University of Maryland Baltimore County Campus CenterOur Robert Fatovic contributes to a new article published by Recreation Management titled “If You Build It…” that focuses on the many ways colleges and universities are investing in athletic facilities to update, rejuvenate and strengthen them. The piece recognizes that athletic facilities can leverage design to bring larger crowds to events, help athletes train and bring multi-purpose value to their respective campus. Here’s an excerpt and the full article is available online.

Attracting a Crowd

Institutions of all sizes have been experiencing a drop in live-game attendance in recent years, particularly among students. And yet, they’re spending money in record amounts to renovate or build new competition and training facilities, willing to gamble that upgrading and enhancing the user experience will translate to more fans in the stands. And in many cases, it has. Some studies and surveys suggested that these days, college fans desire a more sophisticated  game day experience, whether that means simply upgrading restrooms and concession areas to adding more comfortable seats to installing better technology like Wi-Fi and cutting-edge video boards.

Robert Fatovic, an architect with CannonDesign , explained that technology considerations are a big trend in sports facility design., and venues need to be equipped to handle the wireless connections. When you go to a game, everybody has their smartphone out, and it’s a big drain on the systems. A lot of schools are upgrading technologies.”

Indeed, many fans are streaming videos, chatting with friends or even live-tweeting the game. There are even mobile apps to track the shortest lines at the restrooms or concession stands, or order food from your seat. “More or less now the smartphones are used for being social, for being connected while you’re at an event. And the ability to wander around and meet your friends in the club area or wherever – there tends to be a lot more freedom.”

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