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Internet of Things

The schedule of the game, when you eat the puppy and the advertising you see: technology already chooses what happens in the soccer stadium

Harry Watson

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The first part was somewhat weak. Some interned by the band, a couple of shots on goal and a single clear goal opportunity. The clock has far exceeded forty minutes of play, a familiar emptiness stung your stomach and the parched throat asks for a cold beer. The mobile vibrates in your pocket when the rival winger truncates a dangerous run on the end of your team. You take it out and see a notification from the club app: exclusive offer, beer plus hot dog at half price if you buy it before the break.

What a coincidence! You think, just when you started to get hungry and thirsty. However, such a timely offer has not appeared on your mobile as a result of chance, but of Big Data . Throughout the season the club application, through which you have paid each purchase in the stadium bar, has recorded that your consumption is concentrated from the 35th to the 45th minute of the first part and, thanks to that information, the relational marketing tools The club has made you a personalized offer.

This hypothetical situation has not yet occurred in any LaLiga stadium, but it will soon be a reality. “Many teams have been investing in the Big Data of their stadiums for three or four years, because in the end those facilities are a brutal data generator. You can know how many people come in, where they sit, if they go to more shows besides soccer, “explains José Guerra, corporate general director of LaLiga, to Xataka.

Among the professional soccer teams in Spain -Primera and Segunda División-, Sevilla FC has been one of the first to announce initiatives of this type. The team from Seville is working on the start-up of a Business Intelligence Center in which they will collect data on all the interactions of their fans with the stadium – from in-store purchases to drinks during meetings – and the club’s digital tools – applications, website or online store- to configure personalized offers for them.

“It is about uniting all the contact points of the fan with the club in a single database, refined and enriched daily, with the aim of being able to automate, in a second phase, relational marketing campaigns with users. And we are going to get to a very high level of detail, such as knowing when you usually consume a drink during a match, ”says Ramón Loarte, Marketing, Commercial and Retail director of Sevilla FC.

A similar initiative is being carried out by the Royal Society, which last July announced the launch of a smart scarf to improve interaction with its fans. This garment served as an excuse for users to download the application of the Donostiarra group -Realzale-, register in the app and scan the label to start receiving notifications with discounts and exclusive raffles.

“The smart scarf offered us different ways of interacting with our followers and uniting the worlds off and online, ” explained Juan Iraola, head of the digital area of ​​the Royal Society, in the press release that the people of San Sebastian spread to announce this initiative.

The ultimate goal of the txuri-urdines is for their fans to become familiar with the application, which will be one of the pillars of the club’s digitization and with which members can now access the stadium without a card or give up their seats . The latter is not exclusive to Real Sociedad, since there are several LaLiga clubs that have apps with these same functions.

But Big Data in stadiums will not be used only for commercial purposes. From LaLiga, the body in charge of centrally controlling access and security -the latter together with the State Security Forces and Bodies- in the 42 professional stadiums in Spain, explain that new software is being implemented to better manage entry to the stadiums and that, in the future, they would like this to be possible without turnstiles .

“We thought about how it would be more comfortable to access the stadiums , and we thought that the ideal would be not to find any barrier between the door and the interior. That is not possible now because there are a series of security needs, but if we were to implement a system in which the person is identified by their mobile phone, or that detects unidentified devices, we would not have to do that filter, “says Guerra.

New technologies and security

Big Data is one of the digital tools that is being developed in many LaLiga stadiums, but the aspect that is currently fully digitized and operational is the security of these facilities.

In the 42 professional stadiums of Spanish football there must be, by law, an Organizational Control Unit (UCO) , the responsibility of LaLiga and operated by workers from this body and the National Police. The objective of this installation is to maintain and operate technological systems that facilitate the work of the State Security Forces and Bodies during the matches, for which they have powerful, latest-generation technological tools.

“The UCO is made up of a closed circuit television and a robust communications network with a high level of data transmission . There are cameras outside the stadium, at the gates, in the stands and in the conflict zones, so that the police can identify those responsible for any altercation, “explains José María Cervantes, director of Facilities and Maintenance of LaLiga.

Among the systems of which the UCO is composed, the one with the 360º megapixel camera stands out , which records every corner of the stadium stands in high resolution during the pre-match, the entire match and the post-match. Its purpose is to have a video that can be reviewed after the event to identify any person who has committed an infraction.

“This system gives peace of mind because the police cannot keep an eye on the 50,000 people who go to the stadium if they have to identify someone at the moment. If a flare falls during the game, it is removed but you cannot identify the one who threw it because it is in the middle of the public. With the megapixel recording you can review the images, follow the trajectory in reverse and identify it , both by its own face and by the people around it, “says Guerra.