By: Chad Wiener
We’ve come a long way from using shoe boxes and calculators to run transactions in concession stands. It used to be a pencil and simple stand sheet could get you through an NCAA event, when cash was the only form of tender expected. Times have changed since those early days and venues are now expected to provide value-added features and benefits that will help them compete with other facilities for non-athletic events and additional revenue streams.
One way venues are doing this is through new technologies. Fully integrated point-of-sale systems are now almost considered a necessity. Having the ability to take credit cards, gift cards and other non-cash forms of payment are essential to a facility’s ability to “Keep up with the Jones’s”. But some facilities today are going one step further.
There are many new technology options in the marketplace today for sports & entertainment facilities. These new technologies offer the benefit of increasing revenues from existing operations, helping tap into new revenue streams and offering new ways to help reduce operating costs. Some of these new technologies are discussed below along with financial and operational benefits.
Digital menu boards are making inroads into the world of concessions operations all over the country. New buildings are being designed with digital menu boards listed in the specs, and existing facilities are looking for ways to migrate their existing menu boards to new digital technology. Digital menu boards provide a new revenue stream for buildings and teams in the form of marketing and advertising. Digital messages and images can be displayed on the menu boards during the event alongside of the concessions menu. After the event, menu boards can be switched to full screen advertisements for companies either inside or outside of the sponsorship base. Digital menu boards also provide a means to reduce the operational requirement of having to manually change each menu board each time menus or prices changes.
Another new technology that’s permeating the world of Sports & Entertainment is loaded ticket redemption for food, beverage and merchandise purchases. This technology allows teams and organizations to pre-load value on season tickets and increase the season ticket price by up to the amount of the value loaded. This allows customers to pull in additional revenue up front, bank the revenue and earn interest. Once the value is redeemed, the liability turns into recognized revenue for the client. Any unused value after the event becomes revenue to the organization. Other clients have chosen to load value on tickets at no additional cost to customers to motivate and incent customers to purchase tickets and attend the events. Teams are more likely to increase revenue for food, beverage and merchandise if they can increase the amount of people that pass through the doors.
With technology changing every day, teams and facilities have new avenues to increase revenues and provide value-added benefits to their customers. We’ve discussed a few in this article but other technologies are also making their way into Sports & Entertainment facilities. Keep your eyes peeled to be sure not to miss the next new technology to make its entrance!
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