Sports arenas marketing with Apple's iBeacon hope to offer relevant info without 'spamming' fans

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2014
Promoting products to iPhone users using Apple's wireless location-based iBeacon technology is a fine line, as professional sports teams try to provide helpful information to fans to sell more goods without pestering and annoying them.

MLB


Reaching the right balance has been an issue for the National Football League as well as Boston-based Kraft Sports Group, both of which spoke with GigaOm about their adoption of Apple's iBeacon technology. Sports teams hope that iBeacons will allow them to sell more goods and services by targeting interested users, but they also realize overdoing it could potentially turn customers off of iBeacon-based marketing entirely.

"We don't want to inundate the customer with ads," said Jessica Gelman, vice president of customer marketing and strategy for the Kraft Sports Group, which operates the New England Patriots and their arena, Gillette Stadium. "It's no different from the issues we have with spam marketing today --?how to make the information timely, relevant and not obnoxious."

In their current form, iBeacons do require some level of user effort in order to start working. For example, a user must have a specific app installed for local transmitters to connect, and they must have Bluetooth and the appropriate notifications enabled.

To encourage fans to install apps and get engaged, the NFL is providing content to entertain fans during commercial breaks and halftime. In one example, the league is looking to allow fans the chance to participate in halftime shows if they register during the game.

iBeacons use Bluetooth Low Energy technology to communicate with iPhones in close proximity, allowing for location-based features. For example, Apple uses iBeacons at its own retail stores to keep users up to date on in-store happenings, offer easy access to product reviews, and even allowing users to view their iPhone upgrade eligibility or pick up their online order.

Outside of Apple retail, sports stadiums have been among the first to adopt iBeacons, including significant usage from the NFL and Major League Baseball. Some uses for the technology include seat upgrades, location-based interest on points of interest or stadium amenities, and even placing orders for concessions.

Because iBeacon features require the installation of a third-party app, Apple plans to make it easier to install available options with this fall's launch of iOS 8. With iOS 8, users will be able to view location-aware app recommendations directly from their iPhone lock screen, quickly installing them to gain features from nearby businesses.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    If they do start spamming fans they risk the app being deleted so there is a very strong case for app makers to keep that from happening.
  • Reply 2 of 11

    This is so ridiculous. So on top of the notoriously horrible reception most people experience at sports stadiums, they are now going to pester people via Bluetooth while at the game. Brilliant! Oh, don't forget to raise the ticket and concession prices too.

     

    Truly a concept designed with consumer sheeple in mind.

  • Reply 3 of 11
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,481member
    Everyone will disable the spam beacon feature so this is moot.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    larz2112 wrote: »
    This is so ridiculous. So on top of the notoriously horrible reception most people experience at sports stadiums, they are now going to pester people via Bluetooth while at the game. Brilliant! Oh, don't forget to raise the ticket and concession prices too.

    Truly a concept designed with consumer sheeple in mind.

    Not an issue. If there are too many unwanted announcements the user can disable BT, or disable beacons for that app, or delete the app. They are in complete control. This is not like spam from email going to random people to and from every corner of the planet.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    Everyone will disable the spam beacon feature so this is moot.

     

    Not exactly. Almost everyone that reads Apple Insider will probably disable the iBeacon feature and/or never download the app. That's why this concept is tailored to consumer sheeple, the folks who actually think it's a "cool idea". The ones who willingly download the app and register for "the chance to participate in halftime shows" and other such nonsense.

  • Reply 6 of 11
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I don't see people foolishly against Safari Push Notifications they way they are against these location-specific iBeacons.

    larz2112 wrote: »
    Not exactly. Almost everyone that reads Apple Insider will probably disable the iBeacon feature and/or never download the app. That's why this concept is tailored to consumer sheeple, the folks who actually think it's a "cool idea". The ones who willingly download the app and register for "the chance to participate in halftime shows" and other such nonsense.

    Despite your pejorative statement of calling them sheeple if they think it's a cool idea and what to register for giveaways and whatnot they are clearly the target market. Again, the user has complete control over how they receive beacons.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Not an issue. If there are too many unwanted announcements the user can disable BT, or disable beacons for that app, or delete the app. They are in complete control. This is not like spam from email going to random people to and from every corner of the planet.

    My comment was not a concern the evasiveness of the technology but a criticism of the mindset of the corporations involved. Personally this issue will not affect me at all because I rarely turn on Bluetooth and have no plans to use any iBeacon apps. The primary focus of my initial rant was that sports franchises and telcom companies should be be focusing efforts on improving cell reception at stadiums rather than figuring out how to suck even more money out of fans' pockets. The level of greed that drives these major league sports, especially football, is truly in a league of its own (pun intended).

  • Reply 8 of 11
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,760member

    Of course these venues will use this feature for advertising and self-promotion of services. They have little other incentive to offer it otherwise.

     

    We are supersaturated with advertising in the US, so much so that we don't even notice it anymore.

  • Reply 9 of 11
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Larz2112 View Post

     

    sports franchises and telcom companies should be be focusing efforts on improving cell reception at stadiums rather than figuring out how to suck even more money out of fans' pockets. The level of greed that drives these major league sports, especially football, is truly in a league of its own (pun intended).


     

    Those in the sports industry are in business.  Businesses concern themselves with providing products and services of value to their customers.  Customers who value what the business offers choose to give money to the business in return.  If a business seeks ways to provide new value or improve the value of existing offerings, that's not a bad thing.  And if their customers find value in what the business fields, they will buy.  If not, they won't.  A business trying to earn more by being more valuable isn't any more greedy than an employee trying to demonstrate to their boss that they have added value and are therefore worth a raise.  It's a simple value/compensation equation.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Larz2112 View Post

    Oh, don't forget to raise the ticket and concession prices too.


     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_hand

    Businesses tend to charge what the market will bear.  If they charge too much, not enough people will buy and they'll make even less money than if they charged less per ticket.  Give the tickets and nachos away for a song and you'll have high sales and go out of business quickly.  Finding the optimal price point is how consumers assign the actual value to the prices; the business either obeys or makes less money than they could be making, in which case they're not being as valuable as they could be to their customers (either because they put their offerings further out of reach than need be, or because they fail to charge what their offerings are actually worth and so have less capital to continue creating value with either existing or new offerings).

     

    That said, there are plenty of examples of people who have found ways to take advantage of human weaknesses in order to suck money out of peoples' pockets without providing anything of real value (think anything addictive).  These people/businesses I despise.

     

    cheers

  • Reply 10 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,042member
    In a bit of a surprise newer Android devices accessing iBeacons (ie LG G3, Moto G, etc) are more power efficient than iPhone's. That's according to a study from AisleLabs released yesterday. Of course none of the phones are in danger of battery drain using iBeacons so it doesn't matter all that much. Still surprising at least to me tho.

    http://www.aislelabs.com/reports/ibeacon-battery-drain-iphones/#935
  • Reply 11 of 11
    One next low-energy bluetooth tech app focus will no doubt be business to business back-end uses for staff and asset tracking. Basically, using iBeacon standard for %u201Cindoor GPS%u201D with no cell phones (or opt-ins, etc) required at all. For example: http://www.placeforge.com

    Just something else to consider when thinking about future possibilities!
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