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NHL Fan Experience Differentiators That Improve Attendance

NHL Fan Experience: Differentiators That Improve Attendance

  • The NHL sold over 22 million tickets in the 22/23 season, and those numbers are only going up.
  • To maintain growth, teams will have to keep exploring new ways to deliver a sensational fan experience both on and off the ice. 
  • Facial authentication software makes it faster than ever for fans to navigate arenas and purchase concessions—and that means higher revenues for NHL teams. 

The 2022-23 season was a massive success for the National Hockey League, breaking their previous attendance record with over $22.4 million in ticket sales. It’s an incredible achievement that’s a testament to the investment teams have made in creating an unparalleled live game experience for their fans. 

However, while the cheers are louder than ever before, venue operators, franchises, and the league as a whole will need to continue building on their momentum. Teams know it’s not just about the game; it’s about creating an NHL fan experience that is unmatched anywhere else in the sports industry. That means delivering an immersive, interactive, and cutting-edge technology-driven thrill ride that makes every aspect of a trip to the rink more exciting and easy to navigate.

The fact is, dedicated fanatics who aren’t content to watch the game on TV flock to the ice because their team delivers a live event that simply can’t be missed. The best franchises are constantly adding value to the price of a ticket through innovative strategies that differentiate them from any of their industry peers. Here are some of the top ways teams around the league are boosting the NHL fan experience and driving attendance numbers to the net. 

In-Arena Video Enhancement

Fans are drawn to the live game because there’s no substitute for the incredible audio and visual extravaganza it provides, and the NHL has invested significantly in state-of-the-art in-arena video technologies. Giant LED screens strategically placed throughout the arena showcase high-definition replays, player highlights, and crowd interactions, creating an electric atmosphere in the sports arena.

These innovative strides are made even more reliable and faster by their multi-year partnership with Verizon. The league teamed up with them to transform the in-arena NHL fan experience through 5G technology and mobile edge computing (MEC). 

The result is a vast network of HD screens throughout hockey arenas that ensure fans never have to miss a moment of the action regardless of where they go. A trip to the concession stand no longer means hoping you don’t miss a critical play. In conjunction with accelerated self-checkout stations powered by technologies like Wicket’s facial authentication, fans will never lack a smile or miss a moment of the action. 

VIP/Premium Seating Packages

The NHL offers VIP and premium seating packages for fans who seek a more luxurious and personalized in-arena experience. These offers include access to VIP lounges, private suites, meet-and-greet sessions with players, and even autographed hockey pucks from former and current stars. 

By providing these upscale options, the NHL caters to fans who desire a higher level of comfort and exclusivity, further diversifying the in-arena experience and attracting a broader audience.

Facial Authentication to Shorten Lines and Wait Times

One of the top opportunities to enhance the NHL fan experience is through facial authentication solutions—an innovative technology that allows arena operators to drastically reduce lines for ticketing and concessions as well as streamline internal processes like employee access. 

Facial ticketing provides guests with swift and seamless admissions to the hockey arena so they aren’t bogged down before the first buzzer even sounds. These biometric ticket lanes can verify both individuals and groups with a single smile, allowing fans to get into the action up to four times faster than traditional processes. These lanes also take up 75% less space and can save teams up to $8000 per lane per season. 

Facial authentication also reduces wait times at concession and merch stations. Because payment information can be linked to a guest’s facial profile when they opt in, all it takes to grab your favorite food and drinks and get back to the game is a quick glance at a tablet. Long wait times are an ongoing complaint from fans who are missing out on the game they paid to see, and by accelerating lines, vendors have the potential to dramatically increase trips guests are willing to make to their kiosks.

Finally, facial authentication makes it easy for players, coaches, the press, and staff to quickly clear access points. It saves arena operators time and overhead and eliminates the possibility of a lost credential interfering with creating the ultimate NHL fan experience. 

Wicket: a Power Play for the NHL Fan Experience

Wicket’s facial authentication software offers NHL franchises a rare opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and deliver a hassle-free experience for their avid spectators. Their industry-leading platform can go live in as little as 30 days to start shortening lines at ticketing and concessions while putting a smile on guests’ faces along the way. 

The NHL fan experience is unparalleled in sports and entertainment, and Wicket’s technology will keep fanatics and first-timers flocking to games for generations to come for the can’t-miss live action their home ice delivers. Contact Wicket today to schedule a demo of what facial authentication can do to take your attendance to the next level. 

About Wicket

Wicket Software is a privacy-first facial authentication platform provider with patented computer vision AI technology that enables sensational event experiences for fans, guests, and employees with frictionless touchpoints that delight users and strengthen security.

Wicket has been in use since 2020 and deployed for facial ticketing, credentialing, access control, and payments in numerous sports stadiums, at major conferences, and in corporate office environments.

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