Category Archives: 49ers Diverge (research)

Levi’s Stadium Research Synthesis (Datrianna, Somin, Josh and Max)

Levi’s Stadium Research Synthesis
Current State

The 49ers organization has committed to delivering a completely renovated and high-tech experience for their fans.  Throughout the game fans will have the ability to access tons of amazing live stats, video content, as well as other stadium related information.  In a partnership with Sony, the 49ers are committed to delivering all this content at the fastest, highest definition possible.  Mike Fasulo (Sony) said “for every event, every fan will be immersed in the pinnacle of entertainment and technology to enhance their experience.”  To support these efforts, the 49ers have implanted hundreds of access points to account for the incredible volume of users and bandwidth necessary to fulfill this experience.  To even further personalize and immerse the fan in this experience, they have installed 1,700 beacons using Bluetooth Low Energy to  pinpoint specific devices and promote concession specials, or offer content related to their area of the field.  Even in a stadium of 49,000 people, technology has created a personalized experience for each and every fan.

Other Considerations
Fan Engagement

  • Real time data with key performance indicators during games, By pressing the Cowboys logo on their mobile devices, the flash activates and begins to vibrate significantly; creating a stadium-wide vibration and spectacle that creates a unique stadium atmosphere that every fan plays a part in, all the fantasy football news from around the league while they enjoy watching their favorite team play live (link)
  • Large tech companies are investing more in sponsorship, in an effort to build relationships with sports franchises (link)
  • Tracking players with implanted chips in pads.  Ability to visualize real-time activity and progress or digression over time (link)
  • Here’s a bathroom at a shopping mall in Swiss. They provide screens at bathroom. The idea is not to miss the game, but would not provide the whole game. (link)

Multi-Person Interactivity

  • Miranda July creates a beautiful system around strangers engaging through am unconventional messaging platform (link)
  • Extreme example of engaging thousands of years simultaneously in a massively multiplayer online game (link)
  • An IE prank turning a minor little league game into a huge sports event, with a Jumbotron, NBC News sportscaster and, of course, a Goodyear blimp (link)

Music Psychology

  • These composers are using the same tricks classical music composers have used for centuries — combinations of pitch, tempo, rhythm, dynamics, and melody — that resonate in the human subconscious to evoke emotion.” (link)

Virtual Reality

  • OneUp Sports is aiming to maximize VR’s boundless potential and revolutionize fan engagement on mobile platforms (link)
  • Drone technology and virtual reality is becoming considered as we look at new ways for the fans to access the game and it’s playmakers (link)


  • Levi’s stadium works with NRG. Using solar panel allows Levi’s stadium to save electricity when turning on the lights. (link)
  • Recycling water allows Levi’s stadium to save water waste. It seems that Levi’s stadium really tries hard for sustainability. (link)

Research Your User and group by level of engagement across a timeline

Expert Interview(s)
Major Themes

  • Fans visit stadiums for the game-day experience
  • Tailgating outside the stadium is very important for fans, and also indirectly avoids traffic and potential for missing the beginning of the game
  • Internet connectivity is a big problem in the stadium
  • With fantasy sports being so popular, supporting that activity would be appreciated

