Kiosk Newsbit

Seat-side Computers Next Wave
(Reuters; 05/01/98)

By Jane Sutton     LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Reuters) - Seat-side computer-
 televisions that debuted at the Super Bowl in January will become commonplace 
 at sports stadiums in the near future, industry executives say.

     The "ChoiceSeats" computers demonstrated at the Super Bowl in San Diego 
 used touch-activated screens that allowed fans to see instant replays, view 
 plays from different angles, call up player statistics and order team-related 
 merchandise from their seats during the game.

     "It's the next widget," Barry Goldberg, general manager of ChoiceSeats, 
 which makes the interactive screens, told a Bond Buyer Stadium and Arena 
 Conference here this week.

     Based on the response the company got from the Super Bowl, he predicted all 
 National Football League arenas would have the devices or similar ones within 
 five years.

     Arena managers are looking to interactive technology as a new revenue 
 source, industry executives said.

     Goldberg said his company could guarantee $18 to $19 of revenue per game 
 per occupied seats with its screens. That revenue is derived mainly from on-
 screen advertising, which would have to be carefully contracted to avoid 
 conflicts with stadium naming rights and sponsorship deals.

     Another company, North Communications, is demonstrating its interactive 
 kiosks at the new MCI Center arena in Washington D.C. Fans can call up team 
 statistics, send e-mail to players, play computer baseball games and buy game 
 tickets via credit card at the booths.

     Michael Conniff, chairman of Interactive Sports, which provides sports news 
 and programs for outlets such as North's kiosks, predicts stadium owners will 
 soon begin to sell interactive rights in the same way they now sell naming 
 rights and concession rights.

     "This is a new line item, a new revenue stream that is sellable," Conniff 

     Some of the revenues from such an agreement would come from sales 
 transactions conducted on line. The rest would come from the sale to retailers 
 of information about sports' fans buying habits, he said.

     North's general manager, Adam Parker, cautioned that installing the new 
 technology requires that stadiums be "wired from A to Z," an advantage the MCI 
 Center had as part of the telecommunications company's sponsorship.

     Dividing the revenues from such technology also could complicate existing 
 lease agreements between teams and sports authorities, others cautioned.

     The Maryland Stadium Authority's lease with the Baltimore Orioles was 
 drafted 10 years ago, when cable television was a relatively new medium, and 
 made no provision for advertising signage that now appears on television 
 screens but not on the actual stadium, the authority's general counsel said.

     "It's difficult to anticipate technology changing so quickly," Allison Asti 

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