Earlier this week, I took a tour of the Staples Center to check out a substantial technology upgrade throughout the facility (it's called StadiumVision). AEG joined with Cisco and Verizon to improve the way that programming and information can be displayed on HD video screens around the stadium. This ranged from theming and special offers on menu displays at concessions to e-commerce possibilities in the luxury suites.
It was all very interesting and a pretty fair example of high-level business collaboration. AEG, Cisco, and Verizon are hardly small players.
But it was also a glimpse of things to come. I can certainly remember the good old days of sports venues, when advertising, branding, and marketing was far more limited. Now, LA and AEG could very well be on the verge of building a state of the art football stadium Downtown, called Farmers Field. Ambitions for technology to "enhance the fan experience" are running high. The screens could be more numerous and much larger. And there could be a lot more mobile interaction, right down to the level of watching the game via a dynamic live feed to an iPhone app. From what I heard, that's the Holy Grail — you're at the game, but you can hold the game in your hands.
The Downtown Art Walk will go on, but so will questions about how it plans to pay its bills to the city.
UPDATE: Jan Perry's communications director responded to my inquiries and explained that the $2,200 came from the City Council "special events subsidies funds." Each council member's office receives $100,000 from the budget that it can spend to support special events, and this was the first time that Downtown Art Walk has fallen into that category. Perry's office said that they chose to support the event while Art Walk is figuring how to handle its future financial needs. Basically, they're helping to buy it some time.
Of course, this does still mean that the City Council is using city money to pay city fees. City Council members obviously have control over their own funds. But I think it might make sense in the future if the city takes this all into account and presents Art Walk with a smaller bill.