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19 November 2015

HOK Is Part of New IBM Global Consortium Creating the Fan Experience of the Future

Mercedes-Benz Stadium Field

IBM has announced the formation of the Sports and Entertainment Global Consortium, which was created to design, build and deliver the ultimate fan experience.

The consortium brings together IBM’s world-leading information technology and recognized leaders in construction and design, network infrastructure, wireless and telecommunications. Collectively, consortium members already are working with more than 250 of the world’s top venues. The sports consortium offers clients an integrated capability spanning design, strategy, technology and data to drive growth and profit across all sports enterprise businesses.

Founding members of the consortium include:

  • Architecture and Design: HOK
  • Construction and Design: AECOM, Whiting Turner
  • Infrastructure Technology, Software and IPTV: Alcatel-Lucent, Anixter, CommScope, Corning, Juniper Networks, Ruckus Wireless, Schneider Electric, Smarter Risk, Tellabs, Ucopia, Zebra Technologies, YinzCam, Zhone
  • Communications Solutions Providers: AT&T, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Level 3, Zayo
  • Fan Experience Consulting & Data Management Integration: IBM

In many cases, sports enterprises and venues have yet to incorporate digital elements that are essential in providing a seamless year-round experience that will delight their passive, active or high-value fans. At present, these enterprises must act as their own general contractors to assemble an extensive list of capabilities and integrate a complex stack of technology and business components.

According to consulting firm A.T. Kearney, sports annually generate nearly $700 billion around the world and the market is growing faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in nearly every country. The modern venue setting demands a sophisticated technology and wireless environment.

Brad Schrock, AIA,  director of Sports + Recreation + Entertainment design“We look forward to working with IBM and our clients to integrate new and emerging technologies into the design of stadiums, ballparks and arenas to create a more memorable experience for fans”, said Brad Schrock, AIA, a director of Sports + Recreation + Entertainment design at HOK. “Fans will be able to use mobile devices to interact with the venue and the team, which will create extraordinary experiences.”

Yet less than half of US sports venues provide even basic connectivity on game days. Fewer still are equipped to meet fan expectations for wireless services to mobile devices, e-commerce and entertainment options, and delivery of data and analysis of events and athletic performance.

As sports enterprises and venues look to digital capabilities to create deeper levels of engagement with fans and convert that engagement into new sources of revenue, they must be able to deliver high-bandwidth connectivity, with services and content increasingly customized to individual preferences.

This is especially true as the live in-venue experience competes with the quality and convenience of high-definition television, mobile and social channels surrounding live events. A fully designed and realized experience moves fans from passive spectators to active participants via multiple points of engagement, and ultimately convert fans into customers of new offerings and digital services.

“IBM’s approach from the outset has been to combine the tech savvy of its integrated systems expertise with the best practices of its heralded fan-friendly, immersive data engagements at major sporting events,” said Jared Miller, chief technology officer, Arthur M. Blank Sports & Entertainment Group, which signed on IBM as a founding partner for its iconic downtown Atlanta Mercedes-Benz Stadium designed by HOK and set to open in 2017 as the home of the NFL’s Falcons and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer. “From supplying the robust infrastructure in its advanced fiber-based optical networks and distributed antenna system that ensures connectivity for fast, reliable WiFi to over 70,000 fans attending a game, to the video displays and digital signage, IBM is building the network backbone that will support the operational systems for the stadium, such as physical security capabilities including cameras, managed doors and video intercom systems. Making those experiences a reality requires more than dazzling displays and flashy apps, but an innovative mindset that puts the fan experience first.”

MercedesBenz Stadium

“Sports enterprises and venues need to look at ways to get to know their loyal fans as individuals, and convert that fan loyalty into new revenue streams - not just on game days but 365 days a year,” said Jim Rushton, who will lead the new IBM Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice, which will deploy more than 100 global specialists in experience design, mobility, marketing and data analytics supported by a global network of 20 digital design studios. “It’s an ongoing experience that starts when a fan purchases tickets, travels to the venue and attends an event. And it continues well after the event is over.”

Members of the IBM Sports and Entertainment Consortium collaborate to develop solutions, exchange intellectual property, and design and deliver global opportunities.

“Today’s sports and entertainment venue experience is no longer the singular idea of a fan watching a game, said Richard A. Patterson, general manager, IBM global technology services. “In order to convert casual fans to loyal customers, connection is everything. IBM and our consortium partners are redefining the idea of the stadium with technology to benefit fans and teams alike.”

The full suite of solutions IBM brings to this market includes Fan Experience consulting, analytics for team performance, the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson, fiber-based networking, flash storage, wireless networking and open-standard hybrid cloud delivery as the basis of emerging business solutions.

For more information on the new IBM Sports and Entertainment Consortium and IBM Fan Experience consulting services, visit ibm.com/sports.