Maximising visitor engagement is one of the most important goals of major sports venues and will become even more necessary as stadiums are held to limited capacity for the foreseeable future. Stadiums may be limited by the number of fans they can hold, but a quality visitor experience remains essential to strengthening patronage, encouraging recurring attendance and driving food and beverage sales – these are the objectives that led AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, to recently upgrade its entire digital display network with more than 1,000 LG commercial displays.
According to Cowboys Chief Information Officer Matt Messick, the stadium was looking to introduce powerful visual stimuli to engage fans. “One of the biggest things stadiums can do to freshen up digital content and reinvigorate visitors’ excitement is to upgrade the displays themselves,” he said. “Through this technological renovation, which required no major construction, we’ve created a new environment where guests begin to take in our content the moment they enter the building. For evidence of its effectiveness, we only have to look to the concession stands. The new ribbon-style digital menu boards display enticing images and videos of available food items, which resulted in an immediate 15 percent increase in food sales for events prior to COVID-19.”
The concession stands now feature multiple 55-inch narrow-bezel LG displays aligned side-by-side that can be operated individually or together to present imagery that flows cleanly from one display to the next. This is made possible by the newly implemented IPTV content distribution system that provides real-time and automated remote control of the entire display network, and every individual display.
For even greater impact, several areas now feature large scale video walls comprising multiple LG displays, including a 5×5 wall in an upper concourse bar that uses 25 55-inch displays, and walkway areas with three 75-inch displays mounted vertically side-by-side to use as a video wall or as three separate displays.
“Using an IPTV system gives us a single control point where we can access every TV, initiate section-based or stadium-wide programs, and break multi-TV displays into sections,” Messick added. “This capability enables granular control of sponsor messaging and provides highly customizable engagement schemes, including trigger-based takeovers that blanket the entire stadium in a single sponsor’s ad campaign for a brief time.”
The ability to automate trigger-based display takeovers, such as a stadium-wide celebratory beer ad when a touchdown is scored, provide major sponsors incredibly valuable moments where every visitor is surrounded by their advertising. In fact, the stadium created all new assets for the marketing department to sell based on the new displays and new IPTV capabilities.
The IPTV system greatly simplifies daily operations, too, as the entire network can be powered on and off with a single button. Staff still walks through the stadium to ensure each display is showing the right content, but any required fixes can be completed with greater ease and efficiency than the previous system.
“We’ve also improved our content creation options, and we can now push the same content to every digital display in the stadium,” Messick continued. “We can dynamically change the look and feel of all of our concourses to create an end-to-end experience, whether it’s for a football game, rodeo, concert or a supercross event. What’s more is that during any event we can choose specific displays to advertise upcoming events, so the cross-promotional opportunities are huge.”
The visual change from a 55-inch 1080p model with 2.5 inch bezels to a virtually borderless 55-inch 4K display is immediately impactful, and is necessary to adequately engage today’s demanding stadium audience.
The new LG displays range from 55- to 86-inches, with some 75-inch and 86-inch models mounted vertically to allow multiple pieces of content to be shown on a single screen using a windowed layout. With these displays, the stadium can place ads, live game feeds, team stats and more all on a single display that attracts long-lasting attention from passersby. To simplify operations even further, all of the current content is designed in the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, so that every piece of content fits every display and can be shown wherever it is desired.
The instant control afforded by the IPTV system also benefits emergency and crowd control messages, such as storm warning or game delays, because operators can push the message to every digital display at a moment’s notice.
“With this impressive digital upgrade, the Cowboys and AT&T Stadium have proven that expensive structural renovations are not necessary to create a new fan experience and increase engagement and purchases,” said Tom Bingham, Senior Vertical Solutions Manager, LG Business Solutions USA.