User: Luke Marcoux

  • 5-8 NFL Game per season

Walk me through your “game-day”
My Dad puts a huge emphasis on tailgating.  Dad is usually grills up a bunch of food while my brother and I throw a football and check on our fantasy teams. Once we get into the stadium, we get right to our seats so we don’t miss any of the game.  We have a group of people we know in the area, and catch up with them and get excited for the game.
How does technology play a role in the game?
During the game, I find myself battling between screens.  I play fantasy football in several leagues and while the screens in the stadium are very impressive, I am constantly checking my phone. I’ve found some areas in the stadium where the service is better than others, but another battle I always deal with is the bandwidth.  With that many people in the stadium, it’s hard to get a good signal.  
MetLife isn’t that high-tech.  It’s state of the art, and has a lot of amenities, but other than the screens, you aren’t getting a ton of other fancy things that you see in other stadiums.  Our gigantic screen is helpful for everyone in the stadium to see the replays, and get timing right with the cheering, but other than that, i’d rather have better service/signal.
What else might you want in the stadium?
Really not much more.  The fancy things aren’t that important to me, and going to the stadium is really about going to the game and being there with all the fans.  As much as I do it, I don’t like to look at my phone and take myself out of the experience.  It’s sort of a habit at this point, and I have money riding on the leagues, so I want to make sure I’m in tune. I suppose knowing where there are lines and when is a good time to leave my seat.
There’s also this long amount of time walking to and from the car.  It’s about 20 minutes each way, and I’d love to be able to see what’s going on in other games.  Some kind of connectivity to other games around the league that might be impacting our seasons outcome, or my fantasy involvement throughout the parking lot or entering process would be awesome.
Otherwise, I’ve always thought there should be content that is only accessible to those in the stadium. Maybe a radio broadcast only for fans, or some kind of mic’d up content for just the fans in the stadium. It should be a bit more of a personalized experience for those that make the effort and pay to be there.
What are your main motivations for going to the game?
The atmosphere.  We go to be with other fans, drink, and see the spectacle of the game.  Usually, we know the people around us, or we try and go with a group of people, and are able to all celebrate and have fun drinking together.
Can you not do that with a bunch of friends in a bar?
It’s different.  We can all go to a bar, but the production and awesomeness of a ton of people in one place is lost.  Commercials are a nightmare and usually take you out of the game.  When you are at the game, and the broadcast cuts to a commercial, we just get a drink, or check our fantasy teams.  We never leave the game experience since the stadium is so engrossing form it’s size and energy.
Let’s say you are the stadium/team owner, and could (legally) collect data on all your fans, what might you want to know? (asked to a group of friends)

  • Advertising effectiveness.  I’d want to know how likely fans are to switch to Verizon after attending a game and being bombarded with Verizon propaganda
  • I would wanna know how often people check their phones and for how long. I’d want to have free wifi for fans with advertisements at sign on etc.
  • How much money fans are spending at the game, and on what

List of User Activities

  • Before the big day


      • Buying tickets
      • Buying food for tailgate party
      • Preparing clothes and memorabilia to wear/bring


  • Day of


      • Getting there
        • Directions
        • Carpooling
        • Parking
        • Tailgate party


  • Getting in


        • Keeping track of tickets
        • Finding your section
        • Finding your seat


  • Amenities


        • Ordering overpriced food
        • Locating food I’d like to eat
        • Finding charging stations
        • Getting specific beer, in specific location
        • Finding bathroom


  • Watching the game


        • Cheering the team
        • Squinting to see the team
        • Noodling around on your phone


  • Debating about chronic brain trauma
  • After the game


        • Exiting the stadium
        • Traffic jams
        • More drinking


  • After the big day


    • Checking calendar for next game
    • Planning travel for away games?

Creation Myths
Myth #1
There are 68,500 extremely enthusiastic people sitting in this stadium right now. That’s a staggering number! That’s almost exactly as many people as fill Black Rock City during Burning Man every summer. What if we could take this brimming mass of humanity and encourage them to live by Burning Man’s ten guiding principles for the next three hours and ten minutes?
– Radical inclusion

