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25 richest people in America and how they did it



Stacker compiled a list of the 25 wealthiest people in the country and how they've maintained their fortune.
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A shot at the Powerball jackpot or an unexpected holiday gift can make you feel like a million bucks. But there are people in the nation who are making millions every day. Some became entrepreneurs straight out of college; others worked at companies for years before conceiving life-changing inventions. Some of America’s most affluent people inherited their wealth, while others’ path to prosperity has all the makings of a rags-to-riches story. Who are the wealthiest people in America, and how have they maintained financial success?

There are many ways to make money in America, from technology to investments to software development. Stacker compiled a list of the 25 wealthiest people in the nation. These individuals are ranked by estimated net worth, using Forbes 400 (Real Time) data accessed in November 2022. The list starts with people with tens of billions of dollars and climbs even higher, finishing with one person reported to be worth $200 billion.

Continue reading to see where a shoe designer, Microsoft’s co-founders, and department store moguls rank on this list of the richest people in the country.

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Jim Simons attending the 23rd Annual Stars of Stony Brook Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 13, 2022, in New York City.

Roy Rochlin // Getty Images

#25. Jim Simons

– Estimated net worth: $28.1 billion
– Age: 84
– State of residence: New York
– Source of wealth: hedge funds

Famed mathematician Jim Simons left his academic career to helm the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies at 40. Simons pioneered the stock market industry with his data-driven approach. His methods are widely used in the stock market industry to this day.

Stephen Schwarzman on center stage during the opening day of Web Summit 2019.

David Fitzgerald // Getty Images

#24. Stephen Schwarzman

– Estimated net worth: $29.1 billion
– Age: 75
– State of residence: New York
– Source of wealth: investments

After leaving financial services firm Lehman Brothers in the 1980s, Stephen Schwarzman partnered with his friend Pete Peterson to start another investment firm, Blackstone Group. Blackstone Group expanded and led to Schwarzman’s success as a sought-after broker, providing advice to clients like the Department of the Treasury.

The Irish Financial Services Centre, home of SIG's European Headquarters.

Eric Jones // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Jeff Yass

– Estimated net worth: $30 billion
– Age: 66
– State of residence: Pennsylvania
– Source of wealth: trading, investments

Jeff Yass started as an accountant and was a professional gambler for a while. But eventually, he became a corporate executive and, in 1987, co-founded the investment company that became Susquehanna International Group. SIG has invested in numerous companies globally and has donated millions to conservative political groups and candidates.

Len Blavatnik arriving at the Warner Music Group Pre-Grammy Celebration at Nomad Hotel Los Angeles on February 7, 2019.

Gregg DeGuire // Getty Images

#22. Len Blavatnik

– Estimated net worth: $30.7 billion
– Age: 65
– State of residence: New York
– Source of wealth: music, chemicals

Len Blavatnik has a diversified portfolio of investments. The billionaire business magnate is known for his high-reward but risky business deals, from oil to chemicals to music. Blavatnik has stakes in the chemical company LyondellBasell, clothing retailer Tory Burch, Warner Music Group, and Spotify.

Ken Griffin participating in a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Michael Kovac // Getty Images

#21. Ken Griffin

– Estimated net worth: $30.8 billion
– Age: 54
– State of residence: Florida
– Source of wealth: hedge funds

Ken Griffin is the founder of Citadel, the Florida-based hedge fund where he’s made the bulk of his fortune. During his undergraduate days at Harvard University, Griffin started investing and placed a satellite dish on the roof of his dorm to obtain real-time stock data.

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Jacqueline Mars, center, and her granddaughters, Graysen Airth, left, and Katherine Burgstahler, right, arriving for the formal Artist's Dinner honoring the recipients of the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Pool // Getty Images

#19. Jacqueline Mars (tie)

– Estimated net worth: $37 billion
– Age: 83
– State of residence: Virginia
– Source of wealth: candy, pet food

M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles, and Milky Way are all products of Mars, the candymaker partially owned by Jacqueline Mars, who inherited the company from her family, which founded its first factory in 1911. Today, Mars oversees the candymaker’s various products beyond candy, including chewing gum and pet care products.

