Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sporting Kansas City's Livestrong Sporting Park to offer fans a state-of-the-art experience.

Even the most technologically advanced social media enthusiast will be amazed and thrilled to see all of the features this stadium has to offer.

Written by Mike Lile, Vice-President and Technical Director, LileStyle Productions, LLC

April 25, 2011

The Social Media Club of Kansas City and Sporting Kansas City hosted a tour of the soon-to-be-opened Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS; I was fortunate to be invited to attend.  The weather looked threatening in the afternoon prior to the tour but the rain stopped before we started the tour.

The first part of the tour was at the south end, field level.  Even though the grass was laid just a few weeks ago it looks fantastic.  One of the people on the tour asked David Ficklin (Vice President of Development and leader of our tour) asked if it was synthetic; he assured us it was not and pointed out the grass clippings nearby.  Mr. Ficklin also discussed the system underneath the turf that can blow warm air to keep the grass growing in cool weather.

The view from field level is stunning but not overwhelming -- and the seating is very close to the field.  I was able to walk around several parts of the field and stands and the view was good from everywhere.

We also toured the field club (under the west stands) which includes a media room and is right off the locker room.  The home and away team benches are right outside the club; folks fortunate enough to have seats down on the field will really have a close-up experience with the players.

The home locker room was not quite finished yet but looks to be quite nice -- there will be all kinds of video, network and power options at each locker and all over the room.  We did not see it but were told the visitors locker room was still nice but not as well appointed.  There were also murmurings about something being buried under the visitors locker room but no one in authority would confirm or deny the rumor.

The suite levels were not open for the tour (which was a little disappointing as I was looking forward to peeking into the video suite) but we did get a look at the Stadium club.  It's a somewhat larger space than the field club and sits pretty much right above the field club.  There were only a few things completed but it looked very interesting and had great views of the field.

David Ficklin discussed some of the technology being deployed at the stadium.  Every space in the park will have WiFi and celluar access (through a great many access points and repeaters) and there will be over 300 TV screens throughout the stadium.  All of the screens as well as many of the cameras will be networked -- allowing them to route any camera to any screen (or group of screens).  They are also planning to provide wireless video to fans, possibly allowing them to choose what camera they want to follow.

I'm looking forward to attending at least one match (I have tickets for a game in July) and I am sure that it will be a fantastic venue and likely one of the best stadiums in the country if not the world.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Facebook Pages can now send messages directly to all their fans!

The new feature seems to only apply to events that you create.

Once you have created the event, you can see a new option in the upper right hand side:

Now, previously when you would select this option (and it was a lot harder to find), the messages would go into the netherverse, hidden away in everyone's secret stash of “Fan Page Updates”. When I finally stumbled across my own updates section, there were over 800 unread updates from my favorite fan pages.

The problem wasn't that they were sending out tons of updates, it was just that I never noticed it until I went digging through the different message sub-folders.

Now when you send an update to your fans, the message goes right into their facebook message inbox:

You should know that the message does show up as coming from you, and your fans do not get a personal email, as far as we can tell.

I've been trying to find some updates about this but can't seem to see anyone talking about this but I am sure that this is a new feature as I just recently started receiving these messages in my Facebook message inbox.

Now, does this mean you should begin updating your fans with all of your events? This depends entirely on how many events you have. Keep in mind that people are just now getting messages from their fan pages with no warning at all that this would be a side effect of becoming a fan of your page. If you have 1-2 a week, that may be acceptable.  One a day would definitely be excessive, which is why I'll have to say goodbye to some of my favorite pages.

Be sure to pay attention to your Like numbers and if they start to dip, then that would be a huge indicator that your fans aren't really into your messages.