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Modernize the Venue to Revitalize Live Events

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  • Venue modernization is critical to staying competitive and productive and to attracting a younger generation in today’s digital experience economy, in which business stakeholders have outlined the business goals IT is expected to meet.
  • The venue cannot successfully modernize and meet business goals due to legacy infrastructure challenges.
  • The organization struggles to illustrate, communicate, and justify the modernization efforts to business stakeholders.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Optimizing the in-venue fan journey through modernization will create unmatched 360-degree fan experiences and allow organizations to remain competitive through the power of hyper-personalization, while minimizing costs and improving the revenue, efficiency, agility, and data of the business.

Impact and Result

  • Determine the venue modernization vision. Understand the venue modernization use cases, to construct and envision the various modernization projects against value drivers.
  • Establish the value of modernizing the venue. Define a thorough view of the business and impacts.
  • Analyze the chosen modernization projects. Assess the projects by understanding their efficiency and agility gains to the business, and clarify next steps needed to support the modernization process.

Modernize the Venue to Revitalize Live Events Research & Tools

1. Modernize The Venue to Revitalize Live Events Deck – A report to guide you through disruptors and drivers of modernization, help you analyze projects of interest, and decide on next steps.

Read our digital use case report to find out how you can modernize the venue through digital technologies.

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Modernize the Venue to Revitalize Live Events

Digital Use Case Report

Analyst Perspective

Industry-specific use cases to modernize the in-venue experience

As the demand for virtual events grows and the needs and wants of fans change, the sports entertainment world has been left with empty stands and fans who are less engaged than ever before. Stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic did not benefit TV ratings for sports, as viewership for the NBA finals declined by 51%, viewership for the NHL finals dropped by 65%, and the 2021 Super Bowl's ratings were the lowest in 15 years (Samsung, 2021). Additionally, MSG networks experienced a 9% drop in their subscriber base, leaving a mark in their 2022 revenues (Sportico, 2022).

OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have a large role to play in the rise in on-demand desire, as live events are not the only way fans can have immersive experiences with their favorite teams, idols, or events. It's crucial that sports and entertainment organizations modernize the in-venue experience to create compelling and unique experiences that convert casual fans into fanatics and boost live event revenues through strategic use of technology and innovation.

However, it is challenging to determine where organizations should start in their modernization journey. This research will allow organizations to understand why venue modernization is critical to their success, the high-value use cases that an organization can adopt into their own venue, and next steps to develop an effective strategy.

This is a picture of Elizabeth Silva

Elizabeth Silva
Research Analyst, Sports Entertainment Industry
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

  • Venue modernization is critical to staying competitive and productive and to attracting a younger generation in today's digital experience economy, in which business stakeholders have outlined the business goals IT is expected to meet.
  • The venue cannot successfully modernize and meet business goals due to legacy infrastructure challenges.
  • The organization struggles to illustrate, communicate, and justify the modernization efforts to business stakeholders.

Common Obstacles

  • The inability to determine what to invest in to generate an ROI for the organization, where changing or updating legacy systems is difficult.
  • Lack of understanding of what will achieve organizational objectives and what to modernize.
  • Other priorities may compete with modernization projects, causing focus and value to the organization to decrease.

Info-Tech's Approach

  • Determine the venue modernization vision. Understand the venue modernization use cases to construct and envision the various modernization projects against value drivers.
  • Establish the value of modernizing the venue. Define a thorough view of the business and impacts of modernization.
  • Analyze the chosen modernization projects. Assess the projects by understanding their efficiency and agility gains to the business, and clarify next steps needed to support the modernization process.

Info-Tech Insight

Optimizing the in-venue fan journey through modernization will develop unmatched 360-degree fan experiences and allow organizations to remain competitive through the power of hyper-personalization while minimizing costs and improving the revenue, efficiency, agility, and data of the business.

Four disruptors are demanding modernization

Familiarize the business with the following disruptors to comprehend the changes within the industry causing the need for modernization.

Consumer Adaptive
Adjust In-Home Experiences to In-Venue Services

The typical consumer lifestyle has become digital, and fans are starting to expect that what they can get at home, they can and should get in venues.

Frictionless Service
Fan Journeys First

Investing in frictionless initiatives has become more of a priority. The implementation of technologies under this trend will add to the concept of seamless fan journeys and experiences.

Digital Sustainability
Design With the Future in Mind

Increased stakeholder concern, shift in consumer preferences, and extreme variability in environmental patterns has led to the implementation of technologies in this trend.

360-Degree Fan Experiences
Create Holistic and Engaging Fan Experiences

Fan expectations have risen as they have become increasingly tech-savvy. Venues must consider the unexpected and emerging technology to continue offering experiences that resonate with fan needs.

"Several sports teams are ready for new or upgraded stadiums and could invest more than $10 billion for development by 2030." – CNBC, 2022.

Download the High-Value Fan Experiences Trend Report to learn more

Industry drivers heavily impact modernization projects

Familiarize the business with the following drivers, as a holistic understanding of how they impact venues on an industry level is crucial before implementing any trending modernization projects.