Queen Elizabeth II presenting American businessman John Mars with an honorary Knighthood at Windsor Castle on April 29, 2015 in Windsor, England.

WPA Pool // Getty Images

#19. John Mars (tie)

– Estimated net worth: $37 billion
– Age: 87
– State of residence: Wyoming
– Source of wealth: candy, pet food

Alongside his sister Jacqueline, John Mars owns the Mars manufacturing company, which produces candy, chewing gum, and pet care products. In 2015, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

MacKenzie Scott attending the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 04, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.

Toni Anne Barson // Getty Images

#18. MacKenzie Scott

– Estimated net worth: $37.7 billion
– Age: 52
– State of residence: Washington
– Source of wealth: Amazon

After Mackenzie Scott and her ex-husband, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, divorced in 2019, Mackenzie inherited a 4% stake in Amazon’s shares, valued at $38 billion.

The former couple met in 1992 when they both worked for D.E. Shaw, a New York hedge fund, and married the following year. It was Scott who encouraged Bezos to launch an online business. Since becoming one of the wealthiest women in the world, Scott has dedicated a large portion of her wealth to philanthropic initiatives.

Founder and current chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc Phil Knight standing on the sidelines before the NCAAF game between the Oregon Ducks and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 23, 2019, in Tempe, Arizona.

Christian Petersen // Getty Images

#17. Phil Knight & family

– Estimated net worth: $41.5 billion
– Age: 84
– State of residence: Oregon
– Source of wealth: Nike

Before becoming the co-founder of sneaker giant Nike, Phil Knight had joined the University of Oregon track team. There, Knight became good friends with coach Bill Bowerman, who would later become his business partner. Soon after completing a business program, Knight borrowed $50 from his father to import high-quality running shoes from Japan at an affordable cost. The shoe mogul has undoubtedly come a long way from selling sneakers out of the trunk of his car in 1964, earning $8,000 in his first year. As of November 2022, the Nike brand is worth over $40 billion.

Michael Dell speaking onstage at Decades Not Days: Investing & Entrepreneurship during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Hilton Austin on March 14, 2022, in Austin, Texas.

Diego Donamaria // Getty Images

#16. Michael Dell

– Estimated net worth: $50 billion
– Age: 57
– State of residence: Texas
– Source of wealth: Dell Technologies

Michael Dell’s dream of developing and selling computers began in his dorm room at the University of Texas. Less than 10 years later, he became the founder and CEO of Dell. Dell’s vision for computers was the ability for consumers to buy machines customized to their needs. Today, the computer technology market is worth $13.5 billion.

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Alice Walton speaking onstage during the Getty Medal Dinner 2022 at Getty Center on October 03, 2022, in Los Angeles, California.

Stefanie Keenan // Getty Images

#15. Alice Walton

– Estimated net worth: $55.7 billion
– Age: 73
– State of residence: Texas
– Source of wealth: Walmart

Alice Walton inherited Walmart from her father, Sam Walton, who established the company in Arkansas in 1962. Alice is known for her curation and support of the arts and is considered one of the richest women in the world, according to Forbes.

Charles Koch standing for a portrait after an interview with the Washington Post at the Freedom Partners Summit on Monday, August 3, 2015, in Dana Point, California.

The Washington Post // Getty Images

#13. Charles Koch (tie)

– Estimated net worth: $56 billion
– Age: 87
– State of residence: Kansas
– Source of wealth: Koch Industries

Charles Koch is the chairman of Koch Industries, the far-reaching corporation involved in oil production, chemicals, commodity trading, and investing. He inherited Koch Industries from his father, Fred Koch, and co-owned the company with his brother David, who passed away at age 79 in 2019. The two brothers are known for their involvement in conservative politics and think tanks.

