New 49ers Stadium, New Approach to Concessions

By Bob Wallace August 22, 2014

Though it should come as no surprise that the new $1.3 billion Levi’s Field in Silicon Valley, home of the San Francisco 49ers, is technology infused, what stands out as a potential model for other team venues is the team’s Stadium app, which lets fans pre-order and pre-pay for food and beverages.

Current stadium apps offer base capabilities along the lines of ticketing, seat location, and events schedules that include non-football attraction such as concerts. Team-specific apps let fans access a wide array of team content, standings, highlights, interviews, video and audio and more.

Differentiation

But where the 49ers Stadium app stands out is by improving the fan experience by making the ordering and pickup of food and drink – an often time-consuming task requiring waiting in long lines and often missing parts of the actual games – a quick simple and easy process for fans with smartphones.

You can bet the league’s and other owners’ eyes are on this app to see if they can launch something similar for their less new venues, as an addition to current apps or perhaps even as an easy upgrade that can boost sales and keep the fans in their seats for much more of the actual game – avoiding massive halftime food and beverage lines.

Note – The 49ers app can’t reserve you a sport in the restroom.

Food and Beverage

The beauty of the Mobile Food and Beverage functionality is that the fans ordering these concessions need not even leave their seats for a process that has been time consuming and therefore disruptive to the game-viewing experience.

Hungry and thirsty 49ers fans need only navigate to the ‘F&B’ section of the app and order “Express Pickup” from a concession stand nearby. They order and pay ahead of time, and can then jump into the express line to have their food prepared fresh, according to the team. Fans can also skip the trip and order “In-Seat Delivery” to have food delivered to their seats. It’s unclear if alcohol can be delivered to fans in the stands without some form of photo ID check.

Enabling Infrastructure

The technology that enables these forward-thinking capabilities is wireless. Realizing the value of communications and content access during games, the league already has stipulated a minimum capacity for all stadiums, one that the owners of the new Levis Field claim they have exceeded four-fold.

The infrastructure required is hardly intrusive. The use of wireless access points called ‘beacons’ is already widespread in NFL venues, with teams retrofitting less new stadiums without fans even noticing.

Bottom Line

So yes, the league’s newest stadium is technology-infused. No surprise there. It’s what the 49ers and teams with less new facilities do with the infrastructure that can advance and enhance the fan experience. The apps are a big piece of the solution and have been evolving (and expanding in scope of capabilities) elsewhere well before the opening of Levis Stadium.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Founder, Fast Forward Thinking LLC

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