Feature Article

December 08, 2008

New York Yankees to Use GuestAssist for Fans-Staff Communications at New Stadium

Weeks after announcing that the world’s largest maker of computer gear would make their new home the most wired, connected and video-enabled ballpark in baseball, the New York Yankees reportedly are turning to a Houston, Texas-based Web communications service to boost safety, security and guest services.
The Bronx Bombers say they’ll have GuestAssist from QTags ready when the “new” Yankee Stadium opens on April 9, 2009, across the street from the current, storied ballpark at 161st St. and Jerome Ave. in the Bronx.
According to Lonn A. Trost, the Yanks’ chief operating officer, GuestAssist is the clear industry leader in stadium communication services, with a proven track record in facilities across the National Football League.
“We believe it will make a big difference in our guest services, enabling us to provide the best possible experience for Yankees fans watching their team play in Yankee Stadium,” Trost said.
Specifically, the solution provides a text message code that will permit fans to send questions, concerns or requests via their mobile phones to Yankee Stadium’s so-called “Command and Control Center.” The number will be communicated to fans through Stadium signage, public address announcements and other means, company officials say.
Here’s what the solution looks like:
One advantage of the solution is that a single staff member can handle and respond to incoming requests through GuestAssist’s software interface. The operator can send reply messages directly to the fan’s phone to answer questions or obtain more information, and, if necessary, can quickly dispatch safety, security, medical or guest services staff to an appropriate location.
Today’s announcement marks the latest revelation of the kinds of technology the new stadium is leveraging to improve fans’ experience.
As MobilityTechzone reported, the Yankees, the world’s most successful professional sports franchise, turned to Cisco Systems Inc. to bring in a system – called “Stadium Vision” – that includes high-definition televisions with the game, sports scores, Yankees trivia, news and weather. When the game’s over – and hopefully Frank Sinatra is singing “New York, New York,” and not Liza Minelli (the P.A. launches into her version when the Yanks lose) – those screens will provide fans with useful traffic reports and directions to the nearest exit. In an emergency, they’ll display evacuation instructions.
Here are some recent pictures of the “new” Yankee Stadium:

Under the new GuestAssist system, a stadium guest in need of assistance may use their mobile phone to text a stadium- or event-specific keyword to a designated 5 digit phone number. Stadium personnel can access the GuestAssist Communications Center from any browser-enabled PC or Mac with a connection to the Internet. Each GuestAssist account is provided a unique URL address and access privileges for Operators and Administrators, with which they may access the GuestAssist Communications Center. Operators receive a visual and audible alert on the arrival of inbound guest requests, and can monitor and respond to text message inquiries from stadium guests.
The solution is already being used at: Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons); Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia Eagles); Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland Browns); Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh); M & T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens); Giants Stadium (New York Giants and New York Jets); FedEx Field (Washington Redskins); Ford Field (Detroit Lions); MacAfee Coliseum (Oakland Raiders); Texas Stadium (Dallas Cowboys); Invesco Field (Denver Broncos); Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo Bills); Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots); and Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts).
According to the Yankees, GuestAssist will offer post-event reporting and analysis of guests’ concerns which will help the Yankees improve staffing, fine-tune Yankee Stadium security procedures and better understand Yankees fans’ common questions and further concerns.
For Trost, that feature will allow the organization to identify issues and make adjustments, all based on the input from fans.
“It could be anything from where to station support personnel to improving directional signage,” Trost said. “GuestAssist’s post-event reporting will enable us to see trends and respond as needed.”

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for MobilityTechzone, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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