Julia Koch at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on January 28, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

Patrick McMullan // Getty Images

#13. Julia Koch & family (tie)

– Estimated net worth: $56 billion
– Age: 60
– State of residence: New York
– Source of wealth: Koch Industries

Julia Koch and her three children were bequeathed a 42% stake in the business co-owned by her late husband, David Koch. Koch Industries refines oil and manufactures fertilizer and paper products. The couple, who met on a blind date in the early ’90s, were philanthropists and collectively donated millions to Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Stanford Children’s Hospital.

Owner Rob Walton of the Denver Broncos looking on before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 02, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller // Getty Images

#12. Rob Walton

– Estimated net worth: $56.7 billion
– Age: 78
– State of residence: Arkansas
– Source of wealth: Walmart

Rob Walton is the son of the late Sam Walton, who founded Walmart, the largest retailer in the world. After Sam passed away, Rob took over as Walmart’s chairman in 1992. In June 2022, the Walmart heir and his family purchased the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion, the most expensive sale price for an American sports team. Walton outbid other groups who also bid well over $4 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Facebook, at Elysee Palace on May 10, 2019, in Paris, France.

Marc Piasecki // Getty Images

#11. Mark Zuckerberg

– Estimated net worth: $57.7 billion
– Age: 38
– State of residence: California
– Source of wealth: Facebook

As the well-known story goes, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his dorm room at Harvard University in 2004. Less than 15 years later, the social media platform—worth more than $290 billion—has nearly 3 billion users and is credited with connecting people worldwide. It has also been at the center of several misinformation and political propaganda scandals, some of which have required Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. Zuckerberg remains the company’s CEO and is expanding his interests in philanthropy.

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Jim Walton clapping at the Walmart shareholders meeting event on June 1, 2018, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Rick T. Wilking // Getty Images

#10. Jim Walton

– Estimated net worth: $57.9 billion
– Age: 74
– State of residence: Arkansas
– Source of wealth: Walmart

Like his siblings Alice and Rob, Jim Walton inherited a share of Walmart from his father. Today, he runs Arvest Bank, an Arkansas-based financial services company.

Former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg attending the opening night of "The Music Man" on Broadway at Winter Garden Theatre on February 10, 2022, in New York City.

Noam Galai // Getty Images

#9. Michael Bloomberg

– Estimated net worth: $76.8 billion
– Age: 80
– State of residence: New York
– Source of wealth: Bloomberg LP

In 1981, Michael Bloomberg founded the financial information company Bloomberg LP. With revenues of more than $9 billion, the company would later develop Bloomberg News and services for financial trading. Bloomberg also had a political career as mayor of New York City between 2002 and 2013.

Steve Ballmer speaking onstage during the 2018 New York Times Dealbook on November 1, 2018, in New York City.

Michael Cohen // Getty Images

#8. Steve Ballmer

– Estimated net worth: $83 billion
– Age: 66
– State of residence: Washington
– Source of wealth: Microsoft

Business tycoon Steve Ballmer began his career at Microsoft and became the company’s president in 1998, then CEO in 2000. He purchased the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise in 2014 for $2 billion.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin gesturing during a session of the World Economic Forum, on January 19, 2017, in Davos.


#7. Sergey Brin

– Estimated net worth: $89 billion
– Age: 49
– State of residence: California
– Source of wealth: Google

Sergey Brin runs Alphabet, the conglomerate organization best known for owning Google. Brin co-founded Google in 1998 with Larry Page after they met at Stanford University. Google owns 90% of the search engine market, bolstered by nonsearch products like Google Chrome and Google Home.

Larry Page speaking during the Fortune Global Forum at the Legion Of Honor on November 2, 2015, in San Francisco, California.

Kimberly White // Getty Images

#6. Larry Page

– Estimated net worth: $93 billion
– Age: 49
– State of residence: California
– Source of wealth: Google

Computer scientist Larry Page revolutionized the online search engine with the invention of Google alongside co-founder Sergey Brin. The two created the company in 1998 and later developed products such as Google Maps, the Pixel phone, and the Chromebook.

