Venue technology specialist VenueNext and digital services provider Sidearm Sports have announced a new solution to enhance the fan experience and improve social distancing during sports events held at US colleges and universities.

Sidearm Sports has helped provide more than 1,300 collegiate athletics websites and mobile apps. The new solution will allow athletics departments to embed a new fan-centric platform directly into their existing mobile apps.

Fans will be given access to contactless payments, in-seat ordering and ordering ahead to help colleges comply with new safety standards relating to in-venue concessions and merchandise. An enhanced offering of the solution will give fans the chance win rewards and VIP experiences.

The partnership will call on VenueNext’s mobile point-of-sale solution, called OrderNext, which will support a variety of use cases for contactless ordering and payment within venues.

OrderNext allows guests to shop, order and pay using their personal device without the need for venues to make additional investments in hardware or infrastructure. The solution covers mobile ordering for food and beverages, merchandise, and VIP access and experiences.

The VenueNext mobile wallet will also provide a contactless branded payment platform, including student/fan rewards to drive engagement at the venue.

Sidearm Sports president and chief executive Jeff Rubin, who is also chief digital officer for Learfield IMG College, which acquired Sidearm in 2014, said: “We’re constantly thinking of new ways we can help our school partners use technology to better engage with their fans.

“Now, with college sports on pause and the increased conversation around fan experiences and safety regulations this fall, we’re thrilled to unveil this new platform with VenueNext. We are especially proud to get this started with a storied athletic program like Nebraska.”

VenueNext chief executive Anthony Perez added: “Our collaboration with Sidearm will provide colleges and universities with the tools they need to keep fans safe, comfortable and engaged. Our mobile point-of-sale will allow fans to enjoy the same great experience they’ve always enjoyed but to do so safely and confidently. Sidearm was the perfect partner for us to combine our platforms and offer schools a best-in-class solution at a time when it’s needed most.”

Image: Toniklemm