– Gifting

– Decommodification

– Radical self-reliance

– Communal effort

– Civic responsibility

– Leaving no trace

– Participation

– Immediacy
Myth #2
As we approached the exit for 35th Street, I could see the stadium lights from my dad’s passenger seat. I was so excited I could have jumped from my seat and ran the rest of the way to the stadium. We exited the expressway and got stuck at a red light. There were tons of people in the street, each selling a different “one of a kind” item. I wanted it all! After all, I had to have memorabilia from my first baseball game. The light turned green and my dad was too busy talking to the guy selling baseball caps to realize. “Dad, green light”, I yelled. He apologized and quickly hit the gas. Finally, we could park and get to the action. We paid the parking attendant and found a spot at the back of the parking lot. I got out of the car and the stadium seemed colossal. All the times we had drove by and I was finally getting to step foot inside. I ran through the parking lot, pulling my dad along. I refused to miss the singing of the national anthem. We made it to our gate and had our tickets scanned. Once inside, I was enamored. I had no idea what I’d eat or drink, but that didn’t matter, because I was so focused on getting to my seat. When we finally sat down, my eyes were as wide as they’d ever been. I was taking it all in, not missing a thing. I heard my dad faintly saying my name, and replied “huh?” I came out of my daydream and realized that after 30 years, I still loved this game as much as I did when I was 7 and I remembered my first game like it were yesterday.

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49ers Diverge (research) – Debbie, Jung-Joon, Nic, Sun Young

Click here to view

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49ers Diverge Research – Carrie, Jess, Marcelo, & Shixiao

Existing Products in the Market
US Open – Tennis ear radio
Paris St. Germain Soccer Stadium – upload experience to view at home
SnapChat – specific stories
Arkansas Football Stadium – Live streaming the game outside
LED screens/panels
Cameras (multiple viewing angles)
Lighting effects

Bonus Incentives:

Food services / delivery
VIP areas
Kids play areas
How to get around / find things:
Level of Engagement Across a Timeline
We interviewed long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fan and Stadium Attendee, Martee Halloran, about her experiences at Raymond James Stadium.
What’s it like attending a football game?
  • When the team is doing well, there’s a better atmosphere in the stadium
  • When they are losing, she prefers to stay home
How do you choose what games to go to?
  • Corporate tickets were perfect for seating and viewing because they were on the 50 yard line and high up, but they were boring.
  • If we wanted to go to a game bad enough and sit in the nosebleeds we would spend 40-50 dollars and we were around the true diehard Buc’s fans.
Who do you go with? How many people?
  • In corporate sections, it was [my husband] and I.
What’s offered at the stadium?
  • Giant pirate ship where people throw candy and beads. It’s like a mini mardi gras.
  • At halftime, Peewee league kids went on the field to play football, and the fans would scream and roar for the little kids.
  • The team does a lot for the community of Tampa Bay, homeless single-mother things, each player has his own charitable organization.
  • Each section has outdoor venues for food. More casual outside and more formal bars inside.
  • The tailgates get a little fancy: people playing music, some are hired.
Do you use your phone/device while watching the game? during breaks? before/after?
  • I used to but I quit. I don’t like to be taunted [by relatives watching at home].
What is your favorite part of the experience of attending a game? What is your least favorite part?
  • My favorite of all time is meeting the Air Force pilots who fly over before the game.
  • My least favorite are the opposing team fans. They’re just obnoxious, not even drunkeness.
What do you want to see implemented?
  • There’s this big push for women and children take more of an interest in the NFL and to come to more games. As a layperson I would never be able to pay $365 to get good seats. The NFL would have to do something to get families and women in, not to have to get nosebleed seats.
List of Actions
  • buy tickets
  • go to stadium
  • park car
  • find seat
  • sit
  • cheer the team
  • taunt the opposing team
  • yell
  • wait in lines
  • watch tv screens / displays
  • watch the game
  • watch people
  • watch cheerleaders
  • make friends
  • talk with people
  • take pictures
  • go to the bathroom
  • record video
  • listen to the radio
  • work – check email / messages
  • check schedule / stats
  • check news
  • check / share on social media
  • talk on the phone
  • walk around
  • buy drinks/food
  • eat food
  • get autographs
  • drink beverage
  • resell tickets
  • shopping / buy souvenirs
Creation Myth
Word Cloud
Haiku #1
Football stadium
Looking down on the players
My nose is bleeding
Haiku #2
Football is so cool
Even if you know nothing
Cheering for your team
There once was a woman named Alice
Who worshiped the Cowboys from Dallas.
She scalped for good seats
But, alas, they were cheats.
Now she’s filled with disdain and malice.

