Stadiums and fields are empty — at least for now — but soon teams will be welcoming fans back to their stadiums. For their upcoming seasons, sports teams will need to focus on what is best not only for their staff and athletes, but for their fans. Sports teams don’t need to wait to start planning for next season. Using historical location data, sports teams can plan for next season and beyond.
Here are three ways teams can use location intelligence to plan their reopening strategies:
Before teams can welcome back fans, they need to revisit on-site logistics. They’ll need to have processes in place that take into consideration social distancing best practices. By using historical location data, teams can learn when the stadium is most crowded. Peak times in foot traffic and dwell time can give teams insight into when they should have more staff and security to assist fans with finding their seats, helping them navigate the ticketing process, or guiding them to parking spots. This prepares teams to understand when they can anticipate a surge in stadium guests and inform how they handle crowds under social distancing guidelines.
REDEFINE THE FAN EXPERIENCE
While sports teams have been staying connected with their fans on social media, it’ll be important to get them excited about going back to the stadium. According to Deloitte, the sports ecosystem can expect COVID-19 to impact many strategic pillars including fan relationships, and this will cause franchises to have to rethink the “fan experience.” Location intelligence gives teams insight into fan behavior, and sports teams can use these insights to develop a marketing strategy with fans’ interests in mind.
Rethinking the fan experience can include digital experiences, in-person events, or a mix of both. For example, the NHL partnered with Disney last year to create a virtual reality experience for hockey fans. Consider using VR technology to bring fans into the stadium from the comfort of their homes. By understanding what your fans are interested in outside of sports, you can create an even better fan experience. Insights into fan behavior give teams the opportunity to create digital experiences that resonate with their fans. For example, if an NFL football team finds that their fans enjoy going to video game stores, then they could stream their most popular games onto platforms such as Twitch or within Madden NFL.
When fans are ready to return to the stadium, they’ll want to reconnect with the athletes and get reacquainted with their go-to places to eat and drink inside the stadium. Location-based insights allow teams to understand where their fans enjoy going outside of the stadium. Using historical location data, a professional football team might find that their fans love to go to specific microbreweries and sustainably-aware hamburger chains. The team can then pinpoint what food and beverage vendors they should have available to fans returning to the stadium.
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REASSURE SPONSORS AND GROW SPORTS SPONSORSHIPS
As sports teams are working on their strategies, it’s important that they consider their relationships with their sponsors. A survey by IEG found that 62% of sponsors are reevaluating their plans due to COVID-19. How can teams reassure their current sponsors? They can show brands location-based insights to assure them that fans are interested in their products or services. While teams can continue to maintain their relationships with their current sponsors, they can seek out new ones as well. These insights also provide teams with the information they need to seek out new sponsors and partners for the upcoming season.
Let Us Help Your Team Succeed This Season
At Gravy, we want sports teams to be able to be successful from their opening day to the playoffs. By using location intelligence to inform their reopening strategies, sports teams can give their fans a safe environment and create more memorable experiences as they welcome them back to the stadium. This is a challenging time for the sports industry, but it is also one of innovation and creativity. As always, let us know how we can help you.