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HOK’s Chris DeVolder Talks Tech on Digital Sports Insider Podcast

Hard Rock Stadium

While in London to present at the Yahoo Sports Technology Awards, HOK’s Kansas City managing principal sat down to chat with Daniel McLaren about advances in stadium design and technology

Here are some of Chris DeVolder’s quotes from the Digital Sports Insider podcast:

On getting people off the sofa and to the venue:

“We are always thinking about what we can do to attract people to spend the time and money to come to a facility—and to give them an experience they can’t get anywhere else. At Hard Rock Stadium (above) in Miami, premium ticket holders have access to soft seating and the ability to order food and drinks to be delivered to their seats. And they can customize the front of their areas. Some don’t have anything while some have several screens in front of them. They can watch that game and monitor the stats or watch other games. These are the sorts of things our clients have to offer to get people off the sofa.”

On strengthening Wi-Fi signals in venues:

“One thing we found, especially with younger generations, is they want to be able to tweet or put on Instagram what they are doing—to collectively share that experience.”

On the future of stadium apps:

“On match day I might wake up with a message that says, ‘Good morning, Chris, we’re looking forward to seeing you today.’ The apps will reach out beyond the stadium and engage the fans from when they wake up to when they go to bed. It’s a daylong experience.”

On the impact of autonomous vehicles:

“In five to ten years AVs are going to trigger a big shift in how we experience sporting events. We still might have traffic to deal with but we’ll be letting a computer do the driving.”

On innovations to venue seating:

“A few things we’ve played around with are seats shaking when a goal or touchdown is scored. This adds a tactile experience. And heated seats are not new, but the application is going to be more widespread. Technology is reaching the point that it can be mass produced and be long-lasting and reliable.”

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