Business Growth:

  • Drives sustainable growth
  • Diversifies methods of generating revenue
  • Increases the business market reach
  • Improves the profitability/margins of the organization

Risk & Resilience:

  • Mitigates and withstands rapid changes across the IT landscape
  • Secures guest information while protecting brand assets
  • Easily integrates with current technologies, projects, and strategies
  • Readily adopted by both fans and employees/associates

Operational Excellence:

  • Provides transparency in the flow of value to the fan
  • Empowers associates and promotes teamwork
  • Improves responsiveness in problem solving

Fan Value:

  • Surprises and delights associates and fans
  • Connects associates with fans on a personal level
  • Focuses on enhancing efficiency and convenience
  • Creates high engagement with fans, new and different experiences.

Brand Impact:

  • Readily available technology
  • Enables first-to-market or unique market positioning
  • Positive reputation and awareness of organization.

Value Drivers

  • Business Growth
  • Risk & Resilience
  • Fan Value
  • Brand Impact
  • Operational Excellence

Revolutionize the in-venue experience

  • The way fans consume different forms of entertainment is very different in today's world. On-demand streaming services, social media, and other digital platforms are popular forms of immersive experience fans can have with their favorite sports teams, artists, or idols, causing in-venue experiences to lack attendance. As some may blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the lack of in-venue attendance, it is important to understand that is only one part of the problem.
  • Most venues are dated, causing the fan experience and journey to lack excitement and hyper-personalization, while having too many friction points, where fans would rather stay in the comfort of their home. Additionally, empty venues cause an absence of energy, impacting the appeal of live events and TV viewership.
  • Developing unmatched experiences to remain competitive in the world of entertainment is crucial. Modernizing the venue to meet fan expectations will be a key component to competing in this era of events. In order to meet fan expectations through venue modernization, venue operators must understand their fan base and what their interests and behaviors are.
  • To do this effectively, data will be a critical component to segment fans into their respective groups, such as fanatics. When venue operators have a better understanding of what type of fans they have, they will be able to invest in hyper-personalized experiences that resonate with them, resulting in higher spending, better experiences, and higher rates of attendance and/or viewership.
  • One of the most difficult parts is capturing actionable data the venue can use to create hyper-personalization. There are various ways to achieve this, such as using:
    • Unique fan IDs
    • Smart sensors
    • Mobile application opt-ins
    • Facial recognition data (if permitted)
    • Crowd intelligence
    • POS and ticketing systems

"NFL and NBA final viewership levels have decreased by 50%-65% being the lowest in 15 years." – Samsung, 2021.

Info-Tech Insight

Increased data acquisition enables hyper-personalized experiences that can improve the fan journey and experience, encouraging higher attendance rates and spending.

"MSG networks experienced a 9% drop in their subscriber base leaving a mark in their 2022 revenues." – Sportico, 2022.

Modernization is an element of the holistic fan experience strategy

Optimize fan journeys

Venue operators should digitally transform the entire fan journey to provide seamless, exciting, and unforgettable moments when looking to modernize the venue. Keep the 360-degree fan journey in mind when prioritizing modernization projects.

Maximize efficiency with a holistic operational system

Think how the business can maximize the space and usage for various event types to improve efficiency levels, for multi-purpose buildings. For example, allowing for configurable infrastructure, such as flexible seating, will increase the types of events the venue can hold resulting in higher revenues.

Innovative sustainability should be a priority

Many venues are working toward reducing their carbon footprint out of concern for climate change. Additionally, many modern venues being built today are mindful of the impact they have on the environment, and accordingly, climate action projects are being built into the architecture during construction. However, older venues do not have the same architecture as modern venues, but investing in green technology that would improve the carbon footprint should be a priority for the business, as the quality of life outside of sports and entertainment should not be compromised in return for excitement.

360-Degree Fan Journey

  1. Before the event
    • Let the fans plan ahead
  2. Inside the venue
    • Make fans feel like VIPs
  3. During the event
    • Anticipate a shift in standard expectations
  4. After the event
    • Provide at-home excitement
  5. Beyond the venue
    • Extend your reach

Info-Tech Insight

The technology needed to address climate change already exists. Using this technology to improve quality of life is critical, as the future should not be compromised, but rather made more enjoyable and healthier. As an industry, we should work toward this goal together.

Consider the business risks and issues that impact modernization

Modernize when and where it is appropriate

Organizations are often worried that modernization will risk business continuity and not generate the value or ROI wanted, which can outweigh the potential benefits, causing organizations not to go forward with modernization. This may be the best option for some areas of consideration, such as certain legacy applications.

Know the constraints

Certain areas of consideration for modernization may not be flexible enough to move or adjust certain business processes. It's important to determine what areas of the business have the tolerance to change.

Develop realistic expectations

Validate the modernization projects against other departments, current business processes, and digital goals to accredit the modernization projects and goals as achievable and to avoid stakeholder disappointment.

Service culture and delivery

Fans that come to the venue for any event will expect a highly satisfying experience overall. Therefore, the decisions the organization makes in relation to fan experience and service delivery will determine the success in engaging fans to continue visiting the venue. Consider the following experiential elements that may affect the overall experience, engagement, and behaviors of the fans:

  • Network quality
  • Amenities
  • VIP services
  • Suite quality
  • Comfortable seating
  • In-venue food and beverage options
  • Cleanliness and curb appeal of venue
  • Overall service and experience
  • Mobile application (digital tickets, etc.)