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Warren Buffett onstage during the Forbes Media Centennial Celebration at Pier 60 on September 19, 2017, in New York City.

Daniel Zuchnik // Getty Images

#5. Warren Buffett

– Estimated net worth: $97 billion
– Age: 92
– State of residence: Nebraska
– Source of wealth: Berkshire Hathaway

Known in the investment world as the “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett made a fortune investing in media, energy, and insurance through Berkshire Hathaway. The Nebraska native assumed control of the company in the 1960s. In 2006, Buffett announced he would be donating his fortune to charity.

Larry Ellison attending the Rebels With A Cause Gala 2019 at Lawrence J Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC on October 24, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

Phillip Faraone // Getty Images

#4. Larry Ellison

– Estimated net worth: $101 billion
– Age: 78
– State of residence: Hawaii
– Source of wealth: software

Larry Ellison founded the database management system Oracle in 1977. He remains a board member of the company, which has expanded into cloud technology and is the second-largest software development firm behind Microsoft. Ellison is also a prominent philanthropist in cancer research.

Bill Gates attending the 2022 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at the Lincoln Center on June 08, 2022, in New York City.

Taylor Hill // Getty Images

#3. Bill Gates

– Estimated net worth: $106 billion
– Age: 67
– State of residence: Washington
– Source of wealth: Microsoft

Along with Paul Allen, Bill Gates founded the technology company Microsoft in 1975. Years later, he stepped away from the company to pursue philanthropy with his wife. They later divorced, but the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation remains focused on improving global health care and eradicating poverty. The foundation has a trust of more than $50 billion.

Jeff Bezos attending the Baby2Baby 10-Year Gala presented by Paul Mitchell at Pacific Design Center on November 13, 2021, in West Hollywood, California.

Emma McIntyre // Getty Images

#2. Jeff Bezos

– Estimated net worth: $151 billion
– Age: 58
– State of residence: Washington
– Source of wealth: Amazon

The tech entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is the first man ever to be worth more than $100 billion. He created the e-commerce platform Amazon, which has an annual revenue of more than $177 billion. Bezos also owns the Washington Post and the aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin.

Elon Musk speaking at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing "Cyber Rodeo" grand opening party in Austin, Texas, on April 7, 2022.


#1. Elon Musk

– Estimated net worth: $251 billion
– Age: 51
– State of residence: Texas
– Source of wealth: PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX

Elon Musk was born in South Africa and moved to California to pursue a Ph.D. in the mid-1990s. His first financial successes include the development of Zip2, an online city guide, and PayPal. In the early 2000s, he began developing electric cars with his company Tesla Motors. The Tesla Roadster starts at $200,000 and is the same car Musk sent to space with his SpaceX exploration program. In October 2022, he closed a controversial bid on the social media platform Twitter for a reported $44 billion and presently owns an estimated 82% of the company.

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Cashiers vs. digital ordering: What do people want, and at what cost?




Task Group summarized the rise in digital ordering over the past couple of years, its acceptance among customers, and its cost.
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You walk into a fast-food restaurant on your lunch break. You don’t see a cashier but instead a self-service kiosk, a technology that is becoming the new norm in eateries across the country. The kiosks usually offer customers a menu to scroll through and pictures of meals and specials with prompts to select their food and submit their payment in one place.

Self-service kiosks are big business. In fact, the market for self-service products is expected to grow from a $40.3 billion market value in 2022 to $63 billion by 2027, according to a report from BCC Research. Consumers do have mixed opinions about the kiosks, but about 3 out of 5 surveyed consumers reported that they were likely to use self-service kiosks, according to the National Restaurant Association. The technology, while expensive, can boost businesses’ bottom lines in the long run.

Task Group summarized the rise in digital ordering over the past couple of years, its acceptance among customers, and a cost analysis of adopting the technology.

