way to fill a content gap by using a voting system to reach fans and create those interactions. Each week, they had the chance to vote for which archived match would be streamed each week. 

Eventually when matches resumed, a poll allowed fans to vote on ‘Team of the Season’ content and a variety of other campaigns ensured that fan engagement would always remain at a high. 

To see everything that Infront X has to offer across a range of industries, you can find it here. 

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