49ers use real-time tech to tackle game-day issues
The San Francisco 49ers and software company SAP have launched a real-time analytics system at Levi’s Stadium that allows the team to immediately react and solve game-day problems in parking lots, stadium entrances, concession stands, ticket scanners and retail shops.
SAP and 49ers executives said this real-time effort is the first for a U.S. sports team and venue. They plan to formally announce the system this week.
Team employees have turned a 40-yard-line suite at the Santa Clara stadium into a control room where they can monitor game-day data and instantly address problems and customer service complaints, or stave them off.
“You need to solve major problems, you need to solve minor problems, because they are important to the customer,” said Moon Javaid, the team’s vice president of strategy and analytics.
The 49ers have spent five years building their analytics operations and translating them into operational changes and fan experience upgrades. But Javaid said the team realized the data it was collecting wasn’t solving problems in the moment, from fans dealing with a long concession line to a dirty restroom.
“We really weren’t able to respond fast in real time, and for us that was a missed opportunity,” Javaid said.
The 49ers and SAP rolled out the system, called Executive Huddle, this season and have already used it to reroute fans to parking areas when other lots fill up, or to repair restroom equipment that was drawing customer complaints.
SAP has linked 600 point-of-sale terminals, ticket scanners and parking lot systems. The company also linked the stadium’s 175 customer service kiosks, which were produced by HappyOrNot Ltd. and also used by the likes of IKEA, McDonald’s and major airports.
“The challenge is different systems, closed proprietary systems,” said Mark Lehew, global vice president of sports and entertainment at SAP.
SAP can link those systems, as well as data from Levi’s Stadium vendors and service providers such as Ticketmaster, Levy Restaurants, Fanatics and VenueNext. The 49ers have started working technology openness and sharing into contracts with vendors, Javaid said.
The 49ers bought software licenses from SAP for the effort and the two partnered in the system’s creation. The team said the system was integrated into existing technology and infrastructure. SAP’s goal is to replicate the system at other venues and amusement parks. The team has been showing it to business and technology partners and other teams and companies.