June 12, 2017
CLEVELAND - The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and CDW-G, a leading provider of technology solutions to education, government, and healthcare, have selected the three finalists for the inaugural Best Game Day Technology Experience Award. The announcement was made at the 52nd Annual NACDA Convention in Orlando, Florida.
The Best Game Day Technology Award will be presented in the fall, at an on-campus event hosted by the winning institution. The award was designed to recognize NACDA member institutions in Division I, honoring athletics directors and their universities highlighting the ways technology plays a role in the fan experience. A five-person committee consisting of athletics directors across the country and representatives from CDW-G and NACDA will help choose this year's award winner.
The finalists for the Best Game Day Technology Experience Award are:
- Arizona State University
- Purdue University
- West Virginia University
The winner will receive a trophy and $25,000 in Microsoft and Cisco technology products and services from CDW-G.
“The Best Game Day Technology Experience Award was born out of the desire to highlight the innovative technology universities are using to elevate their game day experiences,” said Nicci Fagan,, Area Director, Higher Education, CDW-G. “Our finalists exceeded expectations, implementing interactive technologies, creating custom apps, and embracing mobile technology to put fans in the center of the action and create experiences that ensure they keep coming back.”
“The 2016-17 academic year has been an exciting one for college sports to say the least, and in this industry the game day fan experience has proven to be almost as important as the product on the playing field,” said NACDA Executive Director, Bob Vecchione. “While we received many unique submissions in our first year, the three finalists for the inaugural Best Game Day Technology Experience Award truly showcase the value and creativity that NACDA members are using in this space.”
Below are descriptions of the three initiatives that earned these institutions recognition as finalists for the Best Game Day Technology Experience Award.
Arizona State University
For the 2016-17 Sun Devil Football season, Arizona State University (ASU) began a ‘Smart Campus’ initiative, implementing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to enrich the game day experience. ASU utilized the new technologies to improve operational insights for facilities, create a unique suite experience for stakeholders, and enhance the game experience for fans. Its primary focuses were Smart Parking, a Smart Noise Meter, and a Smart Suite, all of which utilized an inter-networking of devices to collect and exchange data in new and meaningful ways.
Encouraging mobile ticketing and implementing a student rewards app are a few of the ways Purdue University embraced the cell phone. For men’s basketball, the athletics department took it a step farther and made the fans and their cell phones essential to the pregame starting lineups. Purdue worked with Q Raider Technologies to develop the BoilerBall Lights app*, which created an immersive, coordinated light show experience. This free app could be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Fans then just needed to open the app before the introduction video played and their phones’ flashlights would sync with in-venue music. Accompanying graphics also displayed during the show on their screens.
West Virginia University
At West Virginia University, on game day the crowd is encouraged to not only sit back to watch the action, but also be a part of the show. With technology at the forefront of this effort, WVU has taken many steps in the last year to create fan engagement opportunities that fans can participate in right from their seat, or at their fingertips. Fans are able to Tweet their photos directly from their cellphones to the video board during the men’s and women’s basketball games. Partnering with McDonalds, the athletics department created the hashtag #WVUImLovinIt to stream fan photos throughout the game. Through the Experience App, fans can purchase unsold seat inventory to “upgrade” to a better seat once they are at the game through the app. They also have the ability to purchase experiences such as pregame field access at football, standing with the players for the national anthem at basketball, and throwing out the first pitch at baseball.
About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 52nd year, is the professional and educational Association for more than 15,700 college athletics administrators at more than 1,700 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 6,500 athletics administrators annually attend NACDA & Affiliates Convention Week. Additionally, NACDA manages 17 professional associations and three foundations. For more information on NACDA, visit www.nacda.com.