John Paul, CEO of Levi’s Stadium app developer VenueNext, laid out some of the improvements that fans will see when they use the stadium app starting at tonight’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Tops among the enhancements are greater integration with the Niners’ separate team app, better support for electronic ticketing, and some interesting social media features that include the chance to see yourself live on one of the new big-screen TVs installed over the football offseason.
Though the Levi’s Stadium app got a good workout in 2014, with somewhere north of 200,000 unique users, Paul noted that number means there’s still a lot of Levi’s Stadium visitors who still haven’t heard of or bothered to use the app. “We’d love for more people to be aware of it [the app],” Paul said, and one way the VenueNext team is hoping to increase that number is through one-click integration with the existing team app, which focuses more on content and team information, and not the stadium-specific things like food ordering and ticketing that the Levi’s Stadium app supports.The integration will start with one-click logos on both apps that lead directly to the other one — in the Levi’s Stadium app case, there is now a 49ers logo in the upper right corner that takes you directly to the team app (or to the app store if you haven’t downloaded it yet). Paul also said that if fans log in to the team’s Faithful 49 loyalty program on either app, they will be logged in on the other app automatically, so that any of the points-earning activities are tracked more easily.
Easier ticket transfers
Paul also said the Levi’s Stadium app will support more and easier electronic ticketing features, like the ability to transfer multiple tickets in one transaction, instead of having to do transfers ticket by ticket as was required last year. The app this season will also support in-game purchases of tickets to ancillary events and services, like the pregame RedZone Rally party area or the postgame Michael Mina parties. Fans can also use the app now to purchase premium parking, Paul said, and be guided right to the reserved spots via the app.A fun new program with the app could allow fans to see themselves on the new big TV installed at the Intel gate, provided they log in to social media accounts with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and tag a picture of themselves with the #levisstadium hashtag. Paul said Niners interns will be scouting hashtagged photos and then trying to match them to fans who are identified by beacons outside the Intel gate. If it works, fans should get a text or message alerting them to their pending 7 seconds of fame. “That feature should be a lot of fun,” Paul said.
And behind the scenes, Paul said that the VenueNext team worked hard to improve the app’s functionality when it encounters variable network connectivity, such as when a fan is connected to the Wi-Fi network but gets up and moves, an action that can temporarily cause a loss of connection. This year, Paul said, such actions shouldn’t affect things like food orders that have already been activated, since the app will work better on the back end to preserve such actions even if the user gets disconnected.
Not yet ready for launch but coming soon are two other interesting app features: One, Paul said, will allow fans to pay for and send (via in-seat delivery) food and beverage orders to other people in the stadium, provided they know that person’s phone number and seat location. Another feature will allow fans to use the stadium’s beacon-powered location system to meet each other, with the app showing where people are en route to an agreed meeting location. The first feature, Paul said, might be operational by the second game of the season, Oct. 4 vs. the Packers; the meetup function, he said, might not surface until mid-season.
Paul could not comment on any other VenueNext stadium deployments — the company has said publicly that it will have 30 new clients before the year’s end, and at the recent SEAT conference this summer yours truly heard several well-placed rumors that said VenueNext had signed other NFL team deals, but none have yet been publicly confirmed. Watch this space for more info soon!