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New App Enables Spectators to Order Refreshments from Seats

27 May, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Souvenir Sales, Parking Passes, Also Possible Using Online System

Want a hot dog? Don’t bother standing up in your seat to scope out a vendor. A new app makes it possible to order food and beverage, as well as souvenirs and more, without ever changing positions at the game.

When the Minnesota Vikings’ draft party starts this week, fans will have some new options to keep track of their home team (and their home stadium) via mobile app. VenueNext’s new mobile app will allow Vikings’ fans to order merchandise, purchase digital tickets and prepay parking passes.

They’ll also be able to check the status of the restroom lines and even order hot dogs…all from their mobile phone and the comfort of their seat. The app’s introduction – official launch was on April 28 --  is coinciding with the completion of the Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium, which is slated to open in August of this year.

VenueNext, a Santa Clara-based startup company, has partnered with the Vikings to “reinvent the game experience for sports fans from the driveway to the stands,” according to Jonathan Chew writing for Fortune.

“Through the new Vikings app, fans can preorder parking passes before arriving, transfer tickets to their friends, get turn-by-turn directions to the nearest concession stand, order a hot dog without moving from seats, and even buy merchandise and get it delivered to their home,” wrote Chew.

Many teams today are using mobile apps and social media to deepen their connections with fans, and provide viewers with a more immersive experience that allows them to keep track of individual players, plan their game attendance and even interact with other fans. The Vikings are hoping for a particularly immersive fan experience to coincide with the opening of their new $1.061 billion stadium in the Downtown East section of Minneapolis. According to Chew, the stadium will feature a fantasy football-centered area called Club Purple, stadium-wide WiFi, an art collection of 500 original pieces, and a 160-foot-long “Legacy Ship” made up of a huge LED screen parked on top of a specially-made ship.

“But it’s the app that ties all the stadium amenities together into a convenient whole. And the Vikings can thank the San Francisco 49ers for helping out,” wrote Chew. “That’s because in 2014, it was Niners CEO Jed York who, in an effort to outfit the soon-to-launch Levi’s Stadium with the latest gizmos, called John Paul, his then-vice president of stadium technology, about creating a different experience for fans through Silicon Valley-born technology.”

The result of that technology, VenueNext, offers app-based solutions to sports and entertainment venues. The company’s first app was introduced in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Adoption of the app among attendees was brisk and impressive: 30 percent of fans are using the Levi’s Stadium app during 49er games—compared to the industry average of around five percent. In its first year of operation in Levi’s Stadium, the VenueNext app was responsible for selling over $1.25 million of in-app food, beverage, and merchandise. The VenueNext app introduced for Super Bowl 50 was used by an incredible 46 percent of fans attending the game.

To date, VenueNext’s stadium apps are used by the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings and 49ers, and the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

This year’s Kentucky Derby also featured an app that allowed fans to place wagers from their seats.

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