March is the most wonderful time of the year for basketball fans across America, as over the next several weeks, hundreds of college basketball games will take place as part of the 2016 NCAA March Madness tournament. In arenas from Philadelphia and Anaheim to Denver and Brooklyn, fans will be treated to a month-long sporting extravaganza that captures America’s attention like none other.
And for the venues all across the country hosting these games, the Madness is real. Slates of sold-out games mean tens of thousands of fans expecting not only to be entertained by an exciting game of basketball, but also expecting a fully immersive and digital experience at the arena from the moment they walk through the doors.
As it does across all industries, digital innovation in the sports and entertainment world begins with understanding your customer. It begins with insights – what does today’s sports fan want? Sports and Entertainment executives ask themselves these questions every day to gain a better understanding of what is influencing these needs and anticipate what’s yet to come.
At Cisco, we’ve asked the right questions to arrive at the right solutions. To better understand exactly what fans expect in terms of a digital, in-stadium experience, Cisco recently conducted an in-depth global fan research study of more than 1,700 sports fans from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the U.K. The study aimed to gauge the value of and fan response levels to new and emerging digital concepts in the sports arena.
The number of mobile devices continues to increase at an exponential rate – by 2020 it is projected that there will be 5.5 billion mobile users. Although connectivity and connections fuel the digitization of experiences, it should come as no surprise that basic connectivity is no longer enough to satisfy fans’ expectations. They want convenience, engagement, customization and more and more relevant content available at the touch of a button, much like they do across many other aspects of their digital lifestyles. The opportunity is immense for forward-thinking companies across all industries to deliver new experiences and new levels of engagement that translate into new business opportunities for them and their partners.
In the coming weeks, everyone will have a different prediction for the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and the National Champion. But one prediction we can confidently make is that the digital sports fan will be at the center of it all.