During the World Series it was a little surprising to walk into a CitiField bathroom and see people charging their phones in the lone outlet by a urinal. The same scenario for the wireless charger-less generation goes on countless times in stadia and arenas, as people more dependent on mobile devise look for some extra juice from behind a counter or near a concession stand. The issue will also continue to grow as teams look to engage people more in-arena via mobile. You don’t want people losing their charge in the middle of a contest or while they are trying to locate a special deal while roaming the concourse do you?
Now while charging can be yet another distraction, it is becoming more of a necessity, and that’s where goCharge, a provider of portable and brandable charging stations comes in. Like dispensers for hand disinfectant and sun screen that some teams use, the charging stations at arenas are quickly becoming a valuable, and monetizable, add on for the fan experience.
goCharge units are now in 27 MLB ballparks, seven NFL stadiums, four NBA arenas and one NHL facility and the PGA Tour and USTA have also put in products for signature events such as the PGA Championship and U.S. Open Tennis Championships, areas where traditional power plug ins are rare at ROI for a sponsor can be high.
This season, according to a recent Sports Business Daily story, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana are providing their fans with charging stations at Quicken Loans Arena and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Cavs dispersed 22 high-top tables with four sets of three cords apiece (iPhone 4; iPhone 5/6; MicroUSB) throughout The Q, while the Pacers added three lockers, each with 10 cubbies for peoples’ devices.
Right now the estimate is that 5-10% of fans in attendance are expected to use the charging stations, with an average of 15-20 minutes. That is a good amount of captive time for brands to engage, with the Cavs’ tables sponsored by FirstEnergy. A soon-to-be-implemented technology will allow for just six minutes of power until users answer sponsor-created survey questions, at which point 45 minutes will be tacked on. As more and more mobile-first initiatives come about, and until plug ins can be delivered to seats and suites directly, the charging stations can gain value in arena and stadium, and given the high cost of attending elite events, can be a solid add-on for the fan experience.
Once again a category not available just a few years ago, becomes new territory for the tech and the brand space, all trying to get the fans juiced on the devices so they can go back and be juiced about the competition.