Investing in the Fan Experience

Digital Signage for the Indiana Pacers by ANC
(Image credit: ANC)

To compete with other sports venues and fans' ever-advancing home entertainment systems, sports venue executives are investing in audiovisual solutions. The new 2018 Market Opportunity Analysis Report (MOAR) focused on sports venues—produced by AVIXA—investigates the opportunities and challenges for providers of pro AV solutions and technologies in this space.

"This is a market to watch. Venues and events are expected to produce $27.7 billion in pro AV revenue in 2018 worldwide and grow at a healthy rate in the next five years, according to our Industry Outlook and Trends Report (IOTA)," said Sean Wargo, senior director of market intelligence, AVIXA. "It's an exciting space for AV providers to work in. Stadium executives are determined to bring the wow factor to outdo other stadiums, so they are motivated to embrace advanced technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and interactive displays. However, their investments in standard AV technologies, such as lighting, audio, and security and surveillance, take priority."

MOAR: Sports Venues explores sports fans' preferences when attending competitions, including the role technology plays in creating exceptional experiences. The report also examines the viewpoint of the purchasers of AV solutions at sports venue management companies, as well as the pro AV systems integrators that work in the market.

Competition from the at-home viewing experience drives AV innovation in venues. The rise of home systems with HD, UHD, and 4K video means the venue experience has a rival. A seat with a view of the playing field is insufficient to put fans in seats when 85 percent of households worldwide have flat-panel TVs. Fans want an electrifying atmosphere, with the entertainment beginning even before they've passed through the gates. They don't want to miss any action when they leave their seats for refreshments. These expectations are met with innovative AV, and venue executives are exploring the cutting edge of technology to further enhance their space.

Nearly 100 percent of venue executives surveyed plan to upgrade their audio equipment in the next 12 months. Audio investments are likely intended to ensure fans can hear announcers during the game, which fans listed as its most important AV role. Video displays and video projection are the next most popular AV purchases. Survey results indicate investments in digital signage will increase the most significantly over the next year.

The AV provider survey revealed the sheer scope of the project budget attracts competitive pressure, but it's also a challenge to ensure the venue gets what is needed to create a compelling fan experience. Nonetheless, between market expansion, unmet needs, and the proportion of end users utilizing competitive RFPs to find new suppliers, there is plenty of room for smart, well-informed companies to thrive in this space.

MOAR: Sports Venues is the fifth in a series of market studies, with a final report on higher education forthcoming. The hospitality, retail, corporate, and transportation reports were published earlier this year. The sports venues report is available for purchase at AVIXA members are eligible for discounts.

The AVNetwork staff are storytellers focused on the professional audiovisual and technology industry. Their mission is to keep readers up-to-date on the latest AV/IT industry and product news, emerging trends, and inspiring installations.