What does the stadium of the future have to be able to do?

Digitales Stadionerlebnis

The study

The technological development of stadiums and sports arenas was hardly able to keep pace with the rapidly growing commercialisation of sports over the last few years. Although many German sports venues are still among the most state of the art in Europe, they do very little to assist visitors of sports events technologically in the satisfaction of their most basic needs prior to, during and after the game. Searching for a parking space, finding your way around in the stadium, purchasing food and beverages, sometimes even watching the game itself are frequently challenges that considerably impede the fun factor and the experience of a trip to the stadium. And this at times when virtually every fan has a smartphone and it would be easy to use a range of user-oriented digital offers to address each visitor individually and make life at the stadium easier for him. The good news: “Smart stadiums” are being planned – in some places, implementation has even started – and many fans are definitely waiting for them impatiently.

Facit Digital has identified the smart services really seen as useful by fans in an online study among 1,000 German sports fans. This target group was presented with a digital service offer based on a fictitious mobile app with 25 different features as a verbal concept for rating.

Entertainment by the sports event, comfort through the app

The results of the study confirm our assumption that most fans welcome very much certain digital services involved in a stadium trip and sometimes already expect them. More than two-thirds (68%) of the respondents stated they would use the app described in the study. Among regular visitors of stadiums of the German premier league, no less than 77% said so; among fans who specify that they’d like to try out new apps and do so frequently (enthusiastic app users), it’s even 90%!

The Kano analysis was used to determine which of the 25 app features are seen as basic features, performance features and exciting features – and which features were dispensable (neutral). Basic features are taken for granted by the fans. Performance features induce satisfaction when they exist and dissatisfaction when they’re missing. Exciting features offer unexpected value but their existence is not automatically assumed.

With respect to the stadium app, the analysis showed that especially those app features that increase comfort and convenience in and around the stadium and make the action on the playing field more transparent are classified as particularly relevant by fans, whereas gamification and/or social media offerings are largely seen as dispensable. This means the fans desire an app that makes the stadium experience more enjoyable but does not distract them (and the other fans) from the actual sports event.

The top 5 of digital services in and around the stadium making the greatest contribution to satisfaction in the eyes of the fans:

  • An option for reserving a parking space near the stadium for a fee and using a special access road/driveway with shorter waiting times
  • Mobile ticketing: Saving the ticket on the smartphone and checking in automated (shorter waiting times)
  • Access to a fast and stable WiFi connection
  • Ordering beverages and/or snacks to your own seat during the game

Watching repeats of scenes from different perspectives

A total of 56% of respondents believe that a trip to the stadium would be more attractive to them personally if the app described were available to them. In the target age group of 16 to 24-year-olds, the portion rises to 69%. Among app enthusiasts, even 77% expect heightened attractiveness. In addition, such an app would have the potential of motivating people who previously didn’t have much interest in taking a trip to the stadium: For nearly two-thirds (63%) of those interested in football who had never gone to a stadium, the attractiveness of a trip to the stadium would be increased by the app; significantly so for just under one-quarter (24%) of them.

The app would very likely have a positive impact on the willingness of fans at the stadium to consume: 38% of the fans stated that they would probably spend more money while attending a match if they had the app. In the target group of 16- to 24-year-olds, this proportion rises to 45%, and among app enthusiasts, no fewer than 63% expect an increase in their spending.


More fun, more comfort and more consumption at the stadium through digital services
Well-conceived and user-centred digital services in and around the stadium not only boost the attractiveness of live attendance of premier league football matches and ice hockey games, they also have the potential to lure fans into the stadiums and increase their willingness to consume. The “smart stadium” and the digital services it brings will therefore not only heighten the experience of the fans but offer the organisers, marketers and sponsors of sporting events an enormous potential for approaching consumers.

The relevance of the study results goes far beyond the area of sports and the target group examined in the survey. In many other segments and areas, POS, POI or points of contact with consumers can be made more attractive by means of a range of useful, user-oriented digital offers, thus increasing the propensity to consume. In the brick-and-mortar retail sector, for instance, in the catering industry, in tourism/transport, at cultural events, trade fairs, etc., a range of similar digital offers and services is conceivable. 

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Download study here