by Angelina Lawton – January 2015
The second screen in sports
The ongoing conversation is how to integrate the second screen into the sports industry. More and more, fans spurn attending games to watch events from the comfort of their own homes. As teams and leagues seek to increase revenue, the time has come to fully integrate the second screen into the stadium.
In order to fully integrate the second screen into the stadium experience, stadiums must present fans with seamless Internet connectivity. The data usage at some of the sporting world’s biggest events demonstrates the reliance fans have on the second screen, even while they’re inside of a stadium attending an event.
The Super Bowl of data usage
At the 2014 Super Bowl, fans used 3.2 terabytes of data. This amounted to fans uploading over five photos per second onto Instagram throughout the game. More recently, at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, fans used 6.34 terabytes of data–nearly double the amount of data that Super Bowl attendees used! This amount of data corresponds to 18.1 million social media posts with photos being sent during the game held at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
In order to attract fans to events, teams and venues must have reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. In fact, in a recent survey of 3,000 college students and young professionals, Cisco found that one in every three believes that the Internet is as important as air, water, food and shelter!
What teams and corporate partners must ask themselves is: If one of the most important parts of the game experience is what fans are holding in their hands, how can we build our brand and improve our bottom lines by providing reliable Internet connectivity?
One way teams and venues can maximize revenue by providing reliable Internet connectivity is to partner with corporate sponsors to provide or upgrade connectivity. This year, the Dallas Cowboys did just that when the team partnered with AT&T to fully upgrade AT&T Stadium’s connectivity to maximum potential. Doing so ensured that fans attending the College Football Playoff National Championship Game wouldn’t hit any snags when posting on social media during the game. Fans attending games at AT&T Stadium can access mobile devices with exactly the same reliability they get at home.
Other teams have likewise made seamless connectivity a priority in their venues. One team that has also successfully done so through a corporate partnership is the Seattle Seahawks. In October 2014, the Seahawks announced that along with Verizon, they would make significant enhancements to CenturyLink Field’s Wi-Fi network by having Extreme Networks install high-density Wi-Fi and Purview analytics systems.
Given that every team needs to maximize connectivity capacity to ensure fans connected to the second screen continue to attend games, it’s critical that teams look for sponsorship partners to help provide connectivity upgrades. Sponsors can serve not only the important role of helping pay for the upgrade costs, but can also help publicize the improvements through their networks.
Corporations should be attracted to the possibility of partnering with a team for a connectivity upgrade, because of the goodwill created among fans–if the partnership is strategically articulated in a campaign that links the WiFi provision for the team’s fans with the providing sponsor. Every digitally savvy fan will celebrate a corporate partner who ensures seamless communication on their social media channels while attending a game.
In the digital age, robust connectivity should be one of the top priorities for every team. As teams look to cut costs and create revenue streams, it becomes apparent that partnering with sponsors for the upgrades provides the best solution for making robust connectivity a reality.