The Dallas Cowboys’ home, AT&T Stadium, is enhancing the in-stadium experience for visitors with a mobile application that guides them to seats, concession stands and bathrooms and even lets them post photos to a 130-foot LED display screen.
The mobile features, which will be used for the first time when the Cowboys meet the San Francisco 49ers in their Sept. 7 National Football League home opener, follow a 50 percent ramp-up in cellular network capacity at the five-year-old stadium in Arlington, TX. The app, which can be downloaded onto both iOS and Android devices, illustrates how sports clubs have recognized that spectators expect a fully immersive in-game experience due to mobile’s power to connect them almost instantly with a full range of services and products.
“The objective was to increase connectivity for fans,” said Brett Daniels, Cowboys’ director of corporate communications. “In this day and age, fans expect to be able to use their devices.
“Stadiums typically are not designed for that. We’ve been working with AT&T to make the upgrades.”
AT&T Stadium is the latest sports venue to recognize that quality connectivity and mobile applications are crucial to engage fans.
Last month, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Nationwide Arena installed high-quality Wi-Fi to give the National Hockey League club’s fans high-speed wireless connectivity on any mobile devices in the arena, boosting fan engagement with the sport.
Mobilitie, a Newport Beach, CA provider of wireless infrastructure, installed high-density WiFi at the Columbus arena. The network, which will allow fans to share information via their social channels, and enjoy in-venue entertainment, is expected to be fully operational for the Blue Jackets home-opening contest against the New York Rangers on Saturday, October 11.
In May, NHL executives at the 2014 MMA Forum spoke on how the league uses push notifications to keep hockey fans engaged with its applications. NHL uses push notifications for two separate initiatives — one is for NHL news, and the other is notifications associated with games.
The Brooklyn Nets are leveraging beacon technology and an updated app to bring fans closer to the team and guide them through various services.
The National Basketball Association club delivered thousands of messages to fans at the Barclays Center during last season’s playoffs, with the help of Roximity, a Denver-based location-based alert and deals platform, and plans to support beacon technology into the 2014-2015 season.
Stadium app engages Cowboys' rabid fan base.
The centerpiece of the AT&T stadium mobile mind-shift is the 130-foot AT&T Fan Experience Board, located above an end zone. The first-ever fan responsive LED display to be built, it features 40 independent mirrored louvers that rotate 360 degrees in a choreographed motion.
The “Unite the House” fan interaction feature on the app will alert fans at pivotal moments of the game through their mobile devices.
As the stadium app vibrates, a message will be displayed providing the particular context and immediacy of the action. Fans will be guided to unlock their phones, hold their fingers on the Dallas Cowboys star and as more phones power up, the stadium will be full of strobes, not only from mobile devices, but also on the ribbon displays and the HD video board.
The visual will gain intensity and speed as more fans join in, energizing the stadium and culminating in a final eruption of light and motion provided by the louvers that will canvas the entire stadium.
The app also will be useful to management in its ability to lets users rate their experience, including building security and traffic flow to and from the game.
“It is an opportunity for the team to get feedback from people in the building,” Mr. Daniels said of the venue, which changed its name from Cowboys Stadium to AT&T Stadium last summer.
“It is way for us to know if something is going well or needs to be improved.”
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.