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TEAM HAIKU-OOL (Emily + Karen + TingTing + Rachel + Anupma)

View our research here!

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Myth + Goals and Parameters – Team Bro (Jeff, Luke, Mike, Matt)


From all over the lands witches young and old, thin and fat, experienced and novice, covered in boils, wearing hats, and riding brooms gathered for the rising of the full moon. It was an event cherished by most witches but recognized by all as something to be seen and experienced at least once in a witches career.

As the witches congregated around the communal brew kettle, those who had been to this gathering many times began chanting the traditional spells. With the low chants of these witches, the kettle began to dance slightly with bubbles and frog legs. As they chanted louder, the novices saw what the veteran witches were focusing on and how it affected the kettle. As each witch began to learn the spells and wand gestures they joined in with the group. They began to understand the importance of each twist and cackle and became excited at being a part making the brew boil.

The brew bubbled and boiled on and on until the frogs turned to jelly and the mixture became one. The witches chanted and danced and jumped up and down as the brew boiled higher and higher until finally it burst into smoke and let a skull like plume into the air. The witches screamed and yelled and hugged each other revelling in what they had accomplished together. Whether it was the fire that burned hotter and hotter below the kettle or the chants of the witches that caused the spell to work, it did not matter. The witches were elated with what they had come together to do and left pledging to come back next full moon.



  • Bring spectators together for one common cause.
  • Make spectators feel more connected to the game.
  • Break down the barriers between first time spectators and die hard regulars; bridge this knowledge gap.
  • Allow all spectators to feel as they are part of something together.



  • Use stoppage or down time to bring meaningful interactions to audience.
  • Distractions or notifications from your phone can only be shown during down time.
  • Provide more context around the game and individual moments.
  • Reduce the amount of time spectators spend on their phone for personal use.
  • Remove individual distractions and encourage group activities.
  • Empower people to feel that their actions can affect the game.
  • Provide engagement that reduces the interaction people have with their own group and increase the engagement they have with the whole stadium.
  • Understand people use their personal phone, use it to spark and increase conversation.
  • Make people feel comfortable

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49ers Diverge Research – Aastha, Michie, Sam C, Leroy

Our market and user research and creation myth is available here: Week4_PublicSpaces

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49ers Stadium – Nga, Sneha, Hanna, Dami

49ers stadium:

Documentation & Slide are here


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Levi’s Stadium Research

Sarah, Mini, Trent, Sam W.

Understand Levi Stadium

Levi stadium is introducing a comprehensive wireless experience, with a stadium that can handle massive bandwidth and an app…”that will enhance your gameday experience with features including mobile tickets and parking passes, mobile ordering of food and beverages, wayfinding to navigate around the building, and a “game center” for high-definition video replays.”Initial thoughts on the game and the 49ers

“It is a turf war”

Making symbolic hay here, but the 49ers used to play in Golden Gate Park on the corner of Haight and Ashbury Street. Those days were really cosmic. There aren’t even parking lots around the stadium. Steve Spurrier, their quarterback for 9 years in the mid 60s and 70s, used to park in front of some hippies’ crash pad before games. Characters, he said, “you couldn’t figure out with a slide rule.”

In 1970 the team moved to Candlestick from Kezar Park. It’s interesting to note the 49ers have never had their own dedicated stadium until now.

That the stadium has moved from Golden Gate Park to the south side of the city, down to Santa Clara is something to pay attention to. The SAP tower has a view out the back to look out over Silicon Valley.