Know the business

Take into consideration the classification the organizations falls under. Every organization is different in:

  • Size of venue
  • Age of venue
  • Initiatives
  • Priorities
  • Fan demographics
  • Funding challenges
  • Venue location

Info-Tech Insight

When the organization takes all aspects of the business into account, it enables a holistic strategy where failure is unlikely to happen, allowing projects such as venue modernization to be viewed as a successful value and revenue driver, rather than as a cost center.

Consider the IT risks and issues that impact modernization

The viability for any digital modernization project is highly dependent on the maturity of the IT department. It is important to measure and assess IT maturity as "simple" projects may be more complex than expected. The organization must be conscious of the possible risks that may occur and put strong processes in place to remain resilient. To assess the organization's IT digital maturity, consider using Info-Tech's Digital Maturity Improvement Service.

Build resilience in IT security and infrastructure to improve…

  • IT Security – Satisfaction that organizational devices and data are properly secured.
  • Network and Infrastructure – Satisfaction with reliability of communication systems and networks.
  • Privacy and Compliance – Consider what modernizing certain areas of the venue means for identity and access management, as well as for customer records and privacy, especially when it comes to data protection and privacy compliance laws (e.g. GDPR, PIPEDA, CPPA, DPA, PCI, SOX, ADA).

Info-Tech Insight

Digital modernization projects will require superior IT security and network services and will therefore increase the importance of the organization's IT security and network function. Depending on IT's maturity, this could positively or negatively affect business stakeholder and fan satisfaction.

Enhance data and analytics governance to improve…

  • Analytical Capability – Satisfaction with effective standard reports, custom reports capability, and the ability to generate business insights.
  • Data Quality – Put policies, processes, and capabilities in place to ensure that appropriate targets for data quality are set and achieved to match the needs of the business.
  • Data Governance – Consider data governance and how your organization will classify data and leverage BI tools.
  • Data Resiliency and Hygiene – Put into place processes protecting and optimizing data to recover quickly from risks with high performance.

Info-Tech Insight

Business stakeholders must understand the value of data and analytics in making the right decisions. Satisfaction must be improved, as hyper-personalization and fan identification will require modernization through automation and real-time data and analytics to maximize the fan experience.

Determine if the business has limitations regarding enabling modernization technologies

Acknowledge the following foundational elements needed to enable a modernized venue. If the business has limitations around one or more of these elements, understand why and determine how the business will overcome or implement them.


Two important connectivity methods are 5G and Wi-Fi 6, as many modernization projects in the venue will require a strong technology infrastructure. This will require venues to provide free Wi-Fi to fans to further the fan experience and engagement, since Wi-Fi continues to be a top priority for fans. Additionally, Wi-Fi will become increasingly necessary to venue operators due to the implementation of advanced technologies such as IoT, data, analytics, and AI/ML.


IoT is a constellation of connected devices with embedded sensors providing real-time information to an application layer. IoT describes the enhanced connectivity we now experience with everyday devices and appliances that would not typically boast such capabilities. From hyper-personalized fan experiences to a reduced ecological footprint, there are many reason why venues should consider using IoT technology.

Big Data and Analytics

Big data is rapidly increasing amounts of data generated by multiple sources in many formats. To gain actionable insights, the data must be analyzed. Venues can capitalize on the information about fans to drive business decisions, make the fan experience engaging, and improve the working conditions for associates. Both IoT and AI/ML depend on big data to function at optimal levels.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI and ML perform tasks mimicking human intelligence, where the structure of this technology is inspired by the human brain. Dependent on data and algorithms, and learning from its own experience, AI and ML can take information to identify patterns and problem solve. The sports and entertainment industry can use this technology for a variety of items, such as wayfinding.

Data and integration are critical to enabling a modern venue

The modernization of a venue relies heavily on high-quality data and integration. Ensuring the data the organization collects is accurate, maintained, usable, and integrated into the appropriate systems will help eliminate duplicate data and allow easier decision making, create better understanding of fan behaviors, and properly enable modern technology for more effective projects.

If data is isolated, it will quickly become stale. Getting up-to-date data to the right place at the right time is where data-centric integration is needed in the sports entertainment industry. This is a crucial component for success.

Systems that should be integrated with modernization projects will vary; however, common systems are those that collect data on fans such as the CRM and/or CDP to enable data-driven decision making around fan experiences and engagement.

Refer to Info-Tech's Off-Field Data Reference Architecture to learn more about data collection and integration, used to enable hyper-personalized fan experiences.

The data on the right side of this slide indicates the importance and satisfaction metrics for sports, arts, and leisure (SAL) IT services. Highlighted services have been described as important to create effective modernization projects. Those highlighted in red indicate lower satisfaction and importance rankings to the business, where efforts to improve these results are critical for venue modernization.

Consider analyzing the businesses IT services and stakeholder satisfaction before venue modernization through the CIO Business Vision Diagnostic.

