Last Tuesday night at the Barclays Center, two of the Brooklyn Nets’ biggest offseason investments were on full display.
On the court, Joe Johnson hit game-tying and game-winning buzzer-beaters against the Milwaukee Bucks, sending fans into hysteria. In the stands, it was two brand new apps that the organization hopes will keep fans buzzing.
It’s already been well-reported that the house that Hov built has spared no expense in future-proofing the arena. Inside is one of world’s largest HD scoreboards, as well as 700 HDTVs.
Even better, fans are encouraged to B.Y.O.D. (bring your own device) and take advantage of Barclays’ free Wi-Fi, with more than 275 Wi-Fi access points -- and now, two new apps.
After nearly a year in development, the Barclays Center app and the Brooklyn Nets app were showcased at a media event prior to the game against the Bucks. (The apps officially launched Feb. 1.)
The app-makers -- which include WillowTree, who has also created apps for GSN, NBA All-Star and GE -- set out to change the way we watch arena basketball, and they succeeded.
Although admittedly biased, WillowTree vice president of design Blake Sirach might not be that far off when he referred to the technology as “the most advanced venue app created in the world.”
Some highlights of the two apps:
• Live video feeds via “StadiumVision”
Now fans can tune into live video streaming, choosing from different POVs from unique camera angles, including slam cam, sideline cam and replay cam.
Insiders have also discussed shooting from a mascot POV, locker room or backboard. With everything from handheld cams to GoPros to capture and stream multiple videos, this gives fans new added value for their stadium vantage points -- especially when in the bathroom.
• Ordering food
Any upper-level concourse fans can purchase and pay for food from their phone, and then go pick it up at a nearby quick stop.
• Instant texting fame
Feeling lucky? You can text a message to the scoreboard. Finally, a way to gain fame without having to lock lips on Kiss Cam.
The apps also offer the more obvious features such as an interactive map, stats, check-in on social networks and an events breakdown.
• Real-time feedback
The app developers are constantly monitoring data and looking for feedback. Execs noted they can even gather data in real time, gaining insight into what people are looking at most and where video quality streams are weak. For example, they said the app interactivity peaked most at halftime -- perhaps a time to push out more custom content.
Since launching, the Barclays app has been downloaded 21,000 times and the Nets app has 43,000 downloads. The apps are currently available on iOS and Android, but Nets executives note that if there is demand on Windows and BlackBerry, they'll build those in future.
According to Michael Caponigro, senior manager, sports and entertainment marketing with Cisco (which helped develop the technology), more has happened in the past four years in the live sporting experience than in the past four decades.
"We can't deny mobility revolution is taking place and a video explosion is taking place,” says Caponigro.
This should serve as a wake-up call to teams that have had a passé approach to technology (and arenas). Just an app alone can truly enhance the fan experience.
And on an unrelated side note, think about picking up some of the chicken fingers at Barclays Center -- they are slammin' -- and thanks to the app, you don’t have to leave your seat to order.