New England Patriots' Winning Technology Plan
January 19, 2013 09:06 AM IT pros from Boston's professional teams -- the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox -- met at Gillette Stadium to talk tech, the future of live sports, and how to deliver real-time, high-definition video to a crowd of 70,000.
Sports IT Beyond Football
IT pros from the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins agree with Patriots VP of content Fred Kirsch about the criticality of apps to boost engagement and the need to focus on their best customers: season ticket holders.
Jay Wessel, the Celtics' VP of technology, and Lorraine Spadaro, the Bruins' VP of technology and e-business, said their teams, which share a venue at TD Garden (called simply "the Gahden" by locals), are planning apps that focus on letting fans share experiences by, for example, streaming Twitter posts across the scoreboard and offering specialized content. Spadaro said the team is holding back some premium seats and plans an app to enable season ticket holders to upgrade, much like an airline frequent flyer program.
One thing all the team reps agree on: Apps are not seen as revenue drivers. While the Celtics do sell ticket upgrades via a mobile app, Patriots' president Jonathan Kraft specifically stated that the Patriots don't plan to "nickel and dime" fans. Rather, a good mobile experience will soon be table stakes for major-league venues.
Another consideration: Gathering data on fans once they go through the turnstile. Concessions data will help track what offerings are most popular and make sure stands don't run out of popular items. Wessel also said paper will soon be a thing of the past. "The days of season ticket holders getting a big stack of tickets in the mail at the beginning of the season are about over," he said. While that may not strike some tradition-minded Boston fans as progress, it will lessen counterfeiting and make it easier to transfer unused tickets.