Keeping fans connected
By Helen Miall, Head of Marketing, Weve and O2 Commerce, Telefonica UK
Go to any gig, sports match or concert and you’ll more than likely see the venue lit up with mobile phones filming and sharing the event. With the progression of mobile technology has come the expectation of free wifi everywhere we go and sharing the experience is a big part of any event. But connectivity is still often problematic when in a large venue or crowd, there is still fragmentation of coverage for stadium events, and I see many fans frustrated when it doesn’t work. They feel they’re missing out.
We expect to be able to share photos instantly, posting updates to social media platforms. And it’s not just the fans that want to connect but superstars such as Beyonce who have huge online followings rely on their fans sharing to increase their reach online. Radiohead recently asked fans to Periscope their performance at Secret Solstice Festival. The reasoning behind this was that if the concert was streaming, fans across the world would be able to view it. Football is another field championing this activity. Leicester City’s football fairytale premiership win lit up social media when Chelsea drew with Spurs as fans, celebrities, and even politicians commenting and posting via twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Twitter saw an 86% increase in normal activity on the night and the LCFC Instagram account gained 100,000 fans in 24 hours! This whole experience would have been even better with live posts from the match.
At any event, I think you now see people doing things differently to improve their experience, and now as many as 44% of event attendees are using event apps. As an example, Manchester City at the Eithiad Stadium now provide visitors with a service that allows access to an app which gives live camera angles from various angles of the stadium, breaking down the restrictions of seat allocation. The future for wifi can only make events even more exciting with developments such as these. ‘Connected Stadiums’ are now enabling customers to have access to one application for the entire event experience, from purchasing the ticket, to providing transport info and booking, ordering food to your seat, the list goes on!
With the introduction of High-Density wifi (HD wifi), which provides a solution for venues or areas with a high concentration of visitors using their public wifi service, upwards of 15,000 customers can enjoy a reliable and stable wifi service that isn’t impacted by the number of people at the event. We were the first to be accredited by Cisco as providers of HD wifi and now have it in The O2 Arena, Manchester City Stadium, and Twickenham Stadium. We’ll be going live across all O2 Academy locations from November 2016.
This tech is changing the way we enjoy events and I, for one, will be watching to see how venues, broadcasters, and artists take on new opportunities as there is plenty of scope to disrupt the traditional venue experience and broadcasting rights models. But in the meantime, as more venues get connected, I think the fans will be pleased!
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