  1. Existing Product in the Market
    Ticketing Service – EventBrite, Ticketmaster, Fandango, ParkWhiz

    Food Ordering Service
    – Seamless, Chipotle online order, GrubHub

    Location and Way finding
    – Google Map (shows traffic and direction), Find Friends

    Video streaming
    – ESPN online, YouTube
  2. User Groups by Level of Engagement Across a Timeline
    Occasional or Special Occasion visitors – Friends, tourist, visitors, families who visits the stadium 1-3 times a year. Possibly not familiar with the sports or the culture

    Seasonal Ticket Holders
    – Families or Individuals who are enthusiastic about the sports and the team and understand the culture very well. Come to the game to socialize and meet people

    Seasonal Ticket Holder with more VIP Status
    – Families, corporations, individuals and friends who have more resources, who expect luxurious treatment and comfort and in the VIP boxes.
  3. Expert Interview and Findings
    Our team spoke with Ran Henry, football aficionado, journalist, and author of the upcoming book, “Spurrier: How The Ball Coach Taught the South to Play Football.”

Expert Interview

Levi’s stadium is introducing a comprehensive wireless experience, with a stadium that can handle massive bandwidth and an app…”that will enhance your gameday experience with features including mobile tickets and parking passes, mobile ordering of food and beverages, wayfinding to navigate around the building, and a “game center” for high-definition video replays.”

Our team spoke with Ran Henry, football aficionado, journalist, and author of the upcoming book, “Spurrier: How The Ball Coach Taught the South to Play Football.”

Top Level Insights

  • “It’s a huge difference in my experience, if you have tickets or if you’re out scalping. It must be stated immediately that it’s a huge differential. If you have plans to tail gait or not is also a huge variable.”
  • “Territoriality is a huge concept here—who gets to park closer to the stadium? There’s a pecking order among fans.”
  • How do people relate to being a 49er? “I guess the whole thing with them was the gold rush. If you haven’t seen A View to a Kill lately, you should.”
  • Through cheering and volume, fans can feel as if they have an affect on players’ performances. It’s quite possible they actually do.
  • The extreme athleticism of the players can affect how fans treat the spectacle of watching—there are more crashes, and harder hits than almost any other sport or level of football (i.e. college or high school level).
  • There’s something going on every minute of the event—specifically when the game is expected to make a lot of money from TV ad sales. Whenever there’s a commercial break, there’s a pause in the action.
  • Football is a hard game to really follow. There are 11 different battles going on during every play, so there’s a lot of value in having replays available.
  • A lot of fans currently use their phones to keep up with scores of other games happening at the same time, particularly games that affect their team in the future.
  • Fans definitely travel to games, but the locals are still a strong presence. Many 49ers fans reside in southern San Francisco—a far different neighborhood from say, the Mission, or the Valley.
  • Fans in stadiums are looking for simple upgrades—better seats to sit on, nicer bathrooms, cheap beer.
  • A big difference between watching the game on TV and being in a stadium is the level of knowledge and charisma of the announcers. TV announcers are usually ex-athletes who have a window into the inner workings of the game.
  • Advances in cameras and video editing have greatly contributed to the sport feeling more and more like a video game. Exploring how that coincides with the rise in video game culture might be an interesting angle.
  • A bad user experience at a football game is losing.
  • There’s a great degree of raw emotion that happens among fans at football games. This is potentially an area to investigate.

List of User Activities

  • Arriving at stadium by public transit
  • Arriving at stadium by car
  • Tailgaiting activities
    • Cooking food
    • Playing sports
    • People watching
    • Eating food
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Keeping tabs on other games
  • Entering the stadium
  • Finding seats
  • Watching game
  • Watching stadium video screen
    • Replays
    • Score from other games
    • Entertainment
  • Talking to other people present
    • Regulars, or season ticket holders
    • Ushers
    • Friends
    • Other people in the stadium
  • Cheering
  • Jeering
  • Eating
    • Food from home
    • Food purchased at stadium
  • Drinking
    • Drinks from home
    • Drinks purchased at stadium
  • Shopping
    • Retail
    • Food and Beverage
  • Using the bathroom
    • Finding a bathroom
    • Waiting in line

Initial thoughts on the game and the 49ers

“It is a turf war”

Making symbolic hay here, but the 49ers used to play in Golden Gate Park on the corner of Haight and Ashbury Street. Those days were really cosmic. There aren’t even parking lots around the stadium. Steve Spurrier, their quarterback for 9 years in the mid 60s and 70s, used to park in front of some hippies’ crash pad before games. Characters, he said, “you couldn’t figure out with a slide rule.”

