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Montreal Canadiens score with mobile food ordering, game highlights in-stadium

The National Hockey League club’s fans also will be able to interact with friends and locate them at the Canadiens’ home arena, the Bell Centre, through social media. The move, co-implemented with Montreal-based Fans Entertainment, is an example of how using mobile to enhance the in-event experience can drive engagement with sports fans.

“Mobile features like those being implemented by the Montreal Canadiens are becoming key elements to further enhance the physical aspect of attending a game,” said Tom Edwards, senior vice president, digital strategy and innovation, for the Marketing Arm, Dallas.

“By offering incremental value through mobile it offers fans the opportunity to get closer to the action, or access to exclusive content which may result in repeat attendance.”

Representatives for the Canadiens and Fans Entertainment could not be reached for comment.

Establishing infrastructure
Users of Apple’s iOS-supported devices were able to use “At the Bell Centre” features beginning at the Canadiens’ home opening game Thursday. The Android version will launch next month.

The 875,000 spectators who visit the Bell Centre for Canadiens’ games each year will have access to the mobile platform.

Sports clubs have recognized that spectators expect a fully immersive in-game experience due to mobile’s power to connect them almost instantly with a full range of services and products.

Numerous sports clubs and leagues are establishing infrastructure to engage fans on mobile in-stadium.

The Columbus Blue Jackets’ installation of Wi-Fi at Nationwide Arena this summer gave the team’s fans high-speed wireless connectivity on any mobile devices in the arena, boosting fan engagement with the sport.

The Jackets, who, like the Canadiens, play in the NHL, hired Mobilitie, a Newport Beach, CA provider of wireless infrastructure, to install the high-density Wi-Fi system.

TD Garden, home of the  NHL’s Boston Bruins, has explored ways to include features such as ordering in-arena food into a mobile application.

The Barclays Center, home of the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets, has in-seat ordering capability in the upper concourse. Its mobile infrastructure enables the sending of a message that suggests fans check out the Barclay Center app for in-seat food ordering options.

Enhancing the game
Mobile features, such as those used by the Canadiens, are becoming key elements to further enhance the physical aspect of attending a game.

“Because this functionality is app based, it opens up the possibility to push on premise offers and other commerce drivers such as discounts at the team store in addition to the existing functionality of in-seat ordering,” Mr. Edwards said. “One additional option would be if they incorporate beacon technology that allowed for the Canadiens to co-op the experience and potentially further monetize sponsorship dollars in stadium.

“This example highlights the underlying trend that fans have an expectation to connect physical and digital to enhance their entertainment experience,” he said. “Those organizations that offer the most relevant value, in addition to putting a viable product on the field/ice are going to reap the rewards.”

Final Take
Michael Barrris is staff reporter for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.