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Fan Experience

Mercedes-Benz Stadium debuts ATL Market, self-ordering tech launches at OVO Hydro

Secondary Image: OVO Hydro

Featured image credit: AMB Sports + Entertainment

Secondary Image: OVO Hydro

Featured image credit: AMB Sports + Entertainment

Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) has become the latest major US venue to debut a frictionless retail experience, while Glasgow’s OVO Hydro arena has enhanced its fan experience claims with the introduction of a self-ordering solution.

ATL Market, a new checkout-free ‘grab and go’ market allows fans to tap/insert/swipe their credit/debit card or phone to enter the store, select preferred food or beverage items and exit with no checkout required.

Located on the 100 concourse between Sections 123-124 of the home of NFL franchise the Atlanta Falcons and MLS team Atlanta United, ATL Market will seek to provide an autonomous, tech-enabled marketplace offering fans a seamless purchasing experience while also delivering operational efficiencies to the organisation. 

Market offerings include variety of packaged drinks, snacks, and fan-friendly priced concessions items. The long-term goal is to expand the frictionless food and beverage footprint within MBS to other areas of the stadium and potentially integrate other stadium experiences to a checkout-free model. 

“The ATL Market is our latest advancement in furthering the fan experience,” said Gordon Barfield, vice-president of strategy and business development for AMB Sports and Entertainment, parent company of MBS and its two teams. 

“Our organisation’s focus remains on elevating the fan experience and innovation is key to creating those seamless experiences that keep our fans happy and coming back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. We always strive to create a world-class experience and are excited for all the possibilities that new technologies can offer for future opportunities.”

Frictionless retail is becoming a growing trend amongst US sports venues. Earlier this month, Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena became the latest major venue to incorporate Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

Two new grab and go locations in the shape of Bud Light Seltzer Market and the Michelob Ultra Market, opened on the main concourse of the home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers, the NHL’s LA Kings and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, between sections 105 and 108.

The Crypto.com Arena launch came after Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field last month became the first college sports venue to debut Just Walk Out.

OVO Hydro embraces self-ordering

Meanwhile, the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), of which OVO Hydro is part, has teamed up with catering partners Levy UK + Ireland to debut a fleet of self-ordering 18 kiosks.

The SEC said the venture is one of the first of its kind to launch in a UK live entertainment venue, with a focus on enhancing guest experience and speed of service for every visitor.

Initially launching on level two of the arena, the kiosks will replace the traditional bar service, with guests able to order from the terminals and collect their drinks from the six collection points. Guests will also be able to reorder a second round of drinks to collect later in the evening.

This new technology is the latest in a number of partnerships between the SEC and Levy UK+I. Earlier this year, they joined together with other venue partner, OVO Energy, to launch a reusable cup scheme which has eliminated single use plastic from the venue, saving around two million single use plastic cups per year. They’ve also joined forces to work on a sustainable food strategy to reduce food waste and serve lower carbon food across the Campus.

All of this contributed to the OVO Hydro in April being announced as the first arena in the world to achieve A Greener Arena (AGA) certification for its commitment to sustainability.

Debbie McWilliams, SEC’s director of live entertainment, said: “As one of the busiest entertainment venues in the world, we are always looking for innovative solutions to support us in delivering the best guest experience.

“The introduction of the self- ordering kiosks means audiences will experience quicker service allowing more time to enjoy the shows.”

Levy UK chief operating officer, Matthew Lewis, added: “As a business Levy UK+I is all about improving the guest experience and we pride ourselves in utilising technology to help achieve this.

“We have seen the success of self-order units in the stadia world and believe that OVO Hydro customers deserve to enjoy the same innovations. Technological enhancements continue to drive and improve the customer journey across our venues and we’re really excited with the continued transformations across SEC venues.”