Arriving at a modern football stadium is quite different than it was a mere decade ago. The technology that has long ago become an essential part of our lives is slowly but surely being integrated into football venues of tomorrow. The number of these innovation increases every season and they might be to blame if the average ticket prices have soared. Joking set aside, here are some of the biggest football stadium innovations that are changing the game for the spectators and players alike.
Free Wi-Fi access
No matter how thrilling a match is, the halftime leaves the spectators without much to do. Nowadays, you can go online and surf the Internet looking at other scores or you can text your friends. This is all made possible by free Wi-Fi access at stadiums.
Most fans are happy to find open access Internet connection because they expect something like that at an airport, not at their favorite club’s game. Some argue that Wi-Fi access distracts fans from the game itself but true diehard fans are there because of their club, while Internet access is there for the purpose of a “private” halftime show.
More than a bag of popcorn
Remember the time when you went to a football game with newspapers and a bag of popcorn? Those times are long gone as the rudimentary concession stand at your club’s stadium has grown into a full-scale food court like the one found at a shopping mall.
Now, there are proper restaurants on stadium grounds offering a wide selection of dishes, some exotic in nature. Trying a steak or sushi at a stadium is not what you might expect from a football game but concession stands are big business for clubs that bring in huge revenue.
If you’ve noticed that an airline you travel frequently on has installed TV screens in the backseat, expect to see the same novelty in a football stadium one day. The big display screen will become a thing of the past in the decades to come, as smaller, more personal LCD screens get installed at the back of every seat.
So far, there are only a handful of high-tech venues that are experimenting with the idea because it is far too expensive to be implemented on a bigger scale. However, as the price of screens drops and they become more compact, we could see a rise in the number of stadiums with such “smart” seats.
The first matches that were played at night took place at the end of the 19th century. It took more than a century for the first game not illuminated by candlelight to occur in the second half of the 20th century. The technology was further developed and today no football stadium is complete without professional LED sport floodlighting that turns instantly on. This means that don’t have to wait tens of minutes for the lights to go back on after a power outing which occurs more often than you might think. The players as well as benefit from more lux coming down at the field of play, as they can track the movement of the ball easier.
Touching the players
We’ve heard of the touch screen technology but modern sporting venues offer you to touch the players as well. The fans have never been closer to their idols, the stands positioned as such that a few lucky spectators can actually touch the players as they head to the locker room or ask them for an autograph. Of course, more contact between fans and players means that stadium security and the police need to be more vigilant but in general, it’s a good idea to bring football(ers) closer to the audience.
An AR photo booth
A novelty adopted by the Dallas Cowboys is gaining traction on football venues a well. Namely, an augmented reality (AR) photo booth allows you to strike a pose and take a selfie with any player or a group of players you wish. Similar immersive kiosks will become an integral part of 5G-enabled stadiums as they are being constructed in more and more cities across the globe. Not only can you snap a selfie with your favorite footballer but you get to send the high-res photo to your e-mail, share it on social media or print it on the spot on photo paper.
A bar with a view
If you have ever wondered who frequents those elevated boxes that are neither for the officials nor for the VIP guests, here’s the answer: they’re actually bars with a view. Instead of serving beer in unfashionable beer cans at drinks stands, clubs have decided to bring in extra cash through bars high up in the stands. The atmosphere inside them is not much different than the one at the local pub, the only difference being that a live game is quite literally live.
Something over the urinal as well
Leaving your seat to go to the bathroom while the two teams are still battling it out on the field is a real hassle. However, modern technology has allowed such fans to stay up to date with the latest happenings using live coverage on screens hung over urinals. They are placed in level with the height of the average person so fans can stay up to date even while using the toilet. This improvement has gone a bit too far, don’t you think?
All of the innovations listed here have changed your favorite club’s operations altogether. Modern technology allows franchisees to improve their fan policies so everyone involved, the club’s management, the players, and the fans are satisfied.