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Survey: Consumers embrace high-tech stadium features

Stadium-goers want frictionless shopping options.

A new survey reveals consumers are open to omnichannel and virtual experiences when they attend sporting and entertainment events.

According to the survey, “Stadiums without Borders,” from Oracle Food and Beverage, almost six in 10 (57%) surveyed consumers said they would love to pre-order food and drinks to avoid lines, and 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 respondents who identified as millennials (65%) and sports fans (64%).

[Read more: Entertainment, sports venues serve up retail tech innovation]

In addition, 53% of respondents are interested in receiving special digital offers for pre-game activities, while 42% said they would like to use their fingerprint, rather than a ticket, to enter a stadium. And close to four in 10 (38%) respondents want to view sports statistics through their mobile device.

Speed and convenience of digital wins over fans
With staffing shortages lingering, the survey indicates many respondents believe customer service is getting worse at stadiums and are counting on technology to speed the process and shorten wait times:

  • Seven in 10 respondents said service jobs can be replaced by technology solutions.
  • 57% of respondents love the idea of pre-ordering food and drink for pick at a specific time.
  • 53% of respondents would prefer a more flexible, self-serve digital experience, as opposed to interacting with staff during live stadium events 
  • 42% of respondents find waiting in long lines for concessions the most frustrating part of the stadium food and beverage experience. Another 29% said slow service and 23% said errors in food and drink orders.
  • One-third of respondents will pay extra to pre-order their meal if it means a shorter wait.

“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 VP and GM 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.”

“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 VP and CIO, 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.”

[Read more: San Francisco stadium manages concessions inventory in real time]

The survey, conducted by Oracle research partner Untold Insights, polled 5,640 global consumers in May 2022. See the full survey here.

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