Stadium technology wants listed

Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium could boast technology that enhances punters' experience of the venue at little or no cost, the company running the stadium says.

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) yesterday released the results of a survey it ran in June and July, which received 901 responses.

It showed 94% of prospective punters wanted the ability to keep up with games on television screens when they had to leave their seats for food or drink.

They were keen to add to the experience of a trip to the stadium through mobile phone applications, and were obviously comfortable buying tickets over the internet, with 80% preferring to buy online, compared with just 12% preferring the more traditional box office.

DVML development director Darren Burden said the information gathered was valuable, as it came both from a stadium open day earlier this year, and through the stadium's Facebook page, so the respondents were likely to be future patrons.

Asked how DVML would provide the television screens prospective visitors clearly wanted when they had to leave a game to buy food, Mr Burden said there was money in the stadium budget for 120 screens.

"In an ideal world, we would have more," he said, but it was enough to provide screens in concourses around the stadium.

"It's a question of where to put them," he said, and the survey figures showed the best place was where food and beverage was being sold.

"We don't have hundreds, but we have a significant number.

It's a matter of getting them in the right place."

While 52% of people thought in-seat consoles were a good idea, the reality was people were becoming more reliant on smart-phone applications for action replays, rather than a screen "you can't take anywhere"The idea of using text messaging to add to the experience was something DVML had picked up from other stadiums around the world, that allowed people to play a part in what was going on.

The survey showed, for instance, that 49% would use text messages to vote for player of the game.

"It's something different you don't get when you're watching at home."

It could also be provided without a financial outlay, as revenue streams could come from the texting.

Mr Burden said he had expected people to want to use cash for ticket purchases, but "the reality is a lot of people don't".

"That's something we can talk to prospective ticketing providers about."

Asked about the possible financial outlay for the sort of technologies he was discussing, Mr Burden said there was little or none.

"All of the technology we're looking at is either included in the stadium build through the fittings budget, or stand-alone items with revenue associated that pays for them."

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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