In ice hockey, a “powerplay” is when a team has more players on the ice than its opponent. The extra-player advantage gives the team a greater chance to score — and win.

In business, every organization tries to create a power-play situation that gives it a competitive advantage in the marketplace. German hockey team Adler Mannheim is achieving its powerplay through Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, an industry-leading mobile app, and live data.

“Live data plays an important role for us today,” says Daniel Hopp, CEO of Adler Mannheim and the team’s home, SAP Arena. “And it will play an even more important role in the future.”

Live Data for a Competitive Edge

Adler Mannheim is among the most beloved sports teams in Germany. It attracts 11,000 spectators to every game, including 7,000 season ticketholders, the most of any German ice-hockey team.

A key reason for that fan loyalty is the team’s on-the-ice success, with seven German Championship and two German Cup trophies in its trophy case. Hopp aims to sustain that record with the help of SAP Sports One, which enables the team to acquire and develop athletic talent and then rapidly evaluate and adapt players and coaching during training and games.

“We use the live data provided to us by SAP in all areas,” Hopp explains. “The coach can use it to adjust training plans according to the individual requirements of the players. … This is also very important data for our trainers, for the medical team.” Team staff use live data to personalize training programs to each athlete, evaluate the physical condition of players, and determine when an injured player can resume training.

The House that Data Built

Adler Mannheim makes its home in SAP Arena, purpose-built for the team in 2005. One of the largest arenas in Germany, with capacity for 15,000, the venue attracts 1 million visitors a year for sporting events, concerts, and conferences.

The connected stadium is populated with hundreds of IoT beacons that follow the movement of customers and send them alerts that optimize their visit. The goal is to create what Hopp calls “the perfect trip.” Fans who sign up for the service get automated notifications of which stadium gates aren’t busy, which bathrooms are closest, and which food stands have the shortest lines. In the future, they’ll get details such as train schedules and delays, highway congestion and alternate routes, and where they can book hotel rooms and meals.

The most loyal fans earn points toward super-exclusive offers, like the ability to travel on the team bus, stay at the team hotel, and be included in team photos. The idea is to offer extraordinary experiences that make fans feel like they’re truly part of the Adler Mannheim family.

There’s a Fan App for That

This level of fan engagement is made possible through the team’s cutting-edge mobile app. “The joint innovation with SAP to produce the Adler fan app was a revolutionary step forward for us,” Hopp recalls.

The app optimizes the game experience by allowing fans to capture data such as player and puck speed, and track player performance. Outside the stadium, fans can track the history and status of new players, the status of injured players, when the next training will take place, when the team will sign autographs, and more.

“The Adler fan app is known throughout Germany, and it is a role model for many other sports clubs nationwide,” Hopp boasts. “That makes us very proud, and we will continue to lead the way in developing this fast and intensive communication with our fans.”

More Connections, More Shots on Goal

While Adler Mannheim is optimizing fan experience, it’s also earning a greater share of fan wallets. The organization tracks which events customers attend, which seats they purchase, which merchandising items they bought, and more. Through personalized advertising and special offers, it can then try to upgrade customers from standard ticketholders to VIP guests, or from season ticketholders to Business Club members.

The company does the same for its business customers, sponsors, suppliers, and partners. As Hopp explains, “We know much faster and much more precisely: … How did we interact with them? What can we do better for them in the future to keep them as a customer or even enhance that relationship?”

All this engagement is enabled by SAP software. “SAP is behind every door we enter: the ticket office, checkouts, backend, merchandising, merchandise management, even on the fan app,” Hopp says. “And in all areas of our work, SAP helps us make our business easier. We run simple with SAP, 100%, and we’re proud of it.”

Learn more about how Adler Mannheim’s Daniel Hopp and other leaders are using SAP solutions to help their businesses run live.
Watch our exclusive “Leaders Are Live” videos.