Below is a news summary by Christopher Westrich, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.
(from Sports Business Journal, April 23, 2012)The Sprint Center, an arena located in Kansas City, Missouri, has just had a new mobile application developed. Carbonhouse, a Charlotte tech firm, recently launched the app for the Sprint Center, which is managed by AEG Facilities. Carbonhouse is a leading developer of arena websites, and they also developed the website for the Sprint Center. The arena’s only main tenant is the Arena Football League’s Kansas City Command. The arena gets a lot of business through bringing in a wide array of event such as concerts, college basketball tournaments, ice-skating exhibitions, and many other events.
Mobile apps have been around in sports, however, the difference here is that usually major league teams and leagues have control over the app. Most of the information on the app pertains to that professional team, not the venue they play in. According to a Smartphone search for venue applications of arenas around the country, less than half a dozen big-league arenas have developed apps apart from their anchor tenant of an NBA or NHL team.
According to Brenda Tinnen, the Sprint Center’s General Manager and Senior Vice President, the mobile phone service provider and arena naming-rights holder Sprint, helped drive the need to develop an app for the five-year-old arena. Sprint signed a one-year presenting sponsorship for the app. Arena officials wouldn’t disclose the value but Sprint’s deal does cover the $7,000 investment. In return, the app lists all 34 Sprint phone stores in the greater Kansas City area and has Google Map directions to every location. The app runs on both iPhone iOS and Android software.
A benefit from the app is how projected revenue from sponsorships to selling tickets through it is expected to grow from $69,000 this year to $202,000 by 2014. The app connects ticket buyers to Axs, AEG’s new ticketing system. Sprint Center is AEG’s first venue to use the in-house ticketing platform. Carbonhouse designs apps to fit arena budgets and can develop them for as little as $1,000, said Brandon Lucas, one of the firm’s partners. On the other end, apps can run as high as $100,000, depending on the vendor and the level of sophistication. In the upcoming years, this is an industry that will continue to grow and one that venues will need to tap into to. Carbonhouse already has some competition in the industry and it is only going to become more intense.