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College stadiums pilot mobile delivery of personalized content to fans

Football stadiums at five United States colleges will build engagement with fans this season by broadcasting personalized video highlights, play-by-analysis, interactive games and more via a mobile application.

In the pilot program, users can pair the handheld Xycast personal data receiver (PDR), which is about the size of a credit card, with their mobile phone to receive the content via the app up to a mile from the stadium. It is the latest example of leveraging mobile to create a seamless game-day blend of information, interactive engagement, and entertainment for connected fans.

?Xycast technology is indeed the new way for sports fans to connect in and around stadiums,? said Bruce Cox, founder and CEO of the Atlanta-based venue-specific data broadcaster. ?The technology doesn't rely on WiFi, so there is no limit on the number of fans that can receive the content at any given time.

?Each stadium can create custom content based on the games and what fans want to see,? he said. ?It's simple. Download the app, turn on the PDR, pair it to your phone and enjoy the interactive experience.? 

Valuable tool
The one-quarter-inch thick PDR fits into a purse or a shirt pocket.
Xycast sees the platform as a valuable tool that teams and venue owners will use to enhance the fan experience before, during and after a game. Programming can be customized to the game or stadium, even targeting a specific segment of fans within the stadium.

The schools participating in the project are: Auburn University, Florida State University, United States Naval Academy, University of Michigan and University of South Carolina.

Professional sports teams have been active in the mobile space for some time, but colleges teams are seen as having a big opportunity to leverage mobile because of the young, tech-savvy demographic that collegiate teams attract. College sports fans also tend to be more fanatical than fans of professional clubs.

Collegiate sports organizations, however, face challenges in aggregating the different profiles of fans across digital channels into a holistic view of a sports fan. For one thing, college teams tend to have data in silos. They might use one system for email marketing, another for social media marketing and another for point-of-sale.

Auburn stadium app guides game-day visitors.

The advent of Apple?s iBeacon technology is seen as accelerating college stadiums? move into mobile fan engagement programs. Beacons are an inexpensive alternative to Wi-Fi, and have the ability to set a geofence of up to 50 meters or as small as a foot.

Beacons at Ole Miss
While some large professional and college stadiums have Wi-Fi that can support geolocated messaging and deals, many smaller college level venues do not. They can therefore save money by placing beacons throughout a stadium.

The University of Mississippi is leveraging beacon technology to enhance the fan experience during sports events and link to a rewards program. The system, which will be in operation when the Ole Miss football team plays its home opener Sept. 13, will be integrated into an updated mobile application which provides users with scores, schedules and personalized dashboard content. 

?Our pilot program in five college football stadiums across the country is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Xycast can offer sports fans,? Mr. Cox said. 

?Schools that are interested in this technology should visit and send us an email. Those interested in purchasing a PDR can pre-order one at

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.