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AV in Sport Special: Creating a winning match day experience for the tech-savvy fan

Colin Farquhar, CEO, Exterity explains how integrating video technology and providing quality content can not only help enhance the fan experience and brand loyalty

Stadiums and venues of all sizes know that financial success stems from more than just what happens on the pitch. Fan engagement within the facility – from merchandising through to the bar and coverage of the team both before and after the game – is just as important in ensuring an enjoyable experience and return on investment. To help stadiums and venues deliver the kind of experience that builds brand loyalty among visitors, they need video technology that can be easily integrated into existing facilities and seamlessly deliver engaging visual content to a number of screens.

Creating a more immersive environment

IPTV and digital signage technologies are the major drivers in this shift towards using video to enhance the matchday experience for spectators. IP video and digital signage technologies have been used effectively within stadiums for several years and have become an invaluable tool. As a result, the quality and size of displays has changed considerably, and the ability to update content quickly is now a prerequisite. Live video streams combined with digital signage guarantees that the screen-based content that fans see in venues and stadiums is visually engaging, and wherever they are in the stadium they never miss any of the action.

ParisLongchamp provides a perfect example of how IPTV is being used to improve the matchday experience. As part of a major €140 million investment, this iconic stadium for horse racing fans has deployed Exterity’s integrated IP video and digital signage system to deliver around 60 channels of live broadcast TV, Video on Demand and internally-produced video, as well as wayfinding and advertising to 500 screens across the 55,000 sq. metres of public enclosures. This enables up to 60,000 people to access high-resolution horse racing and sports content via 18 internal channels, including daily on-site programmes, live feeds of the jockeys being weighed and of the horses in the stables, repeats of races and other related feeds.

Stadium owners are also recognising that IPTV can extend beyond just the local event and provide a valuable service for guests. A prime example was at this year 25th anniversary of the Festival of Speed which was held at Goodwood, an event firmly established as the world’s greatest celebration of motorsport and car culture. The Exterity IP video system has the capability to stream live TV to any screen across the site, so with the final day of racing at Goodwood taking place alongside the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon finals, Goodwood used the Exterity IP video solution to stream football and tennis coverage alongside its racing to grateful guests across the site.

Providing guests with more value

However, TV screens in stadiums do more than simply show the main event; they can also be used to promote the sale of food, beverages and merchandise to increase ROI. The most visible elements are the electronic pitch side billboards that are increasingly controlled by IPTV systems and offer valuable real-estate for both local advertisers and international sponsors. The flexibility with which they can be controlled and changed is in stark contrast to the hard-board equivalents that first started to appear in the 1950’s. In the stands, digital signage is commonly used for everything from the dynamic display of food and drink menus to wayfinding that helps people navigate their way around large venues and can be quickly updated in case of emergency.

All signs point to iptv

A great case in point is Matmut Stadium Gerland in Lyon, France, the home of Lyon OU Rugby (LOU). It decided to deploy Exterity’s digital signage solution ArtioSign, which is used in the LOU Shop (pictured, main) and throughout the stadium, including the VIP lounges and the event hall. Via ArtioSign, LOU Ruby offers interactive information and promotion about new merchandise, upcoming events and games, as well as the weather forecast and public transport timetables. In addition to hosting LOU Rugby, Matmut Stadium can be rented by third-party organisations looking for a unique event. Exterity’s ArtioSign enables them to create their own signage, guaranteeing a unique and consistent branding for their guests.

Over the coming years, stadiums will become more technologically sophisticated than ever before and IP video and digital signage will continue to be at the heart of that evolution. These technologies will help stadiums deliver more value; while simultaneously reducing operation costs and complexity, resulting in new revenue building avenues – ensuring that both stadiums and fans are winners.