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At-the-match web access finally kicks off


Marketers love a captive audience, which goes some way to explain why local SEO is such a growth industry – but ‘audiences’ in the literal sense have always represented something of a challenge.

Anyone who has ever attended a major sporting event will have shared in the frustration of wanting to text or tweet about the match, or upload a photograph of a key moment, but being unable to get a signal.

Now this is changing, with 4G and Wi-Fi networks installed at several football grounds around the UK, including Aston Villa and Manchester City, among others.

For the stadium operators, this is unlocking whole new revenue streams – for example, at Newcastle United, the 2013-14 season saw the club trial a system whereby halftime snacks could be ordered in advance using a mobile app.

According to Mintel, 30% of smartphone-owning football fans aged 16-24 would use matchday apps while in the stadium, if they were available.

This is by definition a niche audience, but for web developers who are able to market their website or smartphone app to football fans inside the stadium, it represents a rare opportunity to tap into a wholly new online market which, due to historically poor web access, has very few established competitors.