2020 has been a tough time for everyone. The whole world has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and our day to day life has ceased to exist. With terms like "work from home" and "quarantine" now becoming the new normal, all aspects of social life has taken a huge hit. The sports and entertainment industry has been no exception as the once filled arenas and stadiums now sit completely empty, waiting for fans to return. As a part of the TechPoint S.O.S. Challenge, we have come up with an app that encourages fans returning to their social events as well as helps venues to recoup some of the revenues that they lost due to closing down from COVID-19.
This was our inspiration: Imagine watching your favorite team play their top rival. There is a minute left on the clock, and this game is a nail biter. You are on the edge of your seat, and you take one last sip of your beverage. You need another one, but the game doesn’t stop for anybody. What are you going to do? Are you going to miss some of the game to get a new drink, or are you going to sit there and not go get the drink you want? With Arena Eats you don’t have to worry about this predicament! At the tap of a finger you are able to order a fresh drink and get it delivered right to your seat, having the best of both worlds.
Nikhilendra Rathore (Project Manager, Senior in Computer Science @ Purdue University)
Nikhilendra was the Project Manager and oversaw all aspects of the project. This included guiding both the Go and Pro Squads and keeping everyone on board with our main idea and meeting deadlines. He was also directly involved in the React Native coding of our project, figma prototyping, presentation slides and project abstract.
Lindsay Freije (UI Designer, Senior Mathematics @ Franklin College)
Lindsay put together our interactive prototype on figma. She made sure that this was a great resource for our final presentation that would demonstrate what our app can really do. She also helped put together and design the slides and made sure that all aspects of the project were completed.
Benjamin Hussey (Business Analyst, Finance/Risk Management Major @ Butler University)
Ben was a member of the GO Squad and did the background of the viability of the idea. He put together the customer profiles to look into what the best way to target each of Arena’s Eats potential customer bases. He also put together the financial analysis of how financially viable the teams idea will be in the open marketplace.
Ryan St. Clair (Business Analyst, Mechanical Engineering Major @ Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology)
Ryan, another member of the GO Squad, was responsible for assessing current market issues and seeing that Arena Eats solved those issues profitably and sustainably. Ryan contributed an environmental analysis, business model canvas, and value proposition canvas to the project.
How did you decide on this customer segment, problem, and solution?
We came up with Arena Eats based on the fact that it benefited the arenas and stadiums that host sports and entertainment events as a whole. We tried not to focus on just sports or just the entertainment aspect of the challenge, but we found a solution that incorporated them both. From encouraged social distancing practices, food delivery services like GrubHub and Postmates were very popular as they were contact free ways to support local or chain businesses that remained open during the pandemic. The popularity of these apps only rises the likelihood of a user to actually download and use Arena Eats even more. The fact that so many people are already familiar with the concept only grows our excitement for what all this app can accomplish, not only for supporting fans returning to their respective events safely and without extreme risk, but also to help the arenas regain some revenue as well.
The focus on stadiums was because in this contemporary world where sports and forms of entertainment hold great social and popular culture significance, a sudden pause to these aspects of life caused a gaping hole not just in the economy but also in our hearts. Empty stadiums, theatres and arenas made front page pictures and were the posterboy of the variety of devastation that this pandemic caused.
How did your team build and iterate on the solution?
This particular idea took us about midweek through week 3 to agree on. Our initial idea was not as popular amongst our potential customers so we had to go down another road. Once we had come up with what would eventually be the Arena Eats, the go squad worked to redesign the Environmental Analysis, Cr Persona and Business Models. As for the Pro Squad, our priority at that point was to create user friendly prototypes and get the initial feedback from our customers. Once we had that under our belt, we improved even further on our Prototypes but on the side we started giving shape to our idea from a coding point of view. As decided much earlier, we worked on our app to be launched on the React Native platform which would grant access to both Android and iOS users. The app development went hand in hand with our prototypes. The only thing that remained was the proper app deployment using an admin created database.
The financial plan’s number is based on our market research. We estimated that 10 stadiums around the midwest will adopt our product with a 10% usage rate among spectators we estimate $800,000 in revenue within the first month of adoption as the start-up costs are fairly limited. Arena Eats will charge a 30% surcharge to deliver food to the seats (similar to uber eats). This allows the arena’s to still make all the money they do from concessions and for the food runners to be paid. These projections are on the conservative side and the growth potential is unlimited.
For our team’s product, we have created a mobile app that allows for fans to be able to order food right to their seats so that they do not miss out on any of the entertainment in the post-pandemic world. They can order food on any of the restaurants in or nearby the arena that they are at. Our app consists of user authentication, arena options, food filters and delivery right to your seat, powered by a transaction system.
Key Tools, Libraries, and Frameworks
These tools and platforms were instrumental in launching our prototype as an app. React Native: (Libraries include) - react, react Native, react-native-paper, react-native-elements, react-native-navigation, react-navigation-stack etc. Firebase: Dynamic RDBMS Node.js: npm and yarn Figma: this was an easy way for our team to really show what we wanted our app to be like. Figma helped us portray how users could interact with the app in the simplest way possible.
If you had another 5 weeks to work on this, what would you do next?
If we had more time to work on this app there are many things we would incorporate to make it a one stop app, meaning when event goers open this app everything they could possibly need is in one space. One example of this would be including a ticketing feature. This could be a place where consumers buy their tickets on the app or even just store the information for their tickets there. We could partner with an app like StubHub so that when fans arrive they pull out their phones, open up our app, and scan their ticket as entry to the arena. We could also include a loyalty program. This would promote the use of our app, the more you buy the more you save kind of deal. Everybody loves to be served, and even better than just that they could get their food, or delivery, for free! Lastly, we know that Levi’s Stadium has an app that incorporates this feature already. We plan to research what made their app work well, and what features did not work out so well to try and market the best, and most user friendly version of Arena Eats that we can.
From a coding point of view, starting our project over with a different idea meant that we would always have a race against time. This meant that we were not able to properly deploy and test the firebase aspect in the app and at the moment, our app has very limited database related features.