How the Sabres are enhancing fan experience with WaitTime technology

Pegula Sports & Entertainment is partnering with WaitTime, a crowd tech company bringing cutting edge innovation to the Buffalo Sabres’ home arena.

When most fans think of Buffalo Sabres hockey, they think of our team tradition, the legends of the ice, and the Stanley Cup appearance. What they normally don’t think of? WaitTime technology.

There is another distinction the team carries that, much like the unique Buffalo fanbase itself, sets the franchise apart from many other sports teams and stadiums. The club has distinguished itself as an innovator in crowd technology and data-driven solutions for the organization and its fans.

Over the past few years, the Sabres have been using WaitTime management technology to look at ways to improve the overall fan experience. In fact, KeyBank Center was the company’s first NHL venue client.

Here’s what WaitTime CEO, Zachary Klima, had to say:

“The Buffalo Sabres are industry leaders in innovation and great partners of WaitTime technology. As one of our early adopters, they have always embraced our platform by diving deep into the data and leveraging the guest platform to improve fan experience.”

For those attending a game, leaving your seat for merchandise, a concession run, or bathroom break can come at the risk of missing a goal, encountering long lines, or the intermission rush.

WaitTime allows you to check concession and bathroom wait times at KeyBank Center during Buffalo Sabres’ and Buffalo Bandits’ games — as well as concerts. It’s a great way to identify which concessions or bathrooms have the shortest lines.

Believe it or not, the app also allows for pre-ordering concessions with four pickup locations. As a result, fans can spend less time waiting in lines and more time enjoying the event.

The tech uses censors above concession and bathroom areas to track crowd volume and patterns. They’re constantly observing, measuring, and maximizing the impact of the WaitTime system and how crowd traffic responds to their surroundings.

Using a traffic light color code system in which Green is a shorter wait, yellow a medium wait, and red a longer wait fans are advised on their best options in real-time. Vertical monitors featuring the wait times are also visible in the concourse (four on level 100, and three on level 300).

Here’s what WaitTime’s Design Strategy Director, Elizabeth Grabowski, had to say:

“New technology and data can be looked at as an opportunity or as a disruption. The Sabres innovation-forward culture definitely dive head-first into using WaitTime technology as a tool to measure previously untracked data and then improve business strategies and guest experience.”

Through the My One Buffalo app that Pegula Sports and Entertainment has introduced, fans can use the tech and can also customize and enhance their full gameday experience.

The app features a membership program in which suite upgrades, giveaways, and exclusive offers can be earned and accessed. Additional features include an Uber feature, a pin feature so fans can remember where they parked, as well as NITTEC traffic data, and border-crossing wait times for Canadian fans.

The app has also seen some updates during the last several seasons based on fan survey suggestions.

“It’s something we’re trying to do for the fans to make it a better fan experience” said Buffalo Sabres’ Senior Vice President, Michael Gilbert, at the time of the survey.

With a few years of collaboration under their belt, the Buffalo Sabres and WaitTime have applied data-driven smart solutions for improving crowd flow, engagement and commerce, and new innovations and updates.

The technology has also been applied to Bills Stadium, where Bills’ fans can check what the wait times are for the stadium’s seven entrance gates.

The insights and learning gathered by the company and PSE offer data solutions useful to the pandemic recovery period as teams look ahead towards safely welcoming back fans.

WaitTime can also be leveraged as a return to occupancy tool in response to Covid-19 by using the existing system to monitor social distancing, alert on busy areas, and leverage crowd intelligent guest communication platforms.

When the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills welcome back the greatest fans in the world to their home games, the facilities will be ready to safely accommodate them thanks to WaitTime’s state-of-the-art, patented artificial intelligence, real-time data, and overall analysis.

With digital smart event solutions for safety being rolled out ahead of fans’ return to live events — as well as the NHL target date of January 1st for beginning the 2020-21 season — the Buffalo Sabres are preparing for when fans can once more fill KeyBank Center.

We really hope you enjoyed this blog about our beloved Buffalo Sabres. We look forward to continuing the conversation with the best fans in the world down below in the comments section.