In recent years, the technological development of stadiums and sports arenas has hardly been able to keep pace with the rapidly growing marketing and commercialisation of sport. Although many of Germany's stadiums and sports arenas are still among the most modern in Europe, they currently provide little technological assistance to the visitors of sporting events in satisfying even the simplest needs before, during and after the games. Finding a parking space, orientation in the stadium, the supply of food and beverages, and sometimes even following the action in the stadium itself, often become a challenge, which means that the fun factor and experience value of stadium visits can suffer considerably. In times when smartphones are part of the basic equipment of the fans, it would be possible to address every visitor individually with the help of user-oriented, digital offers and to make life in the stadium easier for them. The good news is that "smart stadiums" are being planned, in some places even already in the implementation phase - and they are much longed for by many fans.
In an online study of 1,000 German sports fans, Facit Digital has found out which smart services are really useful from the fan's point of view. A digital service offer based on a fictitious mobile app with 25 different features was presented to this target group as a verbal concept for evaluation. Each feature was evaluated individually and the app as a whole. Using the Kano analysis, the digital offer was then analysed in terms of its benefits for fans.
Entertainment through sport, comfort through the app
The results of the study confirm our assumption that certain digital services around the stadium visit are very much welcomed by most fans, and in some cases even expected. More than two thirds (68%) of those surveyed said that they would use the app described in the study. Among regular visitors to Bundesliga stadiums, the figure is already 77%, and among fans who state that they like to try out new apps frequently (app-affine) even almost 90%!
The Kano analysis was used to determine which of the 25 tested app features are considered basic, performance and enthusiasm features - and which features are dispensable (neutral). Basic features are taken for granted by the fans. Performance features create satisfaction if they are present and dissatisfaction if they are missing. Enthusiastic features offer unexpected added value, but are not taken for granted.
With regard to the stadium app, the analysis reveals that especially app features that increase comfort in and around the stadium and make the actual game more transparent are considered particularly relevant by the fans, while gamification or social media offers are considered largely unnecessary. The fans therefore want an app that makes the stadium experience more pleasant, but does not distract them (and the other fans) from the actual sports action.
The top 5 digital services in and around the stadium that provide the greatest satisfaction for fans:
Possibility to reserve a parking space near the stadium for a fee and use a special access road/entrance with less waiting time
Mobile ticketing: store admission ticket on the smartphone and thus check in automatically (shorter waiting times)
Access to a fast and stable WLAN connection
Order drinks and/or snacks to your own seat during the game
Viewing repetitions of scenes from different perspectives
A total of 56% of those surveyed believe that the attractiveness of a visit to a stadium would be increased for them personally if the described app were available to them. In the target group of 16 to 24-year-olds, the proportion rises to 69%. Among those with an affinity for apps, as many as 77% find it more attractive. In addition, a corresponding app would have the potential to motivate previous non-stadium visitors to visit the stadium: For almost two-thirds (63%) of those interested in football who have not visited a stadium to date, the app would make visiting a stadium more attractive, and for almost a quarter (24%) it would even make it significantly more attractive.
The app would also probably have a positive impact on the willingness of stadium visitors to consume: 38% of fans said that they would probably spend more money during a stadium visit if the app were available to them. In the target group of 16 to 24-year-olds, this proportion rises to 45%, and among the App affinities as many as 63% expect their spending to increase.
Conclusion: More fun, comfort and consumption in the stadium through digital services
Well-designed and user-centred digital services in and around the stadium not only increase the attractiveness of live visits to Bundesliga and DEL matches,
In July 2018 Facit Digital carried out a study on the topic of "Digital Stadium Experience" in respondi's online access panel among 1,000 football and ice hockey fans in Germany. The primary aim of the study was to analyse the demand for digital offers and services relating to the stadium visit from the fan's perspective. Initially it did not matter whether the fans (between 16 and 59 years of age) had already visited a stadium at the time of the survey or not. Only the basic willingness to visit a stadium had to be given. In addition, the respondents had to have a smartphone.