IT Service Satisfaction Benchmark (SAL) Importance Benchmark (SAL) Importance Benchmark (All Industries)
Service Desk 84.80% 3 3
IT Security 84.40% 2 2
Work Orders 81.80% 10 10
IT Policies 78% 12 12
Network & Comm. Infrastructure 77.60% 1 1
End-User Devices 76.60% 4 6
Requirements Gathering 74.70% 13 13
Projects 74.50% 11 11
Business Applications 73.60% 5 5
Data Quality 73.50% 6 4
IT Innovation & Leadership 73.30% 7 9
Client-Facing Technology 69.70% 8 7
Analytical Capability & Reporting 67.20% 9 8

Source: Info-Tech's Sports, Arts, and Leisure IT Stakeholder Satisfaction Benchmarking Report.

Evaluate where the business is on its modernization journey

Venue modernization is about delivering modern fan needs through technology. The best approach for truly transforming the venue through modernization is to start with the digital and business strategies of the organization. If the organization is missing these strategies, Info-Tech suggests that the business take a step back from venue modernization to complete the digital business strategies first. Visit Info-Tech's Modernization Research Center to learn more about the complete process of modernization.

It's important to consider the look and feel of your venue before going into technological modernization. First impressions last a lifetime, so it's paramount that the venue is a clean and attractive space. As much as technology can challenge industry norms and impact the drivers, fans would not even consider visiting the venue if the space is not comfortable, which would make any modernization investments go to waste.

"We're a 20-year-old stadium. It presents some interesting challenges in terms of transforming it into a modern arena."
– Maheta Molango, CEO of Real Mallorca, Son Moix Stadium.
Sports Venue Business, 2019.

"New and revised stadiums could be smaller than current ones but are likely to include high-tech enhancements."
– CNBC, 2022.

Consider if a new venue is the best option to meet modernization standards

  • It's critical that you invest in the right modernization projects to minimize risk and guide the organization forward. That being said, starting from scratch with a new venue rather than modernizing the current venue may be a better option for the business in order to meet the needs and wants of internal and external stakeholders.
  • In order to mitigate the risk and drive greater value to the business, you must consider all possible options to achieve business satisfaction.
  • The challenge is not the individual modernization projects, but rather maximizing the overall ROI of the high-cost modernization strategy. Time, money, and the overall final project are the most critical factors to consider when making this decision.

Consider the following criteria when deciding whether to invest in a new venue or modernize the current venue

Investing in modernization of current venue


  • Typically less expensive, depending on scope, age, and condition of building
  • Historical buildings offer unique character, history, and experiences for fans


  • Limited in scope, design, and overall vision by the existing structure
  • Multi-phased schedule to limit disruptions to operations and fan experience may be required
  • Older buildings may experience complications during the renovation process, causing hidden costs to arise
  • Ability to secure public funding and deal with the politics surrounding it may be difficult

Info-Tech Insight

Investing in modernization of the current venue is best for organizations that are looking for a faster and less expensive renovation to their existing venue, continuing to meet the organization's needs while advancing the space through various modernization projects.

Investing in new venue


  • Construction work and business operations stay separate, creating no disruptions to daily operations and fan experiences
  • The organization will have more control over the modernization project design, architecture, appeal, and vision
  • Lower likelihood of having unforeseen building conditions leading to hidden costs
  • Easier to meet business goals in terms of modernization and revenue


  • Overall project can take long, depending on the vision and concept of the venue
  • Ability to secure public funding and deal with the politics surrounding it may be difficult
  • May be more costly, due to purchasing materials for an entire building and associated building costs such as permits\

Info-Tech Insight

Investing in a new venue is best when the organization is looking to start from scratch to meet a new vision or develop a unique building when given the time and budget to support the lengthy construction process.

Explore each modernization journey

This is an image of the Digital Strategy Modernization Journey, categorized into ROI-Driven, Core Categories for Modernization, and Industry-specific categories for venue modernization.

Benefits of venue modernization

Fan Benefits

Business Benefits

IT Benefits

  • Continuous fan satisfaction despite team performance. When fans are engaged throughout the entire 360-degree fan experience, they will be satisfied whether the team wins or loses, creating loyal fans.
  • Streamline and enhance the entire in-venue experience. With the power of modern technology and innovation, the business will be able to transform every part of the fan experience, creating frictionless fan journeys.
  • Enable hyper-personalized experiences. Engage fans through timely, customized messaging and interactions through mobile connectivity and in-person service.
  • Empower data-driven decision making. Venue operators will have the ability to make more informed decisions using high-quality data, allowing them to understand how resources should be allocated to make key conclusions.
  • Continuously track engagement outside the venue. With the power of data, businesses will be able to track engagement inside the venue to online platforms. This will provide insights to improve fan experience after the event.
  • Enable meaningful and effective sponsorships. Hyper-personalization can bring fans' attention toward partnerships and sponsorships within the venue, increasing revenues in concession stands and merchandise.
  • Minimize costs and increase revenue. Modernizing the venue allows the business to efficiently service fans, manage the technology environment, and meet the needs of the changing industry.
  • Improve efficiency. Eliminate the number of managed services and applications, where streamlining management and data centers is possible with innovation.
  • Improve stability. Legacy systems can be challenging to manage where time being spent to update, manage, integrate, and secure these systems can be minimized when moving to modern applications.
  • Be agile. Modern infrastructure allows IT and the business to deliver on internal and external customer expectations.
  • Enhance security. Modern infrastructure tends to be straightforward, mitigating security risks. While the needs of the business are constantly evolving, this embeds trust in the modern technology being used.
  • Increase data. Innovation technology and infrastructure usually capture more data and information than ever before, enabling data-driven decision making and hyper-personalization.

