Ah, the ballgame. You haul your sack of pennies to the gate, buy a ticket, wait and shuffle through lines for each concession, wave for the stadium vendor to no avail, decide it’s not worth it to trudge back for another beer, and then forget to buy that jersey you were going to pick up for your nephew.
But wait! It’s 2021 and none of that has to be true. The technology that has blossomed over the last few years has transformed the stadium experience for the better.
If you’re still doing it old-school, we’ve brought together the top four commerce platforms to improve guest experience along with your resourcing and vendor sales.
#1 Smart Ticketing
To get into a sporting event, fans need a ticket.
In the past, this was a physical voucher that fans would show at the gate. The ticket served two primary purposes. At security, it would be scanned to verify that it was legitimate. Once they were in the stadium, fans could then use their ticket to see where their seats and sections were.
But this older physical ticketing system was rife with issues, including:
- Scalping – There’s been a long-standing love/hate relationship with scalpers—people who would stand outside of the stadium and offer to sell tickets to fans who didn’t have a ticket. While for some people, this could be a unique way to unexpectedly go to the game, it often led to price gouging or the sale of fake tickets.
- Lines – Scanning physical tickets isn’t always a very efficient process. And it becomes even less so if they’re even more rudimentary tickets where security must physically inspect and verify each one.
- Loss – If a physical ticket is lost or stolen, it becomes harder if not entirely impossible for fans to prove that they had purchased the original ticket. This is especially true if the ticket was given to them or bought second-hand.
Mobile ticketing commerce platforms eliminate many of these common pain points inherent with physical tickets. Through the use of these apps, a fan can purchase their ticket and then have a digital copy that can be pulled up on their phone and then scanned to enter.
This provides several benefits, including:
- Navigation – Instead of searching for the right app to download and trying to remember what wing, section, and seat they’re sitting in, guests can get a mobile started with a simple QR code scan at their seat. Location-aware QR codes launch the mobile web experience with seat location prefilled, allowing a quick and easy start to placing an order.
- Second-hand selling – Want to safely and securely sell your ticket? Can’t go at the last minute and want to give them to a friend who’s close by? With mobile ticketing apps, you can easily and instantly transfer your ticket to another person.
- Fast entrance into the stadium – With ticketing commerce platforms, a fan only needs to pull up their digital QR or barcode and hold it up to the scanner. This makes lines move faster and reduces the need to have as many workers handling ticket scanning.
#2 Contactless Ordering and Payment
One of the most common complaints at any sports venue are the lines for concessions and merch. Because no one wants to miss the game to get a beer and hot dog, you tend to have mad rushes to concessions around the quarters and half time. This leads to long lines, frustrated fans, and overwhelmed stadium employees.
No one wants that. And for event coordinators, this could represent significant amounts of money left on the table by fans who are too frustrated or don’t even bother to wait in line. According to Fox Business:
“A survey this week showed 45% of sports fans have abandoned concession lines at least once in the last year because the wait was too long. It’s an issue that ticket buyers desperately want to see fixed. On average, U.S. fans said they would be willing to spend an additional $20 for food and beverages if wait times were cut in half. That would reflect a 42% increase in the usual amount spent at concessions.”
People are already paying a lot of money to get into the game. They don’t want to miss a second of it. If stadiums could reduce wait times and streamline concessions, they’d enjoy immediate ROI both in terms of sales and happier fans.
With contactless ordering systems like GoTab this becomes possible, creating numerous advantages for stadiums and fans alike:
Benefits for Fans
- In-seat ordering – No one wants to spend half of their time at a stadium standing in crowded lines, hearing the cheers of the crowd while you’re waiting for the couple ahead of you to decide between cheese fries and soft pretzels. Much better to pursue the menu and place an order—all without missing a single pass or score.
- Delivery to seat – Some commerce platforms allow for in-seat ordering and then direct you to a pick-up location. This would enable fans to stay where they were and have the food delivered to them. Even if delivery isn’t an option due to employee constraints, this type of system would at least allow fans to stay in their seats until they’re alerted that the order is ready for them to grab.
