Technology is the pinnacle of the advancement and growth of sports. From the first patents of a football to the invention of instant replay, we’ve seen technology catapult sports to be a frenzy of fan entertainment.
While most people focus on the technological developments of items on the field or court…some of the biggest developments in sports have come in the hallowed grounds we visit on game days. The home stadiums that we visit each game day to cheer on our favorite teams.
$64Bn is spent each year by brands to sponsor their local teams, most of these dollars are investments in reaching fans inside the stadium to try and capture some of the magic of gameday and channel it toward brand loyalty.
Today, I’m diving into the advancement of stadium advertisement and how technology has helped evolve it from stadium advertising boards into an immersive brand experience and captive audience.
What is stadium advertising?
Stadium advertising, simply put, is the action of investing in advertising assets at sports stadiums. I know, a pretty boring assessment. Think stairway ads, concourse signage, arena advertisements…all to use a venue to showcase branding in arenas.
Let’s dive deeper into the crux of why brands invest so much money into our stadiums. Sports have the innate ability to tap into our passions as humans. Much like religions, our favorite sports teams become a community that we cannot live without. We live by the wins, the moments, and the people involved in the history of the teams we choose.
The community that sports creates brings immense value to sponsorships associated with it. When they advertise their company or businesses at the event, they reach potential customers through repetitive advertising.
Teams become influencers to fans. If the proper community is created by the team there is the ability for the brand to piggyback off that trust to help drive sales from those consumers.
The largest benefit of advertising inside stadiums is that you become a part of that gameday entertainment as a brand. The stadium is ground zero for fandom. It is where the games are played, the fans cheer, and we as fans build our fandom.
Many times as well, a stadium is at the heart of a community. It is downtown many times, centrally placed for easy access.
This from a geographic standpoint helps us target the fans we want to reach. If 30,000 – 100,000 football fans all make the weekly pilgrimage to a football stadium, we can reach a large, captivated audience all at once with a high amount of relevance in one day with a stadium ad.
So why buy stadium advertising at sporting events? Well, it’s an efficient & easy way to reach a target audience and build brand exposure. This is why businesses spend so much money each year on stadium advertising boards.
Really to understand the future of stadium advertising, we have to look back at where sports stadium advertising began.
Early stadium advertising can be seen at parks like Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. In 1930, a scoreboard was added to the stadium, which opened a new opportunity for the team to sell advertising in this space.
Even back then, companies understood how powerful that space was in the stadium to add their advertising. They knew fan eyeballs would gravitate there throughout the game driving awareness & connection with the brand.
As time went on, our scoreboards got larger and more digital. Videoboards replaced the static scoreboards to draw fan eyeballs to the space.
As the saying goes, brand dollars follow fan eyeballs. Where there were replays, stats, and information…that is where businesses wanted to invest their advertising dollars over the entire season.
Companies or industries that benefit the most from advertising in stadiums
Currently, there are 63,000+ brands across 32 industry verticals that spend money on in-stadium advertising. Professional and college football, basketball, and hockey games.
As I stated before the biggest benefit to in-stadium advertising comes with tapping into the community that the team has built. But really, it is about tapping into the trust that the team has built with their fans.
With this, the industries that benefit the most from in-stadium advertising are the ones that benefit the most from building trust.
Now you could argue that ALL businesses benefit from building trust with their customers. And you would be correct. This is why over 63,000 brands invest their dollars into stadium advertising.
BUT, the labels that benefit the most are the ones that have longer sales cycles in their industry. These are the ones that don’t expect an instant sale, ones that either has a high price or high switching costs in their industry.
With the above, you would imagine that banks, healthcare, and car dealerships would be the top spenders in-stadium advertising.
And you would be correct, In the NFL those categories spend over $50 Million each to reach fans on game day and help build that trust.
So ALL brands benefit from investing in-stadium advertising, but the categories that benefit the most are ones that rely heavily on trust to get sales.
How technology has changed arena advertising for sports fans
Technology has affected stadium advertising in the same way that technology has affected the advertising industry in general. It has shifted it to be more trackable, measurable, and interactive.
Gone are the days in advertising where “being seen” is enough. Today businesses are looking to invest in advertising outlets that drive participation. Ways that allow them to connect with fans in measurable & meaningful ways. Technology offers a great opportunity to broadcast a marketing message to audiences. There are many options and millions of dollars at play for advertisers.
As advertising technology has shifted, stadium advertising has been slow to tag along with it.
How SQWAD is using technology for stadium advertising
SQWAD is helping teams create more valuable stadium advertising assets through our engaging digital activations. We help brands drive participation with the fans to make sure they stand out on game day and are remembered long after the fan has left the stadium.
By replacing static scoreboard logos with promotions like scoreboard trivia, virtual races, and other advertising that pull in the crowd you can create stadium advertising assets that are more valuable than static signage.
For example, with our prediction activation, our clients have been able to grab fans’ attention while sending over 2.3 Million sponsor offers out to fans via email for easy redemption.
These offers lead directly to sales, with 74% of the email sent being opened by fans and 56% used in the sponsor’s store or online.
With this new technology captivating fans’ phones, you can bring exciting new inventory to your sponsors and a brand new experience to your game day.
Final thoughts about stadium ads
When you break it all down, stadium advertising’s value focuses on the trust your team has built with your fans.
The advertising assets are just the vessel in which the brands you sell to are able to tap into the trust you have built.
Technology, through assets like SQWAD, helps your team create a more efficient vessel. One that is more measurable and more engaging in its path to harness that trust and transfer a part of it to your brands.
In stadium advertising technology at its core is on a never-ending mission to create more efficiency in that transfer. The more efficient it is, the more valuable your stadium advertising assets become to brands.
Push for efficiency, you will win.