Self-service kiosks—digital machines or display booths—are generally placed in high-traffic areas. They can be used for different reasons, including navigating a store or promoting a product. Interactive self-service kiosks in particular are meant for consumers to place orders with little to no assistance from employees.

The idea of kiosks isn’t new. The concept of self-service was first introduced in the 1880s when the first types of kiosks appeared as vending machines selling items like gum and postcards. In the present age of technology, the trend of self-service has only grown. Restaurants such as McDonald’s and Starbucks have already tried out cashierless technology.

From a business perspective, the kiosks offer a huge upside. While many employers are looking for workers, they’re having a hard time finding staff. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers struggled with a severe employee shortage. Since then, the problem has continued. In 2022, the National Restaurant Association reported that 65% of restaurant operators didn’t have enough workers on staff to meet consumer demand. With labor shortages running rampant, cashierless technology could help restaurants fill in for the lack of human employees.

The initial investment for the kiosks can be high. The general cost per kiosk is difficult to quantify, with one manufacturer estimating a range of $1,500 to $20,000 per station. However, with the use of kiosks, restaurants may not need as many cashiers or front-end employees, instead reallocating workers’ time to other tasks.

In May 2022, the hourly mean wage for cashiers who worked in restaurants and other eating establishments was $12.99, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Kiosks could cost less money than a cashier in the long run.

But how do the customers themselves feel about the growing trend? According to a Deloitte survey, 62% of respondents report that they were “somewhat likely” to order from a cashierless restaurant if given the chance to do so. The same survey reported that only 19% of respondents had experience with a cashierless restaurant.

What would it mean for society if restaurants did decide to go completely cashierless? Well, millions of positions would likely no longer be necessary. One report suggests 82% of restaurant positions could be replaced by robots, a prospect making automation appealing to owners who can’t find staff to hire.

Due to the ongoing labor shortage, employers have tried raising employee wages. Papa John’s, Texas Roadhouse, and Chipotle were among the restaurant companies that increased employee pay or offered bonuses in an attempt to hire and retain more workers. Meanwhile, some companies have decided to use technology to perform those jobs instead, so that they wouldn’t have to put effort into hiring or focus their existing staff on other roles.

Story editing by Ashleigh Graf and Jeff Inglis. Copy editing by Tim Bruns.

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Is real estate actually a good investment?




Wealth Enhancement Group analyzed data from academic research, Standard and Poor's, and Nareit to compare real estate to stocks as investments.
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It’s well-documented that the surest, and often best, return on investments comes from playing the long game. But between stocks and real estate, which is the stronger bet?

To find out, financial planning firm Wealth Enhancement Group analyzed data from academic research, Standard and Poor’s, and Nareit to see how real estate compares to stocks as an investment.

Data going back to 1870 shows the well-established power of real estate as a powerful “long-run investment.” From 1870-2015, and after adjusting for inflation, real estate produced an average annual return of 7.05%, compared to 6.89% for equities. These findings, published in the 2019 issue of The Quarterly Journal of Economics, illustrate that stocks can deviate as much as 22% from their average, while housing only spreads out 10%. That’s because despite having comparable returns, stocks are inherently more volatile due to following the whims of the business cycle.

Real estate has inherent benefits, from unlocking cash flow and offering tax breaks to building equity and protecting investors from inflation. Investments here also help to diversify a portfolio, whether via physical properties or a real estate investment trust. Investors can track markets with standard resources that include the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which tracks residential real estate prices; the Nareit U.S. Real Estate Index, which gathers data on the real estate investment trust, or REIT, industry; and the S&P 500, which tracks the stocks of 500 of the largest companies in the U.S.

High interest rates and a competitive market dampened the flurry of real-estate investments made in the last four years. The rise in interest rates equates to a bigger borrowing cost for investors, which can spell big reductions in profit margins. That, combined with the risk of high vacancies, difficult tenants, or hidden structural problems, can make real estate investing a less attractive option—especially for first-time investors.

Keep reading to learn more about whether real estate is a good investment today and how it stacks up against the stock market.