Measure value, savings, and success with metrics





Superior share of wallet

Share of wallet (SOW)

Improved share of wallet, year over year

  • The average amount a fan spends on one company rather than the competing brands in the same product category
  • SOW = total money spent at one company/total money spent in the category

Effective fan service

Net promoter score (NPS)

With venue modernization, effective fan service should follow, improving the quality of the experience and thus NPS

  • Net promoter score allows organizations to calculate the difference between fans who love and are satisfied with the organization and those who aren't
  • NPS = % of promoters – % of detractors

Strong fan loyalty

Customer loyalty index (CLI)

Strengthen fan loyalty

  • Standardized metric like NPS, where it is derived from surveys and measures the strength of loyalty

Increased engagement

Return on engagement

Engagement shall increase with modern technology and services

  • Return on engagement = (benefits – costs / costs) X 100
  • Annual fan survey

Increased ticket purchases

ROI, modernization pace

Ticket purchases should increase year by year with increased engagement levels through modernization

  • ROI = (net return on investment / cost of investment) X 100
  • Modernization pace = total costs of modernization investments in current year / previous year

Superior fan relationship

Average fan value, average fan lifetime value, churn rate

Relationships with fans should positively increase as a modernized venue should satisfy fan needs and expectations, while collecting data to hyper-personalize experiences

  • Average fan value = average purchase X average purchases in one year
  • Average fan lifetime value = average fan value X average fan lifetime
  • Churn rate = (in-venue fan visits beginning of month – in-venue fan visits end of month) / in-venue fan visits beginning of month

Improved business efficiency and agility

Worth on investment

Real-world value of modernization projects providing a holistic image.

  • Efficiency and agility gains to the business

Source: Qualtrics, n.d.; General Dynamics, 2022.

Prepare the business for the next generation of events

The following use cases are grouped into eight main categories for the sports and entertainment industry.
Each use case is color-coded according to the impacted value drivers to showcase the business effect.

This is a list of the first four main categories for the sports and entertainment industry, color-coded using the following legend: Blue - Business Growth; Purple - Risks and resilience; Orange - Fan Value; Yellow - Brand Impact; Green - Operational Excellence

Prepare the business for the next generation of events

The following use cases are grouped into eight main categories of the sports and entertainment business.
Each use case is color-coded according to the impacted value drivers to showcase the business affect.

This is a list of the fourth to eighth main categories for the sports and entertainment industry, color-coded using the following legend: Blue - Business Growth; Purple - Risks and resilience; Orange - Fan Value; Yellow - Brand Impact; Green - Operational Excellence

Modernizing the State Farm Arena

State Farm Arena – Atlanta, Georgia
Home of the Atlanta Hawks
Impacted Value Drivers: Blue; Orange; Yellow; Green


  • State Farm Arena was looking to upgrade their 20-year-old venue to improve the fan experience and engagement, maximize revenue, and represent Atlanta's culture.
  • Venue operators wanted fans and spectators to spend more time at the venue to maximize efficiency and revenues. Creating a space with personalized and diverse experiences would enable venue operators to make this vision come true.


  • This multi-purpose venue became an innovative center bringing diverse experiences together. The venue currently brings a unique dining experience with local and celebrity partnerships. Providing the first NBA courtside bar and urban redevelopment project connecting Atlanta's neighborhoods.
  • The architecture within the venue drastically changed by removing an existing wall of suites which spanned over four levels. This allowed space to create viewing terraces, multilevel connection points, and open suites to create the Atlanta Social Suite Experience. The design of the venue is detailed with warm wood and hospitality-inspired finishes.
  • State Farm Arena is now one of the most programmed venues in North America, providing engaging experiences while driving maximum efficiency and boosting revenues.


  • $200 million budget
  • 17,000 seats
  • 22-mile loop of trails and parks connecting the venue to surrounding neighborhoods
  • Open concourses
  • 18,000-square-foot Atlanta Social Suite Experience
  • Local partnerships and celebrity connections creating curated dining and service experiences
  • NBA's first courtside bar

Analyst recommendations

  • State Farm Arena is a perfect example of how an organization can increase revenues through venue modernization. It's important to take note of what others have done in the industry to mimic their success into your own organization, as increasing revenues is one of the top reasons venue operators decide to modernize.
  • It's important to consider and analyze fan demographics and behaviors as part of the analysis behind every modernization project as well.

Source: HOK, n.d.; Athletic Business, 2018.

Transforming the Footprint Center

Footprint Center – Phoenix, Arizona
Home of the Phoenix Suns & Phoenix Mercury
Impacted Value Drivers: Blue; Orange; Yellow; Green

The problem

  • The 1992 Footprint Center needed a redesign in order to transform fan journeys and experiences while creating a positive impact on the community. The venue's prime location in Phoenix's business district influenced the decision to renovate the building to preserve the history and charm of the venue rather than build new. Additionally, it cost half of what they would have paid for a brand-new venue.

