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Cleveland Cavaliers jumpstart concession sales with mobile in-seat ordering

Cleveland Cavaliers fans are now 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.

The Cavaliers are leveraging in-venue application Tap.in2 to encourage sports enthusiasts to engage in seat delivery for snacks, beverages and branded merchandise, ensuring they do not miss a second of the highly-anticipated games. Currently, it has seen a 25 percent adoption rate among fans, with those who used the app 1.5 times per game producing a $32 per capita spend for food and beverages.

“By leveraging mobile technology to have food, beverages, merchandise and experiences delivered straight to their seats, [customers] get to be part of the live action they’ve come out to be part of,” said Mike Jacobs, co-founder and CEO of Tap.in2, Cleveland, OH. “Tap.in2 fans never miss a magic moment.”

Streamlined ordering
The mobile in-seat ordering platform was used in a bid to prevent fans from missing nail-biting, critical moments during games by waiting in long lines at the concession stand. Therefore, the Cav Eats program was offered at more than 22 games, available to club and premiere seat holders throughout the Playoffs, NBA Finals and regular season.

Consumers can purchase a variety of snacks, drinks, merchandise and fan experiences directly on their smartphones. Most orders are delivered within 6 minutes of payment, resulting in happy customers.

On the marketer side, Tap.in2 is able to provide real-time data based on customer behavior and usage, fan spending and in-venue engagement.

The mobile-enabled program received such positive response that the Cavaliers and concessionaire Aramark are planning to offer additional menu and service options via Tap.in2 during the next season.

“Consumers respond favorably, using the system between 1.5 and 2 times a game, spending approximately $32,” Mr. Jacobs said. “More than that, fans get the concierge, in-seat service they deserve and wait times in nearby concessions stands decline as well.”

Mobile payments in arenas
The future of mobile payments in stadiums and sports arenas appears set in stone. The dual benefits for marketers and consumers outweigh the possible glitches that may occur in the apps.

Tap.in2 has currently served more than 50,000 Cavaliers supporters. Eighty percent of products sold were beverages, underscoring customers’ willingness to splurge on a drink if they do not have to leave their seats to receive it.

The per capita spend for fans frequently using the platform also hovered at a rather high amount. This suggests that sheer convenience may override price concerns in select consumers’ minds, especially when watching an anticipated sporting game.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not the only team to offer this feature to event-goers.

Last May, the American Airlines Center in Dallas 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).

In November, American Express and the Brooklyn Nets teamed up to participate in a pilot program powered by Brooklyn eWallet that allowed consumers to use their mobile devices to purchase food and drinks from their seats at Barclays Center events (see story).

“Mobile in-seat ordering is becoming a central feature in the strategy of concessionaires across all sports, including but not limited to basketball, football, hockey, baseball, soccer and motor sports,” Mr. Jacobs said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York