High-touch tech

How One College Is Using Tech to Grow Sports Beyond Football:

When the Ole Miss Rebels return to their 26-year-old ballpark in Oxford, Mississippi, this afternoon, the Southeastern Conference college baseball club and its fans will be sharing space with a decidedly modern technology: mobile tracking beacons.

The small devices are becoming ubiquitous in major league facilities, but the University of Mississippi’s athletics department — which has built up its marketing team significantly in the past few years — is the first SEC school employing them, not only to streamline foot traffic but to enhance its rewards program and spur interest in less-popular sports at a school where football dominates.

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For this season, Swayze Field has 21 beacons placed strategically at all entrances and exits, concession stands, merch stores and restrooms. The system, operated by Spark Compass, a mobile marketing platform from Total Communicator Solutions, will help track fan movement at the games, showing how long people stay to watch the action and where lines are forming.

“The seating area is critical…. It gives us the most accurate dwell time,” said Mr. Thompson, a primary catalyst in upgrading the three-year old Rebel Rewards program from one involving staff scanning tickets to a mobile system that produces foot traffic heat maps and other data in real-time.

And now an important question: How are you using this to better serve your customers? That should be the first, middle and last question you ask. Chuck Martin, one of those good Twitter follow types, spends a lot of time thinking about beacons and was just recently writing about this.

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