The solution

  • They transformed their venue by removing a large stair tower and reducing the number of seats in the lower bowl. This allowed for improved sightlines in the stands and room for new in-bowl features.
  • Additionally, more premium clubs were created to increase socialization and premium offerings. Food and beverage offerings have significantly improved by using local partnerships to create a new food court and adding grab-and-go markets and concession stands to provide checkout options.
  • The Footprint Center included upgrades to its electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and structural systems to continue its sustainability efforts. These upgrades have significantly reduced the venue's electrical energy consumption, eliminated tons of annual carbon emissions, and reduced water consumption by more than one million gallons annually.


  • $240 million budget
  • America's largest sports bar
  • Immersive 8,500-square-foot LED video board
  • 10,000 square feet of premium clubs
  • Better quality food and beverages through local partnerships creating a new food court
  • Grab-and-go markets and concession stands
  • Implemented high-efficiency mechanical systems, air conditioning systems, and LED lighting to reduce electrical consumption by 5.5 million kWh annually
  • Implementation of low-flow fixtures and new plumbing systems reduced water consumption by more than one million gallons every year.
  • Long-term plans to become an innovation lab for sustainability in partnership with Footprint, possibly setting a new standard for green operations in the industry.

Analyst recommendations

  • The Footprint Center has reimagined the fan experience through innovative design and sustainable practices. From modernizing the venue with technology and new experiences, to improving sustainability efforts, the Footprint Center is a great example of how to modernize an outdated venue to meet today's needs.
  • Consider implementing sustainability efforts like the Footprint Center, as these projects are often overlooked but extremely important to the community and can decrease costs associated with operating the venue.

Source: HOK, 2021; ENR, 2022.

Redesigning the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse – Cleveland, Ohio
Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Impacted Value Drivers: Blue; Purple; Orange; Yellow; Green

The problem

  • Built in 1994, the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse had one main goal to achieve through modernization: optimizing the fan experience as much as possible through technological innovation and transformation that is truly fan centric.

The solution

  • The modernization and innovation of the core of the business allowed them to future-proof and enable their building for the next 20 years, as data centers and distribution centers did not exist back in 1994.
  • Keeping what matters most in mind – the fans – venue operators decided to remove 1,000 seats to make room for the Budweiser Brewhouse, a new dimension to the fan experience where fans can drink, eat, and socialize with each other while the event is going on. Additionally, several new socialization areas were created throughout the venue for fans to use during all types of event.
  • They also created a seamless DVLED tunnel experience designed and implemented with a state-of-the-art surround sound system. This is a popular attraction for fans visiting the venue.
  • According to the SVP CIO at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the organization is experimenting with real-time data to create hyper-personalized experiences for fans as they walk through the tunnel. This experiment is meant to create visually appealing experiences while achieving the gold standard in technology.


  • $185 million budget
  • The Budweiser Brewhouse
  • 22 new meeting rooms, banquet centers, and event spaces
  • 16 new food, beverage, and socialization areas
  • Massive art collection
  • 42,530-square-foot atrium
  • DVLED hyper-personalized tunnel experience

Analyst recommendations

  • With the impressive redesign to reflect fan interests, behaviors, and the overall transformation of fan journeys, the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse creates a new industry benchmark for venue modernization in this era.
  • Observe industry competitors such as the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to remain aware of incumbents in the industry and how you plan to compete. Completing an analysis of the incumbents and disruptors in the business ecosystem will allow the business to remain mindful, competitive, and relevant in the industry.

Source: Forbes, 2019; News 5 Cleveland, 2022.

Creating competitive edge at the Bank of America Stadium

Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina
Home of the Charlotte FCs & Carolina Panthers
Impacted Value Drivers: Blue; Orange; Yellow; Green

The problem

  • Investors in the Bank of America Stadium wanted to provide the perfect environment for the MLS team, Charlotte FC, through the 26-year-old venue. Venue operators viewed various other venues around the world to capture the best ideas, ensuring the experience created through modernization would truly be engaging for fans and players.

The solution

  • To improve the fan experience, venue operators developed a new premium club called The Vault, making room for 250 club fans including 150 field seating options.
  • Additionally, LED displays were installed inside and outside the venue, they upgraded the concourse with state-of-the-art food and beverage service, and they updated the main entrance to improve traffic flow.
  • Beyond the fan experience, venue operators also invested in the player experience by renovating locker rooms and overall amenities players can use. These new amenities will bring more drive and inspiration to the team while offering a competitive advantage. Additionally, a new player tunnel has been built to create a short and direct journey from locker rooms to the field. This tunnel also bisects The Vault, giving club fans a unique experience.


