Digital Signage is Changing the Play

By: Jonathan Priestley

Display technology is making a splash in the sports arena. For fans and sports teams alike, the incorporation of interactive touch displays opens a new world of possibilities – one in which fans are more immersed in the game and coaches can make more informed decisions on the field. This technology is creating a more engaging experience for fans, and sports teams are leveraging the unique features to host meetings, analyze plays and track player progress. With digital displays in place a greater connection between fans and their teams is being made.

The On-Field Experience from the Bleachers

Whether it’s a JumboTron showing in-depth replays of the game or food court signage at the various vendors, digital signage has become commonplace in sporting stadiums across the U.S. Fans today want an immersive, engaging and hands-on experience that will keep them returning to the stadium time and time again. Particularly important for younger generations who have adapted interactive technologies, the sports industry as a whole needs to ensure that they are creating a stimulating live experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Teams like the Atlanta Falcons are already taking this cue by incorporating a 360-degree, 63,000 square foot HD Video Halo Board surrounding its stadium. It will include more than 2,000 video displays that will bring fans closer to the excitement on the field and create a ‘smarter’ arena that gives venue operators greater control with everything from security to energy efficiency. Other stadiums, such as the one the Sacramento Kings use, are using technology to engage fans even before opening its doors. Prior to its new stadium debut, the team is allowing season ticket holders and new buyers the opportunity to utilize Oculus Rift glasses for 3D tours of the center’s plaza, concourse and arena bowl.

In the future, we might even see stadiums incorporating this technology to offer fans a more personalized experience. Imagine having the ability to select a specific player on an interactive screen right from your stadium seat and instantly gain access to their recent highlights and stats with display technology. By offering a more dynamic experience teams are building a greater connection with their fans.

Call it Like You See it Coach

The use of display technology is also expanding beyond the bleachers and assisting coaches to make better calls. Plays on the field can happen in an instant so it’s hard to catch what went right or wrong. While recordings are helpful, interactive technology takes plays to the next level. Coaches now have the ability to instantly catalog plays, strategize the next play and even make better decisions directly from the display’s interface.

The Seahawks are using interactive technology in the virtual reality setting. The team is taking part in a trial-run of a virtual reality system in which a headset gives players a virtual reality view of the field, presenting real game situations that will increase performance and player development. Teams will be able to develop a number of defensive plays to test and can train players to become more familiar and adaptable to various alignments. The technology can then easily sync with a digital display to allow coaches to highlight what plays team members need to improve upon and which plays need to be cut because they aren’t running as they should.

The ability to track data and understand where strengths and weaknesses lie with the team and with individual players, allows coaches to better tailor their plays, know what field tactics to train harder on, and make more appropriate calls throughout the duration of the game.

Hard-Hitting Tech

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletes are among five occupations that have more than 1,000 injuries per 10,000 workers. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell the severity of an injury and players are notorious for brushing off the pain to avoid sitting out the next play or the game all together. While interactive technology cannot predict the long-term impact or severity of an injury, it gives coaches and athletic trainers the opportunity to hone in on plays where a player was injured. Determining if a hit was much harder than what the player is leading on or if a certain angle had a more negative impact than was noted initially allows better monitoring overall and protects players from possibly life-altering injuries.

As more stadiums and sports officials look to increase engagement and enhance the way games are viewed and played, interactive technology will play a critical role. Whether it‘s to impress and excite fans from the moment they step into a stadium or understand how to improve a play and target critical hits, technology is changing the game. In the years to come, we will see more stadiums implementing interactive technology to create a more comprehensive experience for both the die-hard fans and the dedicated teams.

Jonathan Priestly is the Vice President of Global Marketing for MultiTaction, a leading developer of interactive display systems.