Contactless Payment, In-Seat Ordering, Order-Ahead Options Part of New Functionality Embedded in Mobile Apps

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – As colleges and universities prepare for returning students and sports, SIDEARM Sports and VenueNext today announced a new solution for athletic departments to help improve the overall fan experience and social distancing on game days.

SIDEARM Sports, the nation’s leading digital provider behind more than 1,300 collegiate athletics websites and mobile apps, is collaborating with mobile commerce technology leader VenueNext to bring a multi-faceted, seamless offering to its school partners. This relationship enables intercollegiate athletics departments the option to embed a new fan-centric platform directly into their existing mobile apps. Notably, it provides fans access to contactless payment, in-seat ordering and ordering ahead to help schools comply with new safety standards surrounding in-venue concessions and merchandise. The enhanced offering also presents fans with reward opportunities and VIP experience options.

“We’re constantly thinking of new ways we can help our school partners use technology to better engage with their fans. Now, with college sports on pause and the increased conversation around fan experiences and safety regulations this fall, we’re thrilled to unveil this new platform with VenueNext,” said SIDEARM Sports President & CEO Jeff Rubin, who is also chief digital officer for Learfield IMG College, which acquired SIDEARM in 2014. “We are especially proud to get this started with a storied athletic program like Nebraska.”

“Contactless transactions will be a critical part of the post COVID sports and entertainment environment,” said University of Nebraska Senior Deputy Athletic Director, External Relations Garrett Klassy. “We are excited to partner with SIDEARM and VenueNext to help us better prepare our athletic venues and enhance our overall fan experience.”

Aligning with SIDEARM will utilize VenueNext’s mobile point-of-sale solution, called OrderNext, to support a variety of use cases for contactless ordering and payment within venues. The OrderNext mobile point-of-sale allows guests to shop, order, and pay using their personal device without venues needing additional investments in hardware or infrastructure. This includes mobile ordering for food & beverage, merchandise, and VIP access and experiences. In addition, the VenueNext mobile wallet will provide a contactless branded payment platform, including student/fan rewards to drive engagement within the venue.

“Our collaboration with SIDEARM will provide colleges and universities with the tools they need to keep fans safe, comfortable and engaged,” said VenueNext CEO Anthony Perez. “Our mobile point-of-sale will allow fans to enjoy the same great experience they’ve always enjoyed but to do so safely and confidently. SIDEARM was the perfect partner for us to combine our platforms and offer schools a best-in-class solution at a time when it’s needed most.”

About VenueNext

VenueNext is a next-generation point-of-sale company transforming the way consumers shop, purchase, and pay. Their ecosystem of products combines physical and digital solutions to create a frictionless shopping experience, offering products such as point-of-sale solutions, online ordering, branded apps, and branded payments. VenueNext’s powerful platform makes commerce simple for consumers – and easy for brands to incentivize and reward their most valuable customers for their loyalty. VenueNext began in 2014 with Levi’s® Stadium and the San Francisco 49ers and has since gone on to power mobile-first, frictionless commerce in Arenas and Stadiums, Theme Parks, Universities, Corporate Cafes and Theaters. 

About SIDEARM Sports

SIDEARM Sports, the nation’s leading digital provider serving more than 1,300 partners, operates within the Learfield IMG College structure. With headquarters in Syracuse, N.Y., SIDEARM was founded in 2000 by Jeff Rubin, who continues to lead the business. SIDEARM is trusted by some of the biggest brands in intercollegiate athletics, including over 300 NCAA Division I programs and 57 Power Five athletic departments. As a leader in collegiate athletic web solutions, SIDEARM Sports provides the software and technology that powers websites, mobile applications, live stats, social presence and video streaming for its school and conference partners. Clients applaud SIDEARM for its service, reliability and customization, and its easy-to-use interface allows schools to customize their content streams and digital presence.

About Learfield IMG College

Learfield IMG College is the leading media and technology services company in intercollegiate athletics. The company unlocks the value of college sports for brands and fans through an omnichannel platform with innovative content and commerce solutions for fan engagement. The Learfield IMG College suite of services includes licensing and multimedia sponsorship management; publishing, audio, digital and social media; data analytics; ticketing, ticket sales and professional concessions expertise; branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue technology systems. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, the company has long had the privilege of being an advocate for intercollegiate athletics and the student-athlete experience. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.