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49ers Feel They Are "Beginning To Shift Fan Behavior" With New VenueNext App

49ers Feel They Are "Beginning To Shift Fan Behavior" With New VenueNext App

By Abraham D. Madkour, Executive Editor

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Paul said ticketing, wayfinding and food have been the app's most-used features
VenueNext is one of the most buzzed-about mobile apps in sports since being introduced at Levi’s Stadium by the 49ers this season, and 49ers COO Al Guido and VenueNext Founder & CEO John Paul showcased how the technology has been integrated into all areas of their business during a presentation at the ’15 Veritix Ticketing Symposium in Santa Clara, Calif. Guido started by outlining the team’s philosophy when planning Levi’s Stadium and building a platform based on multiple streams of information. “We talked about being on the attack," he said. "We can attack replays, we can attack content. Just looking at the NBA game [Tuesday] night. Why does everyone at home get to hear the Steve Kerr interview or David Blatt's huddle talk, but no one in the venue gets to hear that? That didn’t make a lot of sense to us, so we felt, why shouldn’t you get unique content in the venue, while also offering everything you get at home? In addition, why shouldn’t we be able to tell you where to park and how to park and other useful information?" Paul outlined the goal of the interface: “How do we take a lot of the pain of going to a live event away, but [do it by] using a lot of the systems that already exist in the stadium, and base it on the phone?” He talked about integrating various platforms -- ticketing, security, food and beverage/retail, smart notifications, wayfinding, loyalty programs, operational component -- to a single app to bring utility to the fan. One example: using smart notifications for food and beverage during games. Paul: “We could look at flow in certain sections and send a note to a section saying, ‘A hot dog and a beer is 4 minutes away, why don't you order now?’ Or we could find another section and send a notice: ‘Are you sure you want to order now, it’s 40 minutes?’”

Guido said the 49ers have spent a lot of time
discussing in-app sponsorship opportunities
WHAT’S AHEAD: Guido said a lot of time is spent discussing sponsorship opportunities within the app: “There are debates about what the mobile sponsorship looks like, and could it be more valuable than naming rights? We don’t know, but it’s an interesting debate. How valuable is that data in the future?” The team is also looking at what other elements could be added to the experience. “Could there be dynamic food and beverage pricing?” Guido wondered. “Could we offer a single-game user … a discounted ticket to a future game? So we want to continue to build on the platform that is already built for us. We are really beginning to shift the fan behavior in our building.” KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM YEAR ONE: Paul: “We thought that video replays would be the centerpiece of the app. But, maybe because of the two big boards in the building (it wasn’t). But ticketing, wayfinding and food and beverage were the killer ones.” Guido agreed about the use of replays and game video and said a focus going forward would be “how does the content change in the app?”

KEY NUMBERS FROM THE 49ERS APP:
* 203,925: Unique users
* 65%: Percentage of season-ticket holder accounts that have linked their tickets to the app.
* $802,791: Revenue for food, beverage and merchandise related to in-seat and express delivery. Guido: “We are seeing a massive increase in in-seat delivery.”
* 94,741: Mobile tickets and parking passes scanned through the app
* $293,035: Parking revenue from the app.

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