A line chart showing returns in the S&P 500, REITs, and US housing. $100 invested in the S&P 500 at the start of 1990 would be worth around $2,700 today if you reinvested the dividends.

Wealth Enhancement Group

Stocks and housing have both done well

REITs can offer investors the stability of real estate returns without bidding wars or hefty down payments. A hybrid model of stocks and real estate, REITs allow the average person to invest in businesses that finance or own income-generating properties.

REITs delivered slightly better returns than the S&P 500 over the past 20-, 25-, and 50-year blocks. However, in the short term—the last 10 years, for instance—stocks outperformed REITs with a 12% return versus 9.5%, according to data compiled by The Motley Fool investor publication.

Whether a new normal is emerging that stocks will continue to offer higher REITs remains to be seen.

This year, the S&P 500 reached an all-time high, courtesy of investor enthusiasm in speculative tech such as artificial intelligence. However, just seven tech companies, dubbed “The Magnificent 7,” are responsible for an outsized amount of the S&P’s returns last year, creating worry that there may be a tech bubble.

While indexes keep a pulse on investment performance, they don’t always tell the whole story. The Case-Shiller Index only measures housing prices, for example, which leaves out rental income (profit) or maintenance costs (loss) when calculating the return on residential real estate investment.

A chart showing the annual returns to real estate, stocks, bonds, and bills in 16 major countries between 1870 and 2015.

Wealth Enhancement Group

Housing returns have been strong globally too

Like its American peers, the global real estate market in industrialized nations offers comparable returns to the international stock market.

Over the long term, returns on stocks in industrialized nations is 7%, including dividends, and 7.2% in global real estate, including rental income some investors receive from properties. Investing internationally may have more risk for American buyers, who are less likely to know local rules and regulations in foreign countries; however, global markets may offer opportunities for a higher return. For instance, Portugal’s real estate market is booming due to international visitors deciding to move there for a better quality of life. Portugal’s housing offers a 6.3% return in the long term, versus only 4.3% for its stock market.

For those with deep enough pockets to stay in, investing in housing will almost always bear out as long as the buyer has enough equity to manage unforeseen expenses and wait out vacancies or slumps in the market. Real estate promises to appreciate over the long term, offers an opportunity to collect rent for income, and allows investors to leverage borrowed capital to increase additional returns on investment.

Above all, though, the diversification of assets is the surest way to guarantee a strong return on investments. Spreading investments across different assets increases potential returns and mitigates risk.

Story editing by Nicole Caldwell. Copy editing by Paris Close. Photo selection by Lacy Kerrick.

This story originally appeared on Wealth Enhancement Group and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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5 tech advancements sports venues have added since your last event




Uniqode compiled a list of technologies adopted by stadiums, arenas, and other major sporting venues in the past few years.
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In today’s digital climate, consuming sports has never been easier. Thanks to a plethora of streaming sites, alternative broadcasts, and advancements to home entertainment systems, the average fan has myriad options to watch and learn about their favorite teams at the touch of a button—all without ever having to leave the couch.

As a result, more and more sports venues have committed to improving and modernizing their facilities and fan experiences to compete with at-home audiences. Consider using mobile ticketing and parking passes, self-service kiosks for entry and ordering food, enhanced video boards, and jumbotrons that supply data analytics and high-definition replays. These innovations and upgrades are meant to draw more revenue and attract various sponsored partners. They also deliver unique and convenient in-person experiences that rival and outmatch traditional ways of enjoying games.

In Los Angeles, the Rams and Chargers’ SoFi Stadium has become the gold standard for football venues. It’s an architectural wonder with closer views, enhanced hospitality, and a translucent roof that cools the stadium’s internal temperature. 

The Texas Rangers’ ballpark, Globe Life Field, added field-level suites and lounges that resemble the look and feel of a sports bar. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers are building a new arena (in addition to retail space, team offices, and an outdoor public plaza) that will seat 18,000 people and feature a fan section called The Wall, which will regulate attire and rooting interest.

