The experience of being in a football stadium, the noise, the anticipation, the connection with fans as well as the rival crowd, can often be as important as the event itself and sometimes more.
The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded many of us how we lack the pleasure of watching live sports surrounded by other thrill seekers.
With sporting events attracting record crowds, the safety and comfort of fans remains a top priority for organisers.
Here are just a few of the practices that are beginning to be implemented or considered around the world:
In the Parking Lot
For many fans, a big part of the game day experience starts in the parking lot. Network surveillance cameras can provide a comprehensive view of the entire area.
With the addition of audio and video analytics, security staff can be alerted when the pre-event party is larger than desired or exhibits any anti-social behaviour that could make other fans feel uncomfortable, posing a risk to safety physical integrity of fans.
Staff would have the option of physically intervening or broadcasting a warning to revelers before events got out of hand.
At the Gate
Even before the pandemic, many stadiums were switching to e-ticketing, saving the cost of printing and mailing their tickets to fans. While the loss of souvenir ticket stubs may disappoint some, scanning a QR Code on your smartphone is much more hygienic, sustainable and practical.
Stadiums are also looking to smartphones to help them organise stadium entry times. Instead of the traditional stampede when the gates open, the organisation can notify fans through an app about the time and access gate.
Inside the Stadium
To keep fans and staff safe, stadiums are investing in contactless and cashless operations. To avoid crowded halls with fans lining up to buy food and souvenirs, the solution is to adopt their own version of the “click and collect” model.
Instead of gathering to eat in the food halls, fans place and pay for their orders via their smartphones and are notified when they are ready for pick up. Once they take the order, the new norm will be to return to their seats to eat.