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Minnesota Vikings hikes up in-stadium mobile sales via updated app

The Minnesota Vikings is the latest sports team to incorporate food and beverage ordering, digital ticketing, loyalty rewards and push notifications into its application, showcasing how paramount mobile point-of-sale options are for game attendees in major stadiums.

Fans of the football team will soon be able to take advantage of the revamped Vikings app, which has implemented VenueNext’s technology into its platform, enabling users to enjoy a slew of new features designed to enhance their game-going experiences. As mobile ordering continues taking off among quick service restaurant chains, arenas and stadiums are likely to hop on the bandwagon in a bid to boost concession sales.

“Our goal is to use technology to enhance the game-day experience, not get in the way of why fans are at U.S. Bank Stadium – to see in-person the exciting and live game action of the Vikings,” said John Penhollow, vice president of corporate and technology partnerships at Minnesota Vikings Football LLC. “With this in mind, we felt that our path will enable fans to access great content on their terms, when they want to.

“Our hope is that each fan feels good about accessing our content and app functionality when and how he or she prefers to, which may be strikingly different than how the fan next to him/her chooses to access the content and stadium functionality.”

Seamless fan experiences
Minnesota Vikings fans planning to attend games at U.S. Bank Stadium this year will experience a new version of the team’s app, providing a plethora of venue services. These features include in-app wayfinding, loyalty rewards, food and merchandise ordering, express pick-up services, video content, push notifications and enhanced digital ticketing options.

Platforms such as Aramark, Ticketmaster and point-of-sale solution Appetize will also be incorporated, eliminating the need for consumers to download multiple apps to access stadium services.

The revamped Vikings app will be unveiled in the coming weeks, coinciding with the 2016 National Football League Draft. Therefore, fans will be able to consult their smartphones to receive up-to-date information on player statistics, team schedules and current scores, as well as leverage their mobile devices as the ultimate event-going companions.

For example, if attendees would like to order a snack during the game but are wary of long lines at concession stands, they may choose their desired food and beverages via the app, pay for the purchase and simply drop by the concession stand to retrieve it. This ensures that consumers will not miss any of the football action and will be back in their seats as quickly as possible.

U.S. Bank stadium may also see an uptick in concession sales following the new app rollout. If consumers are aware of the easy-to-use mobile ordering options, they will be more likely to purchase food and beverages due to the sheer convenience the feature offers.

The revamped app will also help the stadium make real-time, data-driven decisions to enhance guest experiences even more.

“We feel that the bar has been raised for all sports and entertainment venues in terms of what guests want out of a game-day experience,” Mr. Penhollow said. “Our fans are similar to most other fans across the world, they want to see a great live event in person and they want to stay connected with their friends and family while doing so.

“If we can make their game-day experience even just a little bit better by using our advanced technologies to help them do so, then we’ve done our part.”

The Minnesota Vikings are the third NFL team to team up with VenueNext.

“At VenueNext, we have two goals: to dramatically improve the guest experience at venues, and improve the business for the venue owner, utilizing our technology platform and the guest’s smartphone,” said Louise Callagy, vice president of marketing at VenueNext. “Because we integrate the systems of a venue —  they work better and more powerfully together — so the venue owners can amplify every service they offer to their guests.

“By linking the services fans want to use in the stadium during a game to their phone, they have a much better experience. We take away guest pain points like waiting in line, being lost, not knowing where to go to get food – and give the guests convenience and control over their experience – what they want, when they want it and where they want it.”

A widespread trend
An increasing number of stadiums and arenas are adding mobile point-of-sale options to their in-house apps, suggesting that others will soon follow if they have not yet already.

The American Airlines Center in Dallas has also brought mobile point-of-sale systems to consumers attending events in the stadium, allowing servers to accept contactless payments as well as Apple Pay, and providing a streamlined purchasing experience for food and beverages (see story).

Additionally, Cleveland Cavaliers fans were able to use their smartphones to purchase drinks, food and merchandise directly from their stadium seats while watching the 2015 National Basketball Association Playoffs and Finals, proving that in-seat mobile ordering is a must-have feature for sports arenas (see story).

Ultimately, Vikings fans are set to encounter a series of enhanced, mobile-first experiences that will make their game attendance even more memorable.

“Even before the doors of the new stadium open, the Vikings and VenueNext will be updating the mobile app for the 2016 NFL Draft this month,” Ms. Callagy said. “Fans attending the Vikings Draft Party near the downtown Minneapolis stadium on April 28 can enter using digital tickets on the Vikings app.

“Beyond that, throughout the upcoming football season, Vikings fans at the stadium will use the Vikings app to bring a new level of convenience and control to their experience. The team will also leverage data generated by those services to improve offerings to fans.”