The model for such a mobile hub is the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey — home of the NFL's New York Jets and New York Giants and the setting for the Ravens' first regular-season game of the year Monday night. The stadium has a fiber-optic network built by technology companies Verizon Wireless and Cisco Systems to support mobile food orders and other services.
The second venue where the Ravens are trying to maximize the fan experience is on the Internet — where the team's multimedia strategy can reach fans outside the stadium.
"We're sold out" at the stadium, said Andres, the digital operations VP. "For us, it's not about selling tickets. It's about how do we make them part of our family, so to speak, outside of them being able to attend the game."
Andres runs an almost-24/7 news operation, with about nine staffers, including writers, editors, producers and photographers. Her staff attends team news conferences and writes daily stories, albeit with an obvious pro-Ravens slant.
Andres' digital interactive team posts up to five stories a day on the team's main website and then posts that content throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook.
Visits to BaltimoreRavens.com have grown more than 60 percent from last year to this year, according to Andres.
Through the website and with social media, fans can check on the health and status of individual players, as well as their comings and goings. Ravens who have proved popular online include the two Rays: running back Ray Rice and linebacker Ray Lewis.
"Through Facebook and social media, we hear from [fans], sometimes thousands of times a day," said Mink, the digital media assistant. "It's like a daily conversation with our fans, which brings us closer to them."
Those added insights into the team engender greater loyalty and enthusiasm among fans who use social media to connect not only with the players but also with one another.
Niall Fagan, 32, who works for a public relations firm in Dublin, Ireland, became a Ravens fan while working in Ocean City during his summers off from college. Fagan's allegiance to the team hasn't faded, and he plans to travel to Baltimore this fall to see them play.
Said Fagan by e-mail: "Being able to converse with other Ravens fans on Facebook allows me to stay close to the team even though I am over 3,000 miles away!"
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