First, ticket buying went digital. Over time, more and more players entered the events tech industry, developing new technologies to lessen the burden on consumers and make it easier to access our favorite events.
The sports industry is using the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the consumer experience.
Ticketing platforms are bolstering their apps to make event searches and purchases more efficient. Venues are now equipt with technologies to make event attendance both convenient and appealing.
Thanks to AI and IoT, the online events industry is becoming far less tedious to navigate. In the sports events industry, in particular, AI and IoT are making huge improvements for consumers. Here’s how they’re doing it.
Engaging Fans with Chatbots
Several players in the sporting events industry are experimenting with AI in the form of chatbots designed to better serve the customer while drawing more people into the game. E-commerce tools — including ticketing platforms — are using AI chatbots to engage with consumers and provide support for events.
Through Facebook Messenger and iMessage, companies are using chatbots to have human-like conversations with fans and users about their favorite events and teams. Chatbot messages and helps are becoming more sophisticated, and engaging than email. As a result, the bots are becoming increasingly popular in the ticketing industry.
The use of chatbots doesn’t stop there — once fans are at the game — they can continue to engage with chatbots. Wimbledon uses a chatbot called Ask Fred which is a cognitive assistant for event attendees. The virtual assistant, which is enabled by IBM’s Watson technology, uses AI to interact with Wimbledon attendees and answer event-related questions about anything from souvenir shopping to dining spots. If Ask Fred is well-liked and successful, sports arenas around the world could adopt similar in-game AI technology in the future.
Improving the Search Experience
In addition to making the most of chatbots on Facebook Messenger and iMessage, companies are improving the online search experience by integrating AI into their apps. The sports ticketing app Gametime, for example, applies the concept of virtual reality in their virtual seating chart, allowing users to check out the view from their seats before purchasing. Such ticketing apps can then use AI and machine learning to remember customer seating preferences and make relevant suggestions for subsequent games.
Apps are also using AI technologies to identify fans who haven’t been to a game in a while and to offer them ticket deals based on information about their favorite players and teams. This kind of targeting isn’t only a great marketing strategy, but it also improves the search process for fans, who, rather than having to sift through heaps of options, are immediately presented with games and prices that appeal to their interests.
Making Stadiums Smarter
As smart stadiums enter the scene to draw fans off their couches and into the arena, the stadium itself has embraced the Internet of Things. An increasing number of stadiums are adding cameras, sensors, and digital signs, connecting them to networks and servers to provide real-time information for fans.
IoT technology in California’s Golden1 Center helps attendees find their friends and provides fans with information ranging from parking spots to bathroom lines to the number of hot dogs available. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara has installed over two thousand battery-powered beacons from Aruba Networks to identify the location of fans. This information then integrates with the team’s mobile app, which helps attendees find their seats, order food to their seats, and more.
As part of the evolution of smart stadiums, Intel’s True View technology incorporates augmented reality into the game experience. While the integration of technology in stadiums is still in process, True View would connect cameras on the field to AR headsets that allow attendees to zoom in on their favorite players and watch the game from a variety of angles. The various cameras and beacons connected throughout the stadium for the purposes of fan entertainment and convenience are turning stadiums into one big IoT platform.
From searching for a match to purchasing the tickets to attending the game itself, AI and IoT are disrupting the sports events industry from start to finish. At a time when many fans prefer to watch the game from the comfort of their homes, stadiums and teams are working hard to adopt engaging new technologies that draw fans back to the arena for live experiences. For us fans, the lure of these technologies makes event attendance more appealing than ever before.