In 1970 the team moved to Candlestick from Kezar Park. It’s interesting to note the 49ers have never had their own dedicated stadium until now.

That the stadium has moved from Golden Gate Park to the south side of the city, down to Santa Clara is something to pay attention to. The SAP tower has a view out the back to look out over Silicon Valley.

(Side note: Jerry Walker is the curator of the new SF’s 49er museum at Levi, and we can get in contact with him if need be.)

Full Expert Interview

Can you take me through a typical game day? List as many details as you can.

It’s a huge difference in my experience, if you have tickets or if you’re out scalping. It must be stated immediately that it’s a huge differential. If you have plans to tail gait or not is also a huge variable.

It’s just unbelievable what people bring to the area around the stadium—kitchen utensils, cooking gear.

Territoriality is a huge concept here—who gets to park closer to the stadium? There’s a pecking order among fans.

The ticket scalping experience is all about getting close to the action, and tailgating experiences are the same.

Think about the hotel situation—the tiniest room in a holiday inn will rent for $400-$500 on game day.

I don’t know how those tailgating spots work out—-but there about to spend about 14.5million dollars to tear up the concrete and install grass around the stadium at the University in South Carolina.

There was one couple that was really upset about being moved back from the stadium 70 yards or so in the new configuration, after years of tailgating.

Once the team starts to warm up, the more hardcore fans head into the stadium. The starting quarterback might be based on how the warmups happen. That’s about 20 minutes before kick-off.

It’s a full day—people show up with their slow cooker. There’s a lot of football actually being played…from ball passing to full games. Families are there with kids.

And the jerseys…people are in team jerseys. They’re wearing shirts by the players they identify with. They’re taking on the qualities of the mascots.

There’s something soulless about representing cities.

How do people relate to being a 49er?

I guess the whole thing with them was the gold rush. If you haven’t seen A View to a Kill lately, you should.

The incredible power of your rival is that they are the mirror image of you. The chomp and the chop…UF and FSU. But back to those rituals…everyone knows the chants and the cheers…it’s the group assimilation idea. Spurrier is always saying that football is the ultimate team sport.

Take the Florida fans—they are so loud when the other team has the ball…humming out Ommmmmmmmm. And it’s quite loud. The crowd can get so loud, the player’s helmets will rattle. But when the home team has the ball, its pin quiet.

The idea is that the fan in the stands can indeed influence the outcome of the game. Like in Louisiana, they’re just loud there.

I think NFL fans are a little bit more bloodthirsty. There’s what, 2,000 jobs in the NFL in the full-time squads? The guys that make it are incredible athletes. The hits are harder, and it causes your average spectator to celebrate a major collision between two human beings. You can’t downplay that. All those weekday frustrations find an outlet. That’s a fact.

All NFL stadiums sell alcohol, and I’ve seen some serious dust-offs. If you wear a jersey of a visiting team, you’re going to get some serious talk back.

What about during the game?

To elucidate the idea of fans—there’s always some schmuck who will try to kick a field goal for $25,000, and they always fail. Fans get to cheer, and jeer. That’s become a game day staple. And the subwoofer—it’s mind-bending how low and subsonic that can get. There’s gotta to be something going on every minute. For example, South Carolina put in a giant

In Candlestick, they had to change the wind patterns with screens. The projector was pretty antiquated. You’d think it would be the opposite.

Of course, now at Levi you get to watch on wifi. But you’re at the game??

What’s the value?

The replays have a different camera…but really, it’s savoring those great moments. Football is a hard game to watch. Most people might just know the quarterback got sacked, but there’s so much set-up going on.

What about looking at a phone versus a massive video screen?

You can’t under-appreciate the way the NFL induces communities to put huge resources into these stadiums and the big carrot there is the Superbowl. How much is Levi paid for by the Valley versus the 49ers?

