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Entertainment, sports venues serve up retail tech innovation

The AREA15 venue coming to Orlando will include immersive customer experiences.

Entertainment and sports arenas increasingly feature leading-edge retail technology deployments.

While venues do not always automatically come to mind when the term “retail” is mentioned, they typically sell food, beverage, souvenirs and more to the audience of thousands of customers who attend the events they host. Following are three examples of arena retail innovation.

Oracle Park – Concessions management
Customers at San Francisco’s Oracle Park will have enhanced access to concessions products. The San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball team is deploying the Oracle Micros Simphony Cloud POS solution at its home stadium.

The Giants intend to leverage the new POS technology to make it easier for customers to order food and beverage options at concession stands or from their mobile devices, while built-in restaurant business analytics and real-time data access will help Oracle Park improve inventory management.

The venue will leverage Simphony to obtain real-time insights into what is happening across inventory, pricing, and promotions. For example, if a popular promotion leads to an out-of-stock item, it will automatically be reflected on the park's digital menu boards and mobile devices. Conversely, ballpark staff will also be able to see if there is a surplus of a certain food, with the option to run a new promotion to accelerate sales.

As part of this rollout, the team has also moved its disaster recovery system for high-priority data, files and video to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

In future seasons, Oracle Park will implement self-service customer kiosks and “grab-and-go” frictionless checkout locations.

Climate Pledge Arena – Contactless shopping
The recently opened, net-zero carbon-certified Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle features Amazon's leading-edge contactless shopping and payment options.

Climate Pledge Arena is a redevelopment of downtown Seattle’s KeyArena. The name refers to The Climate Pledge, launched in 2019 by Amazon and climate change network Global Optimism, which calls on signatories to be net-zero carbon across their businesses by 2040.

In addition, Climate Pledge Arena uses Amazon's Just Walk Out technology with Amazon One palm-based payment to make the in-arena shopping experience more efficient and cut wait times. Customers visiting the four Just Walk Out-enabled stores at Climate Pledge Arena can insert their credit card at the location's entry gates to shop, or can hover their palm over an Amazon One device to enter. Once inside, customers can take what they want and then leave after they're done shopping.

As customers shop, Just Walk Out technology determines what they take from or return to the shelves, and the credit card they inserted or linked to their Amazon One ID will be charged for items they took after they leave the store. If a customer is new to using the Amazon One palm recognition service, they can enroll in less than a minute at any of the Amazon One enrollment kiosks located near the Just Walk Out technology-enabled stores on the arena's main and upper concourses.

AREA15 – Immersive customer experience
While it does not host any professional sports teams, the AREA15 venue in Las Vegas, with an Orlando location coming in 2024, houses more than 40,000-sq-ft. of indoor and outdoor event space, as well as stores, bars and eateries.

AREA15 also offers what it calls “immersive activations,” often featuring advanced technology to engage consumers in omnichannnel experiences. Past examples include the “Birdly Virtual Reality Experience,” where customers could get a bird’s-eye view by virtually flying over New York, Singapore, and prehistoric worlds.

And on the more practical side, during peak COVID-19 pandemic periods, an AI-driven thermal scanning platform non-invasively screened visitors’ body temperatures and detected whether or not they were masked.

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