Sports Teams Go Big On Beacons: In 93% Of MLB Stadiums, 53% Of NBA Arenas

The Internet of Things is very much about determining precise consumer location, and sensors such as beacons are helping that along more every day.

There are now about 8 million sensors in the marketplace, with the majority of them being beacons, according to a new global market tally.

The report comprises data aggregated from 330 companies that work with beacons and input details of their beacon usage into a database maintained by Unacast, a beacon data platform company.

Of the sensors, 6 million are beacons and 2 million are NFC sensors, with the number increasing 33% just from the first quarter of this year to the second.

We’ve written a lot about beacons at retail here but another major use is in professional sports. Here’s the breakdown of sports locations already with beacons deployed:

  • 93% -- Major League Baseball stadiums
  • 75% -- National Football League stadiums
  • 53% -- National Basketball Association arenas
  • 47% -- National Hockey League arenas

One of the drivers of beacons in sports is the opportunity to gain new revenue streams.

Some sports teams with beacons have seen a return on investment as high as 40% from incremental merchant revenues alone in the first year, according to Unacast.

Sports and conference venue owners also increase app adoption by as much as six times after using location technologies, according to the report.

Teams using the location technology include the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Orlando Magic reportedly saw more than $1 million in increased ticket sales, 30% app adoption and a 233% increase in Fast Break Pass sales from last season.  More than 80% of season ticket holders are reported to have used the app.

Beacons in retail stores are still a big deal, since shoppers finally can be more precisely located so that more relevant messaging can be sent and more accurate location behavior tracked.

But in those cases, it’s more about one shopper at a time.

In sports stadiums, it’s more about thousands in one location, who all are doing essentially the same thing.

In addition to using beaconing to help sell more tickets, they’re opening new avenues for sports teams to communicate with fans, while they’re in their seats or on the way by a concession stand.

And those tend to be big beacon numbers.


The world of wearables will be discussed in detail at the coming MediaPost IoT Marketing Forum Aug. 3 in New York. Check out the agenda here.

2 comments about "Sports Teams Go Big On Beacons: In 93% Of MLB Stadiums, 53% Of NBA Arenas".
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  1. Willis Omondi from Vanilla investment, July 28, 2016 at 11:40 a.m.

    Sounds like a good marketing device especially for the sports teams. Keeps the real fans involved.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, July 28, 2016 at 12:03 p.m.

    Right, Willis, and helps with streamlining ticket sales and concession stand activity.

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