Technology is constantly shaping the marketing and advertising world. Not surprisingly, the sports sector consistently proves to be fertile ground for its growth and advancement. In a marketplace where gaining the fan dollar is the end game, one platform, digital advertising displays, is emerging in arenas and stadiums across the country and changing the face of the industry.
One company, Arena Media Networks, is at the forefront of this movement. For Arena, engaging fans during sporting events is at the heart of an emerging niche business. The company’s product may also change the future marketing and advertising practices of advertisers, marketers and even sports franchises.
Founded just over three years ago, the Manhattan-based outfit installs and operates a network of digital displays, equipped with sound, inside numerous sports and entertainment venues across the United States. Their content includes sports scores, music videos, corporate advertising and team promotions. It reaches fans that, in many cases, may spend several minutes in line waiting to purchase concessions and other items. These customers, if targeted properly, form a potentially lucrative revenue stream for entities involved in venue marketing.
The platform did not originate in the sports marketplace. “I was selling a similar medium inside of malls and theatre lobbies,” recalls Arena Media’s Co-CEO Tom Kiernan. “A lot of clients said that if we were putting this in some suburban mall in Connecticut, then why not in a venue like Yankee Stadium.”
Kiernan, along with co-founders Art Williams and Dave Roberts, then targeted this new market. “Once we got the core concept and business plan together, we approached stadiums,” he says. The first arena to showcase their product was the MCI (now Verizon) Center in Washington, D.C. “We went in and showed them the model and that’s how we got started and where we rolled out our first displays,” explains Kiernan.
In its short existence, Arena Media has compiled an impressive array of clientele. In addition to both baseball stadiums in New York City, its billboards can be viewed in over twenty sites across the country including Miami’s Dolphin Stadium, which recently hosted Super Bowl XLI, Comerica Park in Detroit and the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. The company also plans to roll out displays in several other Major League Baseball parks during the 2007 campaign.
Arena Media is trying to cash in on the digital media phenomenon. “What we are doing is transforming what were once just static billboards and posters inside arenas and stadiums using a network of digital displays,” explains Kiernan. But the company’s choice of venues is at the core of its success. “The technology is something that is out there,” he says. “There is something like 700 companies in our marketplace and people are doing this in malls, movie theatres, doctor’s offices and healthclubs. What’s valuable and unique about Arena Media is that we are doing inside of premier sports arenas and stadiums.”