Making theaters and stadiums feel more like living rooms

To lure more visitors, movie theaters and sports stadiums are offering the comforts and conveniences of home: recliners, DVR, and a wireless network.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

To lure more visitors, movie theaters and sports stadiums are transforming into your living room, with all the comforts and conveniences of home. Businessweek reports.

Kansas City’s Major League Soccer franchise, now called Sporting Kansas City, has a wait list for season tickets and has sold out 27 games in a row. That success is largely due to their reputation as one of the world’s most tech-savvy teams.

Keeping fans connected to their smartphone was central to the design of Sporting Park. Of the $200 million it cost to build, $6 million went for a high-density wireless network with 220 miles of fiber -- more than seven times the norm for a stadium its size.

This week, Sporting will unveil a revamped version of its mobile app, Uphoria, which turns your smartphone into an in-stadium DVR.

It uses Cisco Systems’ StadiumVision Mobile system, which lets fans stream live video of the game on their mobile devices from multiple camera angles and rewind the action from any point, wherever they are in the building.

Sporting plans to sell sponsorships around the video platform, but the more promising function of the app is its ability to mine and collate data from ticket sales, concessions, and merchandising. The cost has been negligible since the system uses cameras that pump content to the JumboTron and can stream video from security cameras.

The team’s owners have started Sporting Innovations to market its mobile platform and data-management system to other teams. They’ve attracted interest from more than 200 other sports franchises concerned that live games are becoming a tougher sell for fans who can see much more action and replays on TV.

Similarly, with affordable big screens and on-demand or streaming services, movie theaters are faced with declining ticket sales (1.3 billion tickets were sold last year, down from 1.5 billion a decade ago). To make up for fewer moviegoers, ticket prices have risen by a third over the past decade.

But now, AMC Theaters are experimenting with a new tactic: mimicking the home-viewing experience. Select locations across the country are being renovated with luxuriously large recliners, along with seats you can reserve ahead of time.

These renovations reportedly won’t lead to higher prices.

[Bloomberg Businessweek]

Image: Geoff Sloan via Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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