Spectacle of the video screen?

I’ve never spent a game looking at my phone, so I don’t have an emotional connection.

I snuck into the Superbowl in 1989 and the half-time trick was to turn the seat cushions over in synchrony. The idea of spectacle can’t be leaned on too heavily. This whole idea that people will be looking at their phones versus a video board would be radical.

I do notice the people I’m around though, and one thing about phones is that everyone has to know about scores, even from other games…particularly the ones that affect your team. Phones are a conduit to knowing and in that I’ve seen a lot of people on their phones. The idea that phones being used to keep up with the game right in front of you, in Levi Stadium, that would be a new thing.

What’s your understanding of how the fans fit into the tech vision

I don’t know that they do. The locals at Candlestick were the arbiters of legacy, but I don’t where they fit into this new stadium. The locals are going to affect the demographics of the people in the stadium.

At Candlestick it was not hard to find people wearing old jerseys. Where are the people who watched when the games were at Kezar?

And the hardcore fans who would travel? Their tech experience is lower. I wonder what the pricing structure is different from Candlestick.

I didn’t talk to anyone at Candlestick who would pay $500 for a sushi meal at Levi. Not one. It’s a different breed of person.

How vociferous will these new Silicon Valley folks be versus your hardcore fan?

How much is this a TV experience? How does the stadium look on TV?

What would people want in their new stadium?

I just don’t think that for the average football fans that amenities are that big of a thing. Like think about aluminum slates versus having chair backs. Something as simple as that would work for the hardcore fans.

What about food?

I think to junk food out is their goal…to go back to that idea of the weekend release. It’s very primal—nachos, big slices of cheese on your hamburger.

I sense very strongly that Levi stadium would be the antithesis of that.

There’s some sociological import to food selection. Certainly. The traditional stadium fare couldn’t be more elemental.

Tell me a bit about Candlestick Park. Was there anything about it that stuck out to you? Or seemed unusual?

Yeah, those video screens were tiny. Again, the whole idea of bringing the TV experience to the stadium. And the bleachers were designed to be reconfigured for baseball. The stadium didn’t fully look like a football stadium. Stadium design matters in influencing the crowds ability to be right on top of the action, and to have an impact on the game. At Candlestick it was the other side of the field, the visiting team’s side, that the baseball configuration matters. Fans were more removed from the game.

What would you expect to be able to experience in the new Levi’s Stadium, based on your experience in Candlestick?

Any fan would say, first and foremost, just a great seat. The closer you are to the game the fewer distractions there are, but the further up you get the more distractions you need, because the players look like ants down there. Configuration matters there.

How is watching a game at an arena different than watching with a bunch of friends at home? What are the key activities?

The commentators are typically ex-athletes, and it’s an entirely different experience when they’re not there. Another aspect of the arena experience is that people will wear headsets to get that auditory experience. They can’t watch the game without it. Maybe that’s where a phone could come in. The announcer is nothing like a TV commentary.

I feel when I watch with friends that I haven’t really watched a game. There’s less focus. That’s a definite. Friends are distracting and football is a hard game to watch. There’s 11 different battles going on in each play. There’s a camaraderie but you don’t get as much of the game.

What about groups of people at the arena?

Season ticket holders are the same people week in and week out in the same section. To me it’s probably a huge social thing, but they’re less focused. The number of season tickets at Levi would be something to look into, and how they apportioned those tickets would be a big deal. These are your real fans.

They’re rowdier. They bring a lot to the stadium experience. They’ve had those same seats for years and decades.

What do you during downtime between plays while you’re at an arena? 

There barely is. The advent of the hurry-up offense is a big factor here. The number of plays has gone up over time. There’s always something going on. Great care and choreography is taken to not have a second of downtime. At the very least you’re going to hear a snippet of a song.

What about while you’re watching with friends at home?  

