San Francisco 49ers: How Real-Time Analytics Enhances The Fan Experience

Rushenka Perera

Intelligent technology is simplifying the way businesses operate and streamlining various backend operations to present a more seamless customer experience.

In a recent podcast, I caught up with with Moon Javaid, vice president of strategy and analytics for the San Francisco 49ers football team, and Jenni Lewis, global sponsorships technology lead for SAP, about how machine learning and intelligent enterprise are reshaping the way sports and fans interact.

According to Moon, the 49ers had been looking to build a world-class stadium for the last 15 to 20 years. “The basis of our stadium was around making sure that from the time you leave your home to the time you come back is a great fan experience,” he explained. “A big piece of that is technology, so having the proper Wi-Fi structure, having a [distributed antenna system] or cellular network, and being able to support what fans are doing.”

Moon said the 49ers aim to provide a first-class and seamless customer experience by ensuring everything runs smoothly while minimizing waiting times and inconveniences for customers.

Jenni noted other work that had been done around gathering customer data through fan engagement apps, which gives customers a more interactive experience. “It’s also about being able to track from a social point of view what fans are enjoying,” she added.

“Fan sentiment is super important because we can look at what’s happening and change things for the next performance – so it’s very much about instant feedback, which is what fans are looking for these days.”

In the months leading up to the development of this new platform for the 49ers, the team needed to understand how intelligent enterprise and machine learning could benefit them. Working collaboratively and consultatively with the 49ers, engaging them in design-thinking workshops to establish the key objectives of this digitalization journey.

“Design thinking is really important for us to sit together and not think about any limitations – let’s dream big and then build solutions together in very timely fashions,” Jenni explained.

Moon says their cloud platform has digitalized how the 49ers collate and analyze customer satisfaction – eliminating the need to read approximately 30,000 surveys per year.

“We were on this journey to really explore real-time analytics,” Moon said. “Bringing in the Executive Huddle using a digital boardroom, which allows us to look at eight different streams of data – looking at the parking lot, looking at entry to the stadium, retail concessions, and restrooms.”

According to Moon, Executive Huddle allows management to address issues and reallocate resources in real time. This agility gives the 49ers complete oversight of its customers’ experience while making sense of the immense amounts of data this smart stadium collects each game day.

Listen to my podcast talk with the San Francisco 49ers via iTunesSpotify, and Stitcher, and learn more about the new The Best Run Podcast channel I will be hosting monthly.

Rushenka Perera

About Rushenka Perera

Rushenka is Head of Marketing at SAP ANZ.