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How the New York Islanders Increased In-Arena Fan Engagement with TVU Networks’ Platform

The New York Islanders and TVU Networks are putting a brand-new watch experience in the hands of fans who attend games at UBS Arena.

The journey began during COVID when the Islanders were looking for new ways to engage fans by providing camera feeds of warm-ups. There was one problem; the Islanders were seeing less than ideal engagement when people were required to download an application on their phone. This problem plagued similar products previously.

Fast forward years later, ISLES+ was born with a simpler approach. Fans would simply scan a QR code. It was soft launched to 150 season ticket holders in the arena on Nov. 11, and 11 days later, the full experience was a mainstay in UBS Arena.

In 2024, they are seeing nearly 20 percent of fans in the arena engaging with the platform. A significant jump from years prior.

TVU Networks outfitted the Islanders team with its remote sports production ecosystem like it has done for broadcast giants like FloSports, ESPN, Rush Media and more. Since it is hosted in the cloud by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the tools are robust, yet flexible enough, to handle any ideas teams around the world can think of.

“It’s no surprise that the Islanders are the first to bring this type of approach to their fans,” Rob Amaro, TVU’s Director for Sports, said. “They see themselves as innovators within the sports industry, and this type of game experience platform showcases it.”

One of the key features revolves around the perfectly timed goal sequence. Since fans in the arena aren’t generally going to want to immediately stare at their phones after a score, a controlled delay means that when they are done celebrating the replay is ready to be watched back. But the features go much further than providing another look at the action.

“Fans shouldn’t be punished for running to grab a drink or a snack. The Islanders wanted to make sure that everyone regardless of where they are in the arena gets to catch the action at every step of the way,” Amaro said. “They were determined to find a solution that people of all ages can engage with simply and effectively.”

ISLES+ also offers a live chat feature for fans to discuss all things Islanders, in-depth game stats, arcade-style hockey games, a direct link to purchase 50-50 raffle tickets, and much more.

Amaro said that while attending a game, people all around him were pointing their phones to the jumbotron to snag that code.

“I even got to request one of my favorite songs,” Amaro said. “It’s like having a DJ, chat room, statbook and instant replay machine all in my pocket.”

Other key areas provided by TVU include geofencing access to only the walls inside the arena, time synchronization, and a way to instantly close all the feeds in case a situation arises where production needs to stop broadcasting immediately.

Scalability is key, and TVU Networks makes it clear that the sky’s the limit with their ecosystem. Just last year TVU Networks powered the Pan Am Games where more than 50 commentators contributed play-by-play to the competition.

It’s four live cameras now with ISLES+, but if they wanted to bring in more. One area that is a must with these types of products is making sure the team isn’t bogged down or required to hire another team to run it. The cloud-production platform is simple enough where the entire production can be controlled by one crew member. 

Additional sponsorship opportunities are abundant with a product like this as well.

rhoffman

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