SBJ/January 9-15, 2012/Facilities

Eagles look at expanding mobile ordering after big sales jump

Don Muret
The Philadelphia Eagles are considering expanding their mobile concessions ordering system next season after a limited test at Lincoln Financial Field produced a 56 percent increase in the average sale of food and drink.

The Eagles signed a deal in August with Texas tech vendor Bypass Lane, the first NFL team to do so, and made its mobile technology available for 8,000 club seats.

“We were really pleased with the solution,” said Tim McDermott, the Eagles’ senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “From a technology standpoint, the application works well and it provides added value for the club-seat holder.”
The free application, co-branded with the Eagles and Bypass marks, could be downloaded by users of iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices.

Club-seat holders set up accounts with their credit card information and identified their seat locations before ordering food and drink. After placing orders, they received a confirmation receipt and a message with the approximate time of delivery to their seats.

There were no customer transaction fees for using the system, and food and drink prices were the same on the application as they were at the concession stand.

The Eagles plan to survey club-seat holders over the next few weeks to find out why there was such a big leap in the average transaction using Bypass Lane. It could be that early adopters of the technology simply spent more money on concessions, matching a trend for fans using credit cards instead of cash at the concession stand, or maybe club-seat holders were ordering items for multiple people at one time, McDermott said.

Late in the regular season, the Eagles added merchandise to the Bypass Lane application. Those orders were filled separately from a club-level retail location. The Eagles operate retail in-house; Aramark runs the stadium’s food operation.

The Eagles have the ability to expand Bypass Lane to other parts of the stadium, McDermott said, thanks to the midseason installation of a distributed antenna system at Lincoln Financial Field. Verizon Wireless installed the system to increase bandwidth for its 4G users. At this point, the Eagles “need to get AT&T up and running” on a distributed antenna system before expanding mobile ordering outside of premium-seat areas, McDermott said. The two carriers will resolve that issue, he said.

“It plays hand in hand with rolling out en masse with Bypass” for 2012, McDermott said. “We need to make sure fans can access it and have a good experience.”

The Eagles, in conjunction with YinzCam, a developer of team-branded applications with real-time statistics, live camera angles and social media platforms, used the distributed antenna system to test streaming video of in-stadium replays and the NFL RedZone Channel on 4G devices during the club’s final three home games.

The Ravens conducted similar tests with YinzCam late in the season using their new distributed antenna system at M&T Bank Stadium.

Till now, video streaming has been available for mobile devices only through Wi-Fi systems, said Priya Narasimhan, founder and CEO of YinzCam, which has produced mobile apps for 14 NFL teams.

Gameday Merchandising worked the 2010 NBA All-Star Jam Session in Dallas.
Photo by: GAMEDAY MERCHANDISING
Moving forward, the Eagles see 4G technology advancing to the point where all high-tech amenities, including Bypass Lane, are run through the team application on a fan’s smartphone or tablet, eliminating the need to establish a Wi-Fi connection, McDermott said.

GAME FACE: The NBA signed Gameday Merchandising to a three-year deal to run retail operations at league events, starting with the All-Star Game at Amway Center on Feb. 26.

Gameday’s contract in Orlando covers the Magic’s arena, a 10,000-square-foot store inside the NBA All-Star Jam Session at the Orange County Convention Center and kiosks at four hotels in town.

The Jam Session store will expand to feature a new layout and bigger and better fixtures to attract fans, said Brian Keegan, the NBA’s vice president of retail and marketing development.

Gameday principals have worked eight NBA All-Star Weekends, including the 2010 event in Dallas.

Besides the next three All-Star Games, Gameday’s merchandise deal extends to the WNBA All-Star Game, the NBA Summer League and the draft.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

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