IBM announced a global consortium to help modernize sports stadiums around the world. Partners including AECOM, Juniper (JNPR) , Corning (GLW) , Alcatel/Lucent (ALU) , Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) , AT&T (T) , Level 3 (LVLT) , Verizon (VZ) will assist in modernizing more than 250 of the world's sports venues. The consortium will help redesign some of the stadiums with new construction, adding wireless networks and added telecommunications equipment to the sites.
Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM also unveiled a Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice, which will be led by Jim Rushton, who is joining the company after serving as chief revenue officer of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.
"Sports enterprises and venues need to look at ways to get to know their loyal fans as individuals, and convert that fan loyalty into new revenue streams -- not just on game days but 365 days a year," said Rushton in a prepared statement. "It's an ongoing experience that starts when a fan purchases tickets, travels to the venue, attends an event; and it continues well after the event is over."
IBM will be bringing its analytics capabilities, including Watson, which the company has bet heavily on to help transform its declining revenue. IBM will also aid with networking, storage and using its hybrid cloud to allow software to update and speak with other software programs.
This will be the second major sports initiative IBM has entered into as it tries to add to the stadium experience, where fans traditionally have to pay for expensive tickets, parking and concessions, without the comfort, luxury and in some cases the warmth of sitting at home.
IBM partnered with the Arthur M. Blank Sports & Entertainment Group several years ago to help make the new Atlanta Mercedes Benz Stadium, slated to open in 2017, more fan-friendly by bringing in Wi-Fi and video displays, said Jared Miller, chief technology officer at Arthur M. Blank Sports & Entertainment.