The research for this project began with market analysis to find out what features were possible in current stadium apps and how they were implemented. We found a great deal of features that we could inquire about in our user interviews. Next we interviewed a number of Nationals fans who regularly attend games and asked about their park experience. These were the key takeaways from those interviews:
Having an idea of what features we wanted to use to try to solve our users pain points, we built a low fidelity prototype to test out. However we found out that although our app technically did all of the things we wanted it to do it did not encourage continual use among fans.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
User research showed us a lack of social media engagement among loyal Nats fans.
Users told us that they just weren’t being incentivized to engage with the team past just purchasing a ticket to the game.
We researched ways to incentivized fans and found that loyalty rewards programs were greatly effective.
From research conducted on the top 100 retailers in the United States we find some astounding statistics. All of the top ten retailers are currently operating a loyalty reward program. And out of the entire top 100, 70% of them are actively using customer loyalty.
What kind of results are these retailers getting?
They earned a combined revenue of $1.99 TRILLION. Thats more than 600% higher than brands without a loyalty reward program. The reason for that monumental difference in revenue comes down to the very thing that loyalty rewards programs can get you, repeat customers. They make such a great difference because even though repeat customers only account to 8% of a brands customer base, they bring in 40% of the annual revenue. Which means that the success of a brand greatly depends on whether they can create loyalty among their customers.
But what about baseball teams?
Shockingly out of all the MLB teams, only 5 of them have implemented loyalty programs. Which means that there is a huge opportunity for improvement available. Teams like the Red Sox, which rank number one in fan loyalty, have figured this out by rolling out programs of their own. As they put it, “you can always increase loyalty”. And when this loyalty results in a better experience for the fans and higher engagement and revenue for the ball park, it becomes a necessary tool for success.
Increase brand loyalty through an app that eliminates pain points for users and enrolls them in a fan loyalty program. The elegance of this solution lies in its simplicity. The users get convenience and validation through rewards from the app, and the Park gets more engagement and loyalty from the fans which results in higher profits.
CAN WE DO MORE?
As a solo side project for our app I was asked to create a new feature based on new emerging technologies. I chose to build an AR feature that would allow users to use their smartphone camera to point it at the field and the app would be able to identify what players were on the field and quickly give you their name and player number. From there you could quickly tap any of the players on the screen and get a variety of information on that particular player like their quick stats overview, more detailed stats sheet, fantasy league news for that player, and a link to the merch store in the app for merchandise for that player.
This was an ambitious feature to try to tackle and I only had one day to flesh it out so I immediately got started on research to figure out how to actually do all this with existing technology available at the Nationals Park.
What I found out was that most modern ballparks use three extremely accurate radar systems. One that tracks the pitcher, one that tracks the ball, and the other that tracks all of the players on the field. A company called Cisco created a program called StadiumVision that allows all of that radar data to simultaneously be converted into something all of the broadcast cameras in the park can use. That is how games being broadcast can do those amazing replays with graphics showing exactly where the ball traveled and at what speeds. Using this amazing technology and the Nationals Park ultra modern Network it is possible to allow every smartphone screen on the park to be able to use the feature of the app just as I had envisioned it.