Digital Concessions Could Be the Next Innovation in Sports Tech

Conor Cawley

Sports and technology are bound to each other for life. With their mutually universal appeal and their consistent push towards innovation, these two lucrative businesses are a match made in heaven. One provides a global platform to test the other, while both enjoy the unending success and funding that come with producing something people love. And sports tech doesn't seem like it's going to stop any time soon.

We spoke with the Michelle Palmer, the president of sports and experiential at The Marketing Armabout the future of sports tech and what we can expect to see in stadiums, on courts, and around athletes in games to come. She emphasized that technology and sports are rarely done for the sake of innovation. Sports and technology are integrated into each other to benefit the players, the coaches and the fans.

“In sports, whether it be for entertainment, information, or utility, ‘better; means things like: Better athlete performance through connected wearables that deliver performance data. Better safety protection via newly created shock-absorbing materials for helmets and equipment.”

Perhaps the most interesting sentiment in our interview with her was her next suggestion for a world free of concession lines and missed home-runs.

“Better venue experiences via technology that allows you to order and receive concessions at your seat, or technology in stadium that interacts with your mobile device so you can digitally cheer for your team and share it with the crowd.”

I'm sorry, are you telling me that I can have a frothy, ice-cold beer, a tray of nachos, and a bundle of hot dogs delivered to my seat in the stadium? Because that's enough innovation to make me buy season tickets to the Chicago Cubs right now. Can you imagine it? No crowded concourses, no aggressive patrons, and most importantly, no stepping over the guy next to you to get out of your seat every 15 minutes, all thanks to sports tech.

After doing a little research, I found that there are some startups looking to tackle this unending issue in sports spectatorship. SnagMobile, for example, is a New York-based startup that makes it as easy as possible to order at the ballpark. With minor league venues under their belt in New York and Ohio already, there is no telling how long it will take major league teams to bring simple concession purchasing to their stadiums. Bypass and Yorder are two other startups making noise in the easy concessions game, making for a race to the finish for beers and nachos in your seat.

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Conor is the Senior Writer for Tech.co. For the last four years, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.