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Digital signage engaging US sports fans

NHL side Minnesota Wild are the latest sports club in the US to invest in digital signage as a method of boosting fan engagement during live matches.

The wide-scale installation, which comprises 538 high-definition (HD) displays covering the ice hockey team's Xcel Energy Center concourse, entrances, luxury suites and food and drink kiosks, gives fans an opportunity to view the match and other NHL matches once they have stepped out of the main viewing arena.

Like retail brands such as KFC and food establishments operating in many UK service stations, Minnesota Wild has digitised its menu boards – 100 in total – in an effort to tempt fans into purchases with HD-quality content. Meanwhile, 40 video walls and hundreds of other HD displays play customised footage related to the team and its sponsors.

The NHL franchise worked with Toshiba, using its Ellumina line technology for the installation. Toshiba is also behind the digital signage deployment at Los Angeles-based sporting venue Staples Center, which is home to hockey team LA Kings and basketball side LA Clippers.

Commenting on the Minnesota project, Bill Melo, Toshiba America Business Solutions chief marketing executive, said: “Upon learning about the fervent nature of Wild fans, we understood the importance of creating a digital video environment in which to augment their experience.

“After gaining an understanding of what Jim and his team envisioned, we coupled HD technology with the relevant content Wild fans desire to keep them in tune with the action on the ice at Xcel Energy Center – and rinks throughout the NHL – we believe we have fulfilled this objective.”

Research group IHS released a study in the summer, which predicted that digital signage revenue is set to grow by 10% year on year in 2015 and a further 7% in 2016. The organisation's Digital Signage Industry Market Tracker indicated that, as the total cost of the technology, continues to decrease each year, expanded deployment is becoming more feasible for a variety of industry sectors.

Essential Retail understands that European shopping centre owner Hammerson is one business currently working on a wide-scale digital signage project in relation to its properties in the UK, as it continues to look at ways to increase customer dwell time and drive value for its tenants. More details of the initiative are set to be announced in the coming months.

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