Emerging technologies also promise to improve the experience for fans inside the stadium. In the past, that would have simply meant making sure everyone had a good view of the big screen, but the ubiquity of smartphones means new sports arenas are being designed with at-seat connectivity in mind.
Already, smartphones are bringing some of the perks that armchair viewers have enjoyed for years to those in the stadium.
Beyond that, augmented reality will be able to provide real-time data on the game to fans via their smartphone. A trial of Apple’s ARKit allows fans at select Major League Baseball stadiums to point their smartphone camera at a player out on the field and get instant information about their abilities and statistics.
National arenas such as Wembley Stadium have bespoke apps to help fans find their way around on matchdays. At Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, home of NFL team the 49ers since 2014, a network of 1,700 Bluetooth beacons pairs with the stadium’s mobile app to help fans find their seat, their friends or the quickest way back to their car.
Through the app, fans in search of a half-time drink can track down the concession stands with the shortest queues, or simply order something to be delivered to their seat. Eventually, smart glasses could bring this information into augmented reality, presenting it as a simple overlay on whatever the wearer is looking at in the real world.
As well as improving the fan experience, emerging technologies such as holograms and augmented reality (AR) can help build fan engagement. Xperiel is one company using AR to gamify the live sport experience. Instead of a t-shirt cannon at basketball games, virtual prizes can be launched from the big screen in the centre of the arena that fans can catch with their phones.
This post originally written by and appeared on The Economist.