Wells Fargo Center gets new LED boards for concourses

New LED screens in the atrium area of Wells Fargo Center. Credit: ANC/Wells Fargo Center

Joining what looks like a developing trend for stadiums and arenas, the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia will have new LED boards in much of its atrium and concourse area this season, thanks to an ongoing partnership between signage and design provider ANC and Comcast Spectacor, the owner and operator of the venue.

According to a recent press release, ANC recently finished a “complete digital media transformation” of Wells Fargo Center, including replacing static signage with LED displays in the arena’s atriums, which are among the highest-trafficed zones in the building, according to ANC. Last year the San Jose Sharks went down a similar path, bringing LED boards to many of the internal concourse areas, replacing static signage or blank walls.

ANC, a Learfield company, said the new LED displays at the joint home of the NHL’s Flyers and the NBA’s 76ers (which include highway signage outside the stadium) can be controlled through a single management system, offering a powerful way to convey synchronized messages across all digital displays in the building. Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium has a similar system, where it can “take over” all digital displays to provide a powerful, full-stadium look at either highlights or a sponsor message.

Philadelphia 76ers Latest Pro Sports Team to Get It, Look to Hire New Media Expert

Today,  fewer than a dozen of the 124 NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB teams have mobile sports experts on staff at the vice president level, despite the fact that the fan viewing experience is rapidly evolving around their product.

However, a listing that’s circulating on the sports hiring website TeamWorkOnline.com has the industry buzzing that another major franchise is starting to get it.

In a drive led by President of Business Operations Lara Price, the Philadelphia 76ers have started scouting for a director of new media. Reporting to just-promoted VP of marketing Mark Gullett, the new hire will be responsible for fielding mobile sports sponsorship opportunities, and growing the team’s customer databases.

The 76ers say the goal of the position is to drive ticket sales, but the full description reads like something much more. It says that the new hire will implement new media initiatives designed to increase its email database, and improve retention. In addition, there’s development of new forms of online contests and promotion, and extensive work with LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

All that speaks to a professional sports team that’s looking for competitive advantage, as the sports viewing experience turns into 360-degree interaction among the fan, the game, and other fans. While the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins are doing a better job than most, and the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins are making some waves, few professional sports teams today really know very much about their Twitter followers, email subscribers or website visitors. All teams can readily tell you the number of followers on their Twitter stream, and anyone can look that number up at any time, but few teams can tell you anything about who those followers are.

If the 76ers successfully improve their database operations, they may be able to eventually tell sponsors that, of the 44,575 followers they have on Twitter, XX percent of those followers are males. Then, through opt-in incentive programs, they may eventually be able to tell sponsors that 7 percent of those males live in zipcodes where the median income makes them likely buyers of luxury vehicles and 2 percent of that 7 percent of males have also indicated they are big fans of Elton Brand and would be open to receive an email invitation to attend a meet and greet (hosted by Brand) to see the debut of the 2013 Lexus. That’s pretty good information, especially if you sell Lexus.

When a pro sports team can do that, it is conceivable that the team will be worth more than teams that can’t, and the 76ers appear interested in adding a staffer who will drive the effort to create that infrastructure.

There’s another upside to the 76ers hiring effort. Today, there are numerous companies innovating new ways for fans to interact at live sporting events and while watching live broadcasts of their favorite team, but barriers to entry are significant. Professional sports teams rarely have go-to visionaries who understand shifting fan viewing behavior,  or how to capitalize on it. Maybe the 76ers will emerge as a proving-ground franchise, if they find the right MSR reader to fill the new gig. Our recommendation? Go for it.