It’s no longer acceptable to operate with old-school facilities and technology. Just look at Commanders Field (formerly FedExField), home of the Washington Commanders, which has faced criticism for its faulty barriers, leaking ceilings, poor food options, and long lines. Understandably, the team has been attempting to find a new location to build a state-of-the-art stadium and keep up with the demand for high-end amenities.

As more organizations audit their stadiums and arenas and keep up with technological innovations, Uniqode compiled a list of the latest tech advancements to coax—and keep—fans inside venues.

A person using the new walk out technology with a palm scan.

Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register // Getty Images

Just Walk Out technology

After successfully installing its first cashierless grocery store in 2020, Amazon has continued to put its tracking technology into practice.

In 2023, the Seahawks incorporated Just Walk Out technology at various merchandise stores throughout Lumen Field, allowing fans to purchase items with a swipe and scan of their palms.

The radio-frequency identification system, which involves overhead cameras and computer vision, is a substitute for cashiers and eliminates long lines. 

RFID is now found in a handful of stadiums and arenas nationwide. These stores have already curbed checkout wait times, eliminated theft, and freed up workers to assist shoppers, according to Jon Jenkins, vice president of Just Walk Out tech.

A fan presenting a digital ticket at a kiosk.

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox // Getty Images

Self-serve kiosks

In the same vein as Amazon’s self-scanning technology, self-serve kiosks have become a more integrated part of professional stadiums and arenas over the last few years. Some of these function as top-tier vending machines with canned beers and nonalcoholic drinks, shuffling lines quicker with virtual bartenders capable of spinning cocktails and mixed drinks.

The kiosks extend past beverages, as many college and professional venues have started using them to scan printed and digital tickets for more efficient entrance. It’s an effort to cut down lines and limit the more tedious aspects of in-person attendance, and it’s led various competing kiosk brands to provide their specific conveniences.

A family eating food in a stadium.

Kyle Rivas // Getty Images

Mobile ordering

Is there anything worse than navigating the concourse for food and alcohol and subsequently missing a go-ahead home run, clutch double play, or diving catch?

Within the last few years, more stadiums have eliminated those worries thanks to contactless mobile ordering. Fans can select food and drink items online on their phones to be delivered right to their seats. Nearly half of consumers said mobile app ordering would influence them to make more restaurant purchases, according to a 2020 study at PYMNTS. Another study showed a 22% increase in order size.

Many venues, including Yankee Stadium, have taken notice and now offer personalized deliveries in certain sections and established mobile order pick-up zones throughout the ballpark.

A fan walking past a QR code sign in a seating area.

Darrian Traynor // Getty Images

QR codes at seats

Need to remember a player’s name? Want to look up an opponent’s statistics at halftime? The team at Digital Seat Media has you covered.

Thus far, the company has added seat tags to more than 50 venues—including two NFL stadiums—with QR codes to promote more engagement with the product on the field.  After scanning the code, fans can access augmented reality features, look up rosters and scores, participate in sponsorship integrations, and answer fan polls on the mobile platform.

Analysts introducing AI technology at a sports conference.

Boris Streubel/Getty Images for DFL // Getty Images

Real-time data analytics and generative AI

As more venues look to reinvigorate the in-stadium experience, some have started using generative artificial intelligence and real-time data analytics.  Though not used widely yet, generative AI tools can create new content—text, imagery, or music—in conjunction with the game, providing updates, instant replays, and location-based dining suggestions

Last year, the Masters golf tournament even began including AI score projections in its mobile app. Real-time data is streamlining various stadium pitfalls, allowing operation managers to monitor staffing issues at busy food spots, adjust parking flows, and alert custodians to dirty or damaged bathrooms. The data also helps with security measures. Open up an app at a venue like the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, and report safety issues or belligerent fans to help better target disruptions and preserve an enjoyable experience.

Story editing by Nicole Caldwell. Copy editing by Paris Close. Photo selection by Lacy Kerrick.

This story originally appeared on Uniqode and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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