Report: The future for sports venues

Emerging technologies, aesthetic ideas, virtual reality and ‘fan engagement’ were among the topics under discussion at the Sports Venue Technology Summit. Organised by trade association SVG Europe, the conference took place at the Amsterdam RAI during ISE 2017.

SVG Europe organises between 10-12 summits each year, and the Sports Venue Technology Stadium – which, as its name suggests, examines new technologies in the
stadium environment and their impact on fans – is now an established part of its schedule.

This year the focus was on new techniques to boost fan engagement, and the latest architectural and design concepts affecting stadium development. Once again, Roland
Hemming from RH Consulting, co-produced the summit with SVG Europe, and chaired the day’s proceedings.

The summit commenced with a keynote from Florian Rotberg, founder of Invidis Consulting. In a fast-moving presentation, Rotberg examined the current outlook for digital signage in sports venues, as well as the challenges involved in managing related content, engaging with consumers on mobile devices, and achieving positive ROI.

Examining the benefits of sophisticated player analytics and the key objectives involved with fan engagement – both in the venue and around the globe – was Stuart Fisher, CTO of UK football club Derby County FC. Over the last few years, the club has made
huge progress in expanding its use of cutting-edge technology, with a particular focus on creating new content to augment existing ‘traditional’ broadcast outlets. Fisher reflected on many of these achievements – and looked ahead to some future plans – in his address.

As with Derby FC, a new generation of integrated broadcast production tools is allowing many other clubs and federations to create their own content – ranging from interviews to long-format documentaries.

The possibilities of these solutions were the subject of a lively debate featuring Ben
Davison (Avid), Tim Felstead (SAM) and Will Waters (NewTek). VR, AR and MR are hugely exciting technologies – and hold particular promise for deepening fan
engagement – but at present the business model to support them is still taking shape.
In a panel dedicated to VR, this moment of transition was analysed by Jean-Luc Affaticati (Digit Arena), Dave Elliott (Holovis), Pieter Van Leugenhagen (Yondr) and Samuel Westberg (LiveLike).

Closing out the day – which also included a case study on audio production at the
opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, and a presentation by
Supponor’s Charlie Marshall  – was a discussion on the impact of new technology
on stadium design, featuring contributions from Kronman Associates’ Bob Kronman and Populous’ Philip Johnson.

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