From their mobile devices to the metaverse, consumers are looking to tech to level-up their stadium outings, according to a newOracle Food and Beverage survey. For example, 57% of stadium goers would love to pre-order food and drinks to avoid the lines, and and 53% think it would be amazing to engage with their favorite teams and artists in the metaverse.
“Today’s fans expect an experience that extends beyond the game. They are looking for great food, friendly service, engaging promotions and hopefully a win for the orange and black,” said Bill Schlough, senior vice president and chief information officer, San Francisco Giants. “Technology is playing an increasingly important role in delivering these experiences from the moment a fan begins planning their trip to Oracle Park. For example, more and more fans are bypassing the concession lines by ordering food on their mobile device so they don’t miss any of the action on the field. Oracle’s technology is helping us bring these offerings to life and continually reimagine how we can enhance the experience for our fans.”
For both restaurant and hotel customers, quality of service (as reflected in positive online reviews) remains a higher priority than technology features, reinforcing that the “human touch” is still at the heart of our industry, according to HT's 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study.
Creating a Homerun Experience
From entering the stadium through to getting player stats, consumers want technology that will give them more bang for their stadium buck:
- 53% think it would be amazing to engage with their favorite teams and artists in the metaverse (such as virtual “backstage/stadium” tours and meet-ups, shopping for merchandise, etc.). This sentiment was especially true of sports fans (64%), and millennials (65%)
- 42% say they’d like to use their fingerprint, rather than a ticket, to enter a stadium
- 38% (the #1 preference) want to view sports stats through their mobile device
- 53% of respondents are interested in receiving special offers for pre-game activities
“Stadium visitors want the best of both worlds; they seek the excitement of live in-person viewing but want the experience to feel as convenient as other parts of their life, such as ordering take-out,” said Simon de Montfort Walker, senior vice president and general manager at Oracle Food and Beverage. “While providing an immersive and seamless journey presents challenges to stadium operators, fans’ increased expectations have also created opportunity to bring innovation and digitalization into the traditional stadium sphere,” according to the “Stadium without Borders: Stadium technology and trends in 2022 and beyond” report.
Speed + Convenience
With staffing shortages lingering, fans believe customer service is getting worse at stadiums and are counting on tech to speed the process and shorten wait times:
- 42% are frustrated with waiting in long lines for concessions
- 53% would prefer a more flexible, self-serve digital experience versus interacting with staff during live stadium events
- 57% love the idea of pre-ordering food and drink for pick at a specific time
- 33% of people will pay extra to pre-order their meal if it means a shorter wait
Robots: Foe or Friends?
The survey showed that fans are mixed on the contentious topic of moving to robot umpires and referees across various sports. While many consumers are indifferent, whether they are rooting for or against the robots largely depends on their region:
- 42% of consumers globally hated the idea (36% for US), 29% loved it (30% for US), and 29% are indifferent (34% for US)
- Leading-off for the ‘hate the idea’ team is Germany (58%), Italy (53%) Spain (52%), Australia (50%), France (48%), Brazil (44%)
- Meanwhile, China (54%) and UAE (53%) ‘love the idea’ of robot umps and refs
The survey conducted by Oracle research partner Untold Insights, polled 5,640 global consumers in May 2022.