The San Jose Earthquakes, the only MLS team in the Bay Area, have a new stadium and their first home game is this weekend. Local news quoted fans being excited about the stadium, its steep, intimate seating, good sightlines, noise-amplifying roof and, yes, the longest bar in North America. But we’re not here to talk about architecture, we’re here to talk tech. So how does the only MLS in Silicon Valley plan to “complement the fan experience?” Enter the Avaya Stadium app, because what venue doesn’t need an app?
Joking aside, I was quite impressed with the app and it seems to complement the stadium experience (though I still need to test it at an actual game.) It’s not just an app for the stadium. It represents the team as well. Here are a few things I liked:
- The home screen is a great combination of navigation and news. On top is an ad-like banner with content the Earthquakes want to promote. Today content rotated between branding and promoting the second home game, for which tickets were still available. One click takes users to a ticket purchasing page in the app. Midscreen are the next three games and their dates. Further down are ticket sales, the Avaya Stadium virtual host and parking. Everything a fan needs before, during and after a game.
Vital game information for each game including date, kickoff time, what TV channel to watch it on and what radio channel to listen to. As a fan, this will ensure I open the app not only when I am at the stadium.
- Ticket sales, including resales, with all filtering and purchasing options. Well done, though the captcha is a bit clunky.
- The static amenities map has restrooms and concession stands on it and most link to a detailed page, with information such as whether the restroom has a changing station or the vendor’s menu. It helps that menu items are listed and I loved that search was smart enough to find me the right place to buy fries. Less time walking around to find restrooms and where to buy food means more time watching the game. It would have been nice to include prices.
- Driving and public transportation directions, as well as FAQs answering such vital game-day questions such as what can be brought into the stadium, It’s good to have all this information in one place.
- Team stats, including social media profiles. A great time-killer before the game.
A few things I’d like to see:
- As the season progresses the app should include the team’s record, player stats and other vital information. Once fans arrive at the stadium there will be time to kill before kickoff.
- Videos with game summaries, analysts, player commentary and so on. For example, before the game, fans can hear the coach’s opinion on the rival team and the players can chime in with thoughts.After the game, analysts can provide insight, game highlights, and significant plays.
- Ticket sales are now by section, row and seats. This is meaningless without a map, and none is provided. How about a map with the current seats marked on it? All available seats? How the field looks from these seats? There is a map in the “Amenities” section of the app with sections marked – at least link to that?
- A dynamic parking guide. A static image of all available lots is great but doesn’t help in real time. What lots have space? Where is the backup the longest? What line is the shortest? The more parking information arriving and departing fans have at their fingertips the less their frustration with the stadium experience, the likelier they are to come back and see more games.
- A line monitor. Be it with live cameras or fan status updates, so that fans can pick the shortest lines to buy food. Remember, less time in line means more time watching the game, leading to a better user experience.
- In-seat food ordering. I understand that this is planned with a different app, yorder, but this isn’t currently part of the app.
- The press release talks about following the “social media buzz” with the app. Perhaps this represented by the list of social media accounts to follow included in the app and perhaps as I heard on one news report, there will be a screen in the stadium dedicated to social media mentions. A location-limited social media newsfeed during the game, with attendees exchanging commentary on the game both on the big screen and in the app could enhance the game-day experience as well.
All in all, the studium looks gorgeous and the app is good and I know it will get better. Can’t wait until kickoff!