  • $50 million budget
  • Premium club called The Vault
  • LED displays
  • Upgraded concourse, including two taprooms and state-of-the-art food and beverage stations
  • Upgraded main entrance
  • Various POS and touchless kiosks implemented
  • New soccer-specific locker rooms in addition to the football-specific locker rooms
  • Central player tunnel for teams
  • Training/sports medicine suite
  • Player lounge
  • Office suite
  • Additional cameras to enhance television viewing experience and video recording quality

Analyst recommendations

  • The Bank of America Stadium took a different approach to modernizing the venue, where fans and players were both kept in mind during the modernization process.
  • This makes a unique selling point for the venue, maximizing efficiency and revenues, where they have a higher likely of being booked for large soccer events such as FIFA.
  • It's important to distinguish what the main revenue and value driver of the venue is, to decouple that function and do it better than everyone else in the market in order to provide the business with a competitive edge.

Source: HOK, n.d.; Charlotte Football Club, n.d.

Delivering unparalleled experiences at SoFi Stadium

SoFi Stadium – Los Angeles, California
Home of the Los Angeles Rams
Impacted Value Drivers: Blue; Purple; Orange; Yellow; Green

The problem

  • The owner and chairman of the Los Angeles Rams wanted to develop a 298-acre sports and entertainment destination that was worthy of Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world. The project needed to be an iconic venue destination that would work as the centerpiece of the live-work-play development. Additionally, the team was challenged by the federal aviation association due to height regulations as it is only 3 miles away from LAX airport.

The solution

  • The architecture of SoFi Stadium was developed through extensive research into Southern California's industry, architecture, lifestyle, climate, landscape, and geography to develop an authentic expression of the area. The curves of the venue's architecture are meant to symbolize the Pacific Ocean's coastline and waves.
  • The venue's translucent roof, seating bowl, concourses, and landscape were designed to mimic the indoor-outdoor lifestyle in California, while providing the
    same experience as a traditional venue.
  • This is the first indoor-outdoor venue to be designed, and it is the NFL's largest at 3.1 million square feet. The roof canopy connects three venues: the 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium, the 2.5-acre covered outdoor American Airlines Plaza, and a 6,000-seat performance venue. The ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof provides a guaranteed event, rain or shine, with automatic opening and closing.


  • More than $5 billion to build
  • Extensively researched design, developing authentic expression and experience of Southern California
  • Indoor-outdoor venues, creating a dynamic and unique experience
  • Largest venue in NFL history
  • Three venues in one, allowing space to be maximized for major events.
  • ETFE roof
  • 70,000 fixed seats, can expand to 100,000
  • 260 luxury suites
  • 13,000 premium seats
  • 2.5-acre covered outdoor plaza
  • 6,000-seat performance venue
  • 12 premium clubs
  • Seven premium suite experiences
  • Dual-sided elliptical video board with integrated distributed sound system
  • Lake park – outside park and event lawn

Analyst recommendations

  • SoFi Stadium has created an unparalleled experience within LA through its authentic design. As LA is one of the most diverse cities, representing multiple heritages and cultures, the SoFi Stadium represents the LA community perfectly.
  • If building a brand-new venue rather than modernizing an existing one, consider the authenticity the venue should express to those within the community. After all, the community that surrounds a venue is the main target audience and market the business is trying to attract.

Source: HKS, n.d.; BetMGM, 2022.

Realize the importance of optimizing business processes and quickly adapting

The business must measure the true value of every investment, as value and cost are two different things.

ROI is usually focused on the cost-vs.-savings ratio. Typically calculated by taking the total cost savings divided by the total costs to build and implement a solution. Use Info-Tech's Cost-Benefit Analysis Tool to identify the dollar impact projects may have on the business.

Evaluating the worth is a holistic determination of the efficiency and agility gains to the business. This measures the real-world value of modernization and innovation activities, providing a wider view for the organization, extracting the overall value or worth of investments.

  • Efficiency optimizes business processes in order to complete a task or project faster and improve services and fan experience.
  • Agility is the power to quickly adapt to changing business requirements and needs.

Efficiency and agility improve decision-making, as it provides critical thought to the process. Ensure the business is viewing each investment area as a holistic image in terms of value and cost vs. savings.

The estimated time-to-disruption the project will have to the industry is also critical to assess. Determine whether the project will require significant developments to support its entry into the ecosystem and the venue's budget to implement the project.

This is an image of the sports entertainment value stream

Note: illustrative example to showcase high-level impact efficiency and agility can have on the overall business

Download the Sports Entertainment or Sports League Business Reference Architecture to learn more about capabilities

Determine prioritization through a MoSCoW analysis

Assessments based on time, efficiency, and agility will inform the overall impact on the industry and specific organization. This information, when contrasted with the concept of a MoSCoW-based relevance-to-impact analysis, forms an enhanced decision-making framework that can be used to determine project sequencing on a strategic roadmap.

This is an image of the MoSCoW analysis for determining prioritization

Rank projects based on needs:

  1. Project MUST ADDRESS
  4. Project COULD ADDRESS

Look to implement these projects into a modernization strategy.

Determine which projects will have a high impact on the business

This is an image of a MoSCoW analysis used to determine which projects will have a high impact on the business.

