Philadelphia Eagles score big with stadium-wide Wi-Fi, app upgrades
September 16, 2013
The Eagles increase mobile efforts
The Philadelphia Eagles are enhancing the game experience for fans by providing stadium-wide free Wi-Fi and new application features.
The Eagles’ stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, is offering Wi-Fi through a partnership with Enterasys Network. By providing free Wi-Fi, the Eagles not only meet today’s consumers’ expectations but also gives the football team the opportunity to connect with its fans on a new level.
“We have always been focused on the gameday experience for our fans, and we want them to be able to enjoy the same things they enjoy during their everyday lives when they are at Lincoln Financial Field,” said Don Smolenski, president of Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia.
“So that means the ability to check scores, stats, fantasy and log on to our mobile app,” he said.
“People want to send pictures to their friends and family from the game, log-on to Facebook and Twitter, check their emails and just know what is going on around the league and in the world in general. Having free Wi-Fi at the stadium will allow them to do that.”
A new connection
Nowadays most consumers expect to have Wi-Fi at public places such as sports arenas. They want to be able to post a picture of the game on Facebook or they want to be able to read real-time commentary from their favorite sports sites.
Lincoln Financial Field and the Eagles are therefore making a smart move in offering Wi-Fi for fans.
Not only will fans be happier but the Eagles can also leverage the Wi-Fi to connect with fans in new ways.
For example, the sports team and stadium can offer deals to consumers that are using the Wi-Fi.
According to Mr. Smolenski, the Eagles does not have any promotions planned, but they do see this as an opportunity for the future.
The Eagles in action
Additionally, the Wi-Fi enables fans to use the Eagles app in-stadium, which complements the Eagle’s announcement that the app will now feature in-stadium only features.
The app will offer Red Zone Channel live streaming and other videos, such as replays, when a fan is at the stadium. Offering in-stadium only features will add an extra reason for fans to actually buy a ticket and go to the game instead of watching on TV at home.
Another benefit of offering independent Wi-Fi that is not carrier-based is that the Eagles can accumulate data on fans Internet usage to learn more about its fan base and enhance their experience.
According to John Brams, director of hospitality solutions for Enterasys Network, Salem, NH, on average, about 25 to 30 percent of data in sports stadiums is social media-based. He also said that uploaded content in-stadium is twice as much as downloaded content.
Mr. Brams has found that fans often visit travel sites after their team wins in order to travel with the team to an away game. This could translate into partnerships with travel companies and different promotions.
By being able to tap into data like that, sports teams and stadiums can better cater to its fans.
A screenshot of the Eagles app
The Eagles are not the only sports teams leveraging mobile in their stadiums.
For the 2013 football season, the Alabama State University Hornets have equipped their stadium with more than 30 iPad POS systems to provide fast concession service to fans. ASU worked with Revel to power the system.
Using the new system at the ASU stadium, Gourmet Services rang up 5,721 transactions in a few hours, according to Revel.
The sports industry as a whole has an incredible opportunity with mobile.
Sports fans are increasingly looking for better experiences, faster services and higher connectivity, so teams such as the Eagles and the Hornets are making smart moves by betting on mobile.
“It’s really about an expectation,” Mr. Brams said. “I think for the majority of people now, there’s an expectation that wherever you go you can be connected.
“If you’re going to maintain your fan base it’s really about productivity,” he said. “You’re not as concerned about what they’re doing, you just want them to be connected.
“I think a lot of teams view that as it’s almost as mainstream as, you have to have concessions you have to be connected. It’s like keeping the lights on. It’s a utility.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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