As home entertainment technology develops, teams must offer new amenities to entice fans to attend games. Home viewing may never replicate the energy and excitement of a venue, but some fans stay home to avoid the trudge to the stadium, the endless search for parking, and never-ending concession lines. It just isn’t worth the hassle, and that’s before we discuss the price gouging once inside.
Venue operators aren’t going to lower concession prices, but they can make it easier to get a beer and a dog without missing the game: through mobile apps.
The ability to order food through an app was highlighted on television during the opening game of the brand-new Levi’s Stadium, but new venues aren’t the only ones that are using this technology. Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center are all offering this type of convenience through the Appetize app. “We saw a broken, expensive, and inefficient system of getting product to fans in their seats,” said Appetize director of business development Kevin Anderson.
Whether fans are sitting courtside or in Row 200, they can place an order to be delivered directly to their seat. Appetize runs through stadium WiFi It allows fans to order food and merchandise with just a click of a button. Fans won’t miss the big play of the game because they don’t have to wait in line.
The venue operator also benefits. Appetize and similar apps have a back-end client management system that easily tracks what fans are ordering, finds buying patterns and offers deals based on where and when the fan is in the building. Anderson said that is a big value add, explaining that, “with old legacy point of sale solutions, all the data is what they can get off a credit card. We are focused on bringing that data and telling venue operators what the fan is actually doing in the building.” So if you order a beer and a burger after every first quarter, the app can send you a pop-up to actually entice your buying habits.
Fans have come to expect a level of convenience, so the more offerings a venue has, the more likely people are to come to the stadium. With apps such as Appetize, venues don’t have to be brand new. As long as there is in-stadium connectivity, fans can order whatever they like, wherever they like. And while Appetize doesn’t address the issue of concession price, it does take the inconvenience out of the purchasing process. Both fans and teams will benefit as this technology becomes readily available at more stadiums.
Michael Colangelo is Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute and Senior Editor of The Fields of Green.