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Orlando Magic unleashes iBeacon potential with in-stadium experience

The Orlando Magic claims to be the first National Basketball Association to leverage iBeacons and take the in-stadium experience to the next level.

The team has installed 20 iBeacons in Orlando’s Amway Center, and the technology will be directly integrated into the organization’s branded app. Similar to other use cases of beacons, the technology promises to heighten communication with fans and ease game day stressors like ticket and seat qualms.

“You can do some clever things related to iBeacons in terms of how fans can receive alerts throughout the game’s timeline and also study further in a localized manner in terms of how they engage with parts of the stadium,” said Ryan Unger, cofounder/chief technology officer of Punchkick Interactive, Chicago.

Mr. Unger is not affiliated with the Orlando Magic. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

The Orlando Magic did not meet press deadline.

What time is it?
IBeacons are small, Apple-manufactured devices that connect with iPhones though Bluetooth Low Energy. As a marketing tool, beacons’ geo-location capabilities sync with apps when users are nearby to an iBeacon.

The Orlando Magic will use iBeacons to check-in opting fans upon entry, sending push tailor-made welcome notifications and special offers to consumers who have downloaded the brand’s app.

The app provides maps, tips on bypassing long concession lines, information on food, beverages and retail offers, the ability to access tickets digitally and upgrade a seat.

This micro-location information will allow the organization to meet individual fan needs and customize specific opportunities and experiences for each guest.

Tech this out
The Magic have invested quite a bit in mobile and digital over the years.

In 2010, the team installed a high-definition video production, distribution, and Internet protocol TV system.

Additionally, during the team’s April 9 matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, the Magic enhanced fan experience by displaying real-time Google Glass feeds on the tallest high-definition video board ever used in an NBA arena.

The team tests out a new perspective

Outside of basketball, Major League Baseball teams have also jumped at the opportunities to use iBeacons.

The San Francisco Giants installed 19 devices in mid-February at all fan entry and exit points of the ballpark, and the LA Dodgers reportedly have nearly 65 iBeacons, per the MLB.

This includes looking at how long someone stays in one location, how often they visit the venue, and what purchases they made.

“One thing that could theoretically be done with beacons is optimizing the flow of lines or traffic,” Mr. Unger said. “For example, suppose that the NBA app installed a couple lines of code for iBeacon to track people’s movements in stadiums. This could mean tracking fans as they walk through the stadium.

“That data could be correlated from a big data perspective by understanding how people were behaving at the time,” he said.

“Factors such as what the score was at the time, weather, number of attendees, who the home team is playing, and if certain players are sitting on the bench or in the game all contribute to behavioral patterns that iBeacon could potentially observe. This data could optimize the flow of people through the stadium, making the fan experience that much better.”

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York