The Seattle Seahawks are testing Amazon’s
Just Walk Out and Amazon One technologies this season in one top spot at Lumen Field. The results proved so promising that the Seahawks now plan to debut three additional Main Hall locations when the team plays at home again on Sunday, Nov. 27, the largest expansion of the technology in sports.
“We look at Lumen Field, which turns 20 this July, and see these opportunities for innovation and fan partnerships, such as with Amazon, as critical to the advancement of the fan experience at the ballpark,” said Zach Hensley, VP of the Seahawks president of operations and general manager of Lumen Field. “Our aim is to get fans back into the seats as quickly as possible. These technology solutions serve this option best for us.”
Lumen Field’s upper concourse had two traditional concession stands in the narrowest concourse of the venue. Over 51% of fans stay in the upper concourse throughout the game. To begin the 2022-23 season, the Seahawks partnered with Amazon to improve the fan experience and increase revenue by converting these locations into a District Market store featuring Just Walk Out and Amazon One technologies.
The results were impressive. The site saw a 74% increase in customer throughput compared to the previous traditional concession stand in the same location, and total transactions per game doubled compared to the previous design.
“We’re an experience building where people want to see the game,” Hensley says. “We want to get people back to their seats as quickly as possible.”
The Seahawks worked with Amazon to pull data from the stadium and offer a combination of in-store pickup and drop-off options for frictionless technology. The site was already known for the team’s community concessions program, which featured items from the local international Chinatown neighborhood, so the Seahawks didn’t change the entire menu, just taking influence from Amazon. The result was more customers passing through, less traffic and double the sales, with the most popular food item sold being the Bulgogi Hot Dog, a long dog topped with bulgogi pork, pickled cucumbers, gochujang chili aioli and nori.
Now comes the expansion.
The three new technology additions replace the more traditional pavilions in the main corridor in sections 103, 105 and 123. “We looked at the traffic in the zones,” says Hensley, “not just the flow, but the increase in diversity.”
The layout of the new stands includes various coolers, allowing an increase in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages by as much as 30%. Dry snack options, which were one or two selections per stand, can now increase to six to eight different products.
The modular units, still called District Market, offer a different setup than the original upstairs installation, so they won’t be serving hot items. By replacing the small counters of traditional belly-up stands with District Market designs, Hensley says the Seahawks now have the footprint to increase product variety while improving throughput and not hindering speed of service.
“We’re progressing from a big box store into the core circle of stadiums and starting to work with customers to make greater use of technology, especially in the upper tiers of stadiums, which have historically been underserved in terms of speed and technology,” says John Jenkins, VP of Amazon’s Just Walk Out on continued expansion.
Two types of formats have emerged, whether larger take-out markets, key flagships around the concourse, or, as in the case of Seattle’s expansion, smaller prefab “store suites” with a compact footprint to “serve as breakout in lines all over the hall.”
“They are especially effective on busy game days because they reduce congestion, get fans in and out of stores quickly and ensure fans don’t miss key moments of the action they came to see,” says Jenkins. While most teams offer pre-packaged items, whether snacks or boxed drinks, he says the technology also supports the sale of hot food and draft drinks.
Hensley says as more data comes in about fan behavior, the Seahawks will decide how far to go with the area’s grab-and-go market versus traditional food and beverage services. “I really think there will be a mix because people come to sporting events to see the sport, but also for the food and drink experience,” he says. “There will always be a need for blending.”
Amazon has its technology in all three professional sports arenas in Seattle, along with New York’s UBS Arena, Boston’s TD Garden, Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, Houston’s Minute Maid Park, Chicago’s United Center, Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium and Crypto. com Los Angeles Arena. Jenkins says the increased revenue and throughput at locations translates into increased customer satisfaction.
All three new Seattle stands are enabled with both Just Walk Out and Amazon One technologies. Additional Amazon One check-in stations will be located at the concourse, but fans still have the option of a tap-and-pay Just Walk Out experience without adding Amazon One.
When the new stands go live, the Seahawks can continue to look at the data and then use the flexibility of the layout to adjust the menu options. The variety available in the new stands allows the team to keep staples in the game and rotate other items, even seasonally. “As the seasons change, from summer to fall to winter, there are opportunities to change (the products),” Hensley says. “It gives us a lot of flexibility to transition to menu items.”