With the holidays officially in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead to one of the biggest days on the sports calendar – Super Bowl Sunday. Now that this year’s participants have been determined, football fans have plenty of time to start planning party menus, anticipating the top commercials and gearing up the fan rivalries in advance of the big game. The Super Bowl, like all sporting events, is about much more than simply the players on the field or the final score. Sports are meant to be a social activity that brings people together around a shared passion – and technology plays a crucial role in bringing the best of the physical and digital worlds together to create truly unique experiences that fans crave.

Recently, I was honored to be featured as a guest on a Connectivity Panel for Stadia magazine, alongside several esteemed industry colleagues. You can read the full piece here, but below are a few highlights and takeaways:

  • Fans Know Best! – Digital usage at live sporting events continues to grow, and shows no signs of slowing. Almost 100 percent of fans attending an event bring a mobile device in the arena – and fully expect to be able to use it to check scores, post photos on social media, and read supplemental content on the arena and teams. This number is up from 73 percent just 3 years ago. Not only in-stadium but also at home and on-the-go, sports fans have an insatiable appetite for more and more digital content, engagement and access to their favorite teams and players. The teams that best meet this ever-growing demand in new and innovative ways will not only lead the pack in terms of customer satisfaction, but also open up new revenue streams to contribute to the bottom line.
  • Win-Win! – An improved digital experience at live events is not just valuable for fans, but also adds value for a venue and its sponsors. One of our partners, the Denver Broncos of the NFL, have successfully used Cisco Connected Sports Solutions at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium to reenergize concourse signage and enjoyed a 50 percent increase in revenues. They are exploiting the latest digital capabilities of Cisco StadiumVision to enable broader, richer and larger content – including the potential to deliver 4k content in the future – to create an immersive visual experience. This drives a more interactive and personalized experience and opens business opportunities for the venue and teams through targeted advertising, sponsorship activations, promotions, branding and more. Innovation – a big win for the fans, the venue and the sponsors.
  • Be Flexible! – As technology continues to evolve at an exponential rate, a flexible platform – or Digital Network Architecture (DNA) – is essential to ensuring that venues can adapt to ever-changing fan needs and offer better and different digital experiences. We are always striving to help our partners stay ahead of the fan expectation curve.

In other relevant industry news, SportTechie blog recently ranked the top 25 most technologically-savvy professional sports teams, determined based on the following criteria: “regular partnerships and utilizations of new technologies and sports technology companies; unique fan engagement tactics via digital platforms and new technologies; and players on the team who are involved in startups and sports technology companies.”

We’re proud to note that close to 75 percent of the #SportsTechie25 “tech leaders” utilize Cisco Connected Sport Solutions to enhance the digital experience they offer to fans and partners, either directly or through a venue outfitted by our technology. 75 percent! We’re thrilled to partner with the most innovative teams and venues in sports and entertainment, and in turn help to lead the digital transformation of the industry! There’s never been a better time to REIMAGINE Sports and Entertainment!

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