Note: illustrative example

1.1 Conduct a MoSCoW analysis

  1. Gather the modernization projects of interest.
  2. Assess the projects based on three lenses of investment:
    1. Timing is the estimated time-to-disruption this project will have to the industry and needed resources.
    2. Efficiency optimizes business processes in order to complete a task or project faster, improve services and fan experience.
    3. Agility is the power to quickly adapt to changing business requirements and needs.
  3. Projects that score high in all three areas are prioritized for the functional roadmap.
Input Output
  • Modernization projects of interest
  • Analyzed modernization projects
Materials Participants
  • Collaboration/brainstorming tool (whiteboard, flip chart, digital equivalent)
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • Senior IT team

"We highly recommend doing market research, get a business plan, and understand what you can raise and how you can pay for [the renovation] over ten years."
– Marcel Ridyard, Director at AFL Architects.
Source: Sports Venue Business, 2019.

Conduct a MoSCoW analysis for projects of interest

This is an image of a template for the worksheet used to perform a MoSCoW analysis for projects of interest.

Note: templated worksheet

Strategize analyzed projects with Info-Tech Tools


Digital Business Strategy

Having a digital business strategy in place with a venue modernization strategy is critical to confidently achieving success.

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Accelerate the Business Case

Creating a business case to receive consensus and buy-in from business executives is a challenge the IT department must overcome in order to begin the modernization process.

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IT Strategy

Align with the business by creating an IT strategy that documents the business context, key initiatives, and a strategic roadmap to drive technology innovation.

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Modernization Research Center

Learn more about modernizing legacy systems, processes, and more if the organization does not feel ready for venue modernization.

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Discover High-Value Fan Experiences Trend Report

With the insights provided in this Sports Entertainment Strategic Foresight Trend Report, making sound decisions about which technologies can provide a competitive edge and generate revenue for those in the sports entertainment industry is possible.

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Accelerate Through Digital Fan Engagement

The decisions needed to create a digital fan engagement strategy for modernization can be accelerated to reduce the amount of time and effort it may take for your organization to create a digital fan engagement strategy from scratch.

Go to this Blueprint


Enable Dynamic Visual Experiences With Digital Signage & IPTV

Determine how the business can create value through the sports entertainment business capability map and how digital signage and IPTV can enhance, improve, or create value as a potential modernization project.

Go to this Blueprint


Drive Fan Experiences and Journeys with Frictionless Checkout

Determine how your business can create value through the sports entertainment business capability map and how a frictionless checkout platform can enhance, improve, or create value as a potential modernization project.

Go to this Blueprint


"Bank of America Stadium Renovations." Charlotte Football Club, n.d. Accessed 28 Nov 2022.
Brown, David M. "Best Project, Sports/Entertainment: Phoenix Suns Footprint Center Renovations." ENR, 31 Oct 2022. Accessed 28 Nov 2022.
"Building NEW Vs. RENOVATING." Horst Construction, 2020. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
"Charlotte FC Unveils New Bank of America Stadium Renovations." ALSD, n.d. Accessed 28 Nov 2022.
Cole, Mike. "Value of Investment: Measuring Impact of Innovation and Modernization." General Dynamics Information Technology, 12 April 2022. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
"Connected Venues" Samsung, 2021. Accessed 31 Oct 2022.
Dammarell, Evan. "With Completed Renovations of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cavaliers Make It Clear How Much They Value Their Fans." Forbes, 21 Oct 2019. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
"Digital Solutions for Operational Efficiency in Stadiums." Samsung, 7 April 2022. Accessed 5 Nov 2022.
"Footprint Center Renovation and Expansion." HOK, 2021. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
"How Much Did SoFi Stadium Cost to Build?" BetMGM, 25 Aug 2022. Accessed 28 Nov 2022.
"Immersive Stadium Technology Redefines the Fan Experience." Samsung, 16 June 2022. Accessed 5 Nov 2022.
Jackson, Eric. "Fans Flock to MSG, Turn off TV as Networks' Revenue Falls 13%." Sportico, 9 Nov 2022. Accessed 10 Nov 2022.
"Renovate With Success: The ROI of Venue Renovations." Sports Venue Business, 14 Nov 2019. Accessed 17 Nov 2022.
Rudder, Jon. "A Look Back at the Renovation of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and What It Means for the All-Star Game." News 5 Cleveland, 18 Feb 2022. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
"SoFi Stadium – An Unrivaled Sports & Entertainment Destination & Homage to Southern California." HKS Inc., n.d. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
"State Farm Arena Renovation." HOK, n.d. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.
"State Farm Arena's $200M Renovation Wows." Athletic Business, 20 Oct 2018. Accessed 28 Nov 2022.
"The Path to Infrastructure Modernization." Copy Cat Group, n.d. Accessed 31 Oct 2022.
"The Ultimate Guide to Customer Loyalty." Qualtrics, n.d. Accessed July 2022.
Young, Jabari. "Sports Teams Are Investing $10 Billion in Stadium by 2030 – Here's How They'll Be Different." CNBC, 8 Jan 2022. Accessed 14 Nov 2022.


Jing Wu
Principal Research Director – Utilities Industry
Info-Tech Research Group

Carlene McCubbin
Principal Research Director – Modernization Research Center
Info-Tech Research Group

Sasha Puric
Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment (HBSE)

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  • Jing Wu, Principal Research Director, Utilities Industry, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Carlene McCubbin, Principal Research Director, Modernization Research Center, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Sasha Puric, CTO, Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment (HBSE)
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