That’s the commercials. At the stadium you feel that. That the game gets dragged on because at home they’re seeing more commercials. In the bigger games there’s more downtime because there’s more commercials being sold and you can definitely feel that.

The commercials definitely do take you out of the game. There has to be at least three and a half to four minutes of commercials per break.

What get the fans in an arena most excited?

I would say some kind of highlight clips that perhaps recount the first half. Other than that it would be something on the field. Highlight clips generally have slow-motion. “Did you see that hit!” They have amazing production values considering it just happened. And never forget, there’s that camera on the field now, and it feels like a video game. It can see what the quarterback sees and it can swoop around very quickly.

I would be very interested in how the advent of video games has affected multiple aspects of the game, even the training aspect.

Do you have any stories about a bad time you had during a football game?

Losing. The air goes out of the building. Neurologically and biologically, a man’s testosterone goes up and down 20-40% based on whether the team wins or loses. That’s a big part of it. People screaming? For four hours? And in a pro football game, the teams are so damn good that teams lose all the time. And there’s no comparison between winning and losing in a pro stadium. And home field advantage is going to be an interesting thing to watch at Levi.

People are talking about the small details. There’s vicarious experience and everyone’s an armchair commentator or quarterback. There’s a great manly code being expressed.

If you could collect any kind of information on fans at a game, what would you collect?

This is something I’ve thought carefully about. It’s just that rare, incredibly unfiltered random outbursts. Where the truth cannot be contained. What we all look for in literature—that raw emotion and how people express that.

In 2008 a fan stood up at a Carolina game and yelled, “Jesus himself couldn’t coach this football team.” The game in some way empowers people to have a Howard Beale moment. “I’m mad as hell and I’m just not going to take it anymore.”

Here’s an example of one fan’s thought about the University of South Carolina losing on a Saturday night to Missouri:

“I’d been fooling myself the last three or four years. I thought I’d finally matured as a fan and had moved beyond the ugly days of screaming out loud, huffing and puffing, pacing, fuming, cursing and generally behaving like a serial killer during Gamecock games. After all, I’m 41 years old now. It’s been two decades since I was a student at USC. I patted myself on the back after the Texas A&M debacle for watching quietly and saying things like “It’s a long season, let’s just let it play out,” perhaps forgetting that I’ve always handled blowouts better than nail-biters. There’s also the fact that we just haven’t lost many games over the last few years. I simply haven’t had too many opportunities to implode. Well, we reached Full Implosion Mode on Saturday night. Let’s just say that there was a lot of yelling, enough that our neighbors may be making plans right now to have me evicted. When our last-ditch, final fourth-down pass fell incomplete, I ripped off my shirt and hurled it against the wall, overcome with such fury that I felt like one of those werewolves in the “Twilight” movies (I’m sorry to say that this actually did happen). All the while, my girlfriend glared at me with one of those “I’m strongly contemplating packing your stuff and putting it out on the sidewalk” looks. You never want to be on the receiving end of those. All in all, I had the worst night of anybody, even worse than the offense. “

  • People want to access the game easily and closely as possible
  • Other findings?

Creation Myth

Sports connect us in a myriad of fashions, playing, entertaining, teaching, and communicating. More than three-fifths of U.S adults claim to have a relationship to sport activities*. Sports empowers our lives.

What about the space the sport is in, could that place provide direct access and a more meaningful experience to the qualities that sports gives us?

With Levi’s Stadium, we are going to do just that. This stadium will remove barriers that get in the way of why you’re here. But here’s the real kicker, it’s all under your control. Getting your tickets, parking passes, ordering food, stadium’s map, and never missing a moment on the field will be at your command with just a tap. You do all this and more under our new app for your mobile device.

You are now connected to everything around you and using it to your needs. Giving you the ability to focus on what you love most, the game.

*2010 USADA commissioned a survey of 9,000 Americans

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49ers Discovery Research – Melody, Effy, Sunnie, Amy

Here is our discovery research deck!

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Team Bro: Levis Stadium Draft


Our brainstorming and draft can be found here:


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