AI Helps Sports Fans Find Shortest Concession Lines
WaitTime's system takes pictures of an arena's concession lines 10 times per second to calculate queuing times, order completion times and the number of people who got out of line because they didn't want to wait any longer.
I love going to sporting events, but there’s nothing worse than missing a game-changing play while waiting in line for food. And that’s exactly why the NBA’s Indiana Pacers have teamed up with the startup WaitTime.
WaitTime uses cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to direct fans to the concession stands with the shortest lines. WaitTime’s system takes pictures of the arena’s concession lines 10 times per second to calculate queuing times, order completion times and the number of people who got out of line because they didn’t want to wait any longer.
If it works, the Pacers could make a lot more money, reports Bloomberg. But the cost of WaitTime’s AI isn’t cheap. The Pacers will spend $150,000 upfront to install WaitTime’s technology inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, then an additional $9,000 monthly fee. Of course, the Pacers can sell ad spots on each of WaitTime boards to offset some of the cost.
“WaitTime’s patent-pending crowd-science technology provides real-time information on fan traffic to major entertainment and sports venues,” the company says on its website. “Through our artificial intelligence, WaitTime gives stadium operations access to information on crowd movement, line length and line attrition, allowing them to proactively respond to the needs of fans where they are.
“This information results in increased venue efficiency, and creates the optimal fan experience. WaitTime is currently working with some of the most well known venues and major sports teams in the world to help them master crowd science, specifically as it relates to their venue and operations.
The Pacers display the wait times on screens and a mobile app to show fans which lines are the shortest. The Pacers can use WaitTime’s data to redistribute concessions workers, or send mobile vendors to the areas with the longest lines.
The Pacers launched their version of WaitTime at a preseason game last week against the Chicago Bulls. The Detroit Pistons (NBA), Detroit Red Wings (NHL) and Detroit Lions (NFL) also use WaitTime’s AI in their stadiums.