- Group orders – Consider offering the ability for multiple fans to select and pay for their own food in a group order that can be delivered together.
- Contactless pay – Instead of needing to provide card or cash, digital payment would further speed up the entire ordering process.
- Concession and retail ordering – The ability to process both gift retail items and concessions at the same time is a bonus for fans, and allows the opportunity to browse available options from their seat instead of hunting through the stadium to find a rumored item.
Benefits for Stadiums
- Optimized staffing – If staff don’t need to waste their time taking orders and processing payments, you can then enable them to focus their attention on fulfillment. This, in turn, leads to faster order turnarounds. It also makes it possible to operate with fewer staff members.
- Happier fans – When fans don’t feel as if their time is wasted, they’re more likely to keep returning, both for games and concessions.
- Increased revenues – Happier fans are more willing to spend, especially if you make it convenient for them to place and pick up an order.
- Improved safety – In a time when many are still concerned by close face-to-face contact. Contactless payment reduces such interactions, protecting fans and employees alike.
#3 Digital betting
Online sports betting is now legal in some shape or form in almost every single state in the country. Depending on the laws of the state, some allow full mobile betting with multiple options whereas others only allow in-person sportsbooks.
For sports events that are in legal mobile betting states, this could represent a massive source of potential revenue whether by partnering with a betting commerce platform, creating your own sportsbook, or simply promoting it as an activity that’s naturally associated with attendance. Regardless, the country is trending towards a full embrace of sports betting, and sporting event coordinators would be wise to get in on the action.
#4 Health and Safety Apps
In a time when many fans want to ensure that going to a large gathering will be as safe as possible, many sporting event companies are partnering with health and safety commerce platforms to ensure that fans are protected.
Health passes act similar to digital tickets. For instance, fans can upload their vaccination status or proof of a negative PCR test to the mobile app. This information can then be pulled up for a fast, touchless entry to the gates. Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, was one of the first stadiums in the country to embrace this type of commerce platform. Per Sporttechie:
Fully vaccinated fans will not be required to wear masks inside the stadium, making the Raiders the first NFL team to announce a vaccine, no mask policy for fans…Biometric identification company CLEAR originally launched its Health Pass in May 2020 for users to store their COVID-19 test results and take digital health screenings.
With such a system, stadiums can help reduce their liability and make each sporting event a place where all of the fans can feel safe.
Ready to Win the Hospitality Game? Go with GoTab
An effective mobile commerce platform will solve not just pandemic-related challenges, but improve sales, efficiency, and fan experience. GoTab’s co-founder Tim McLaughlin knows this from experience as both a restaurateur and a technology entrepreneur.
GoTab partners with sports and entertainment venues, restaurants, and hotels to boost effective communication and transaction efficiency along with sales.
If you’re ready to streamline your concession and gift sales and delivery with a leading cloud-based commerce platform, we invite you to request a demo today. We’ll walk you through how our best-in-class service model can put a bigger smile on fans’ faces, and throw in a complimentary two-week trial period plus dinner on us at a GoTab venue.
- Business Wire. 5 More U.S. Stadiums Select Appetize Mobile Ordering To Improve Fan Experience. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201028006242/en/5-More-U.S.-Stadiums-Select-Appetize-Mobile-Ordering-To-Improve-Fan-Experience
- Fox Business. Stadiums Struggle to Satisfy Hungry Fans, Oracle Finds. https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/stadiums-struggle-to-satisfy-hungry-fans-oracle-finds
- Action Network. Where Is Sports Betting Legal? Projections for All 50 States. https://www.actionnetwork.com/news/legal-sports-betting-united-states-projections
- Sporttechie. Las Vegas Raiders Use CLEAR’s Health Pass to Mandate Proof of Vaccine for Fans. https://www.sporttechie.com/las-vegas-raiders-use-clears-health-pass-to-mandate-proof-of-vaccine-for-fans