Investing in a smart stadium is going beyond the physical structure, it is about building a business model to satisfy the fan experience. The stadium is not only the place to have sporting events, we must also adapt it to other functionalities. The term “Smart” does not refer only to technology, it also involves the use of resources and improvement of experiences.
Stadiums are the heart of soccer teams. It is the temple, the home, the meeting point for thousands of fans and fans. It is the iconic space: despite the fact that several clubs move, they are brands as strong as the shield or sports history. Technological advances, changes in consumption, force them to update. It is no longer enough to just offer a space to enjoy the live. The viewer demands more. Those who do not comply will be left out.
“The stadium is the heart of the business,” says Javier Doña, Stadium Consultant and Professor of the MBA in Sport Management at the Real Madrid Business School. “From him the project grows, and from there you can project the values of your club. Based on the image you show the sponsors will want to associate with you or not, you will grow on social networks or not. The stadium is the image of the club in the market” he adds.
That change in trend is combined in a kind of perfect storm with the great change in sports consumption: the transmissions are increasingly professional, they offer increasingly immersive experiences, and fans can access a wonderful product from the comfort of their armchair favorite. Two ESPN polls reflect this in metrics: In 1998, 54% of sports fans said they would rather watch the game at the stadium than at home. Twenty years later, only 29% of those surveyed said they preferred to be live. The sport created its own competition with developments in broadcasting.