Rupp Arena has a new app that will connect users with arena information and dozens of Lexington businesses.
Omveria, a Lexington-based technology company, developed an app for Rupp Arena that has been available for several months but was unveiled officially on Thursday during the Lexington Center Corp. board meeting.
Lexington Center Corp. manages Rupp Arena, the attached convention center and Lexington Opera House.
Ralph McBarron, chief operating officer of Omveria, said 2,000 users already have downloaded the app even though it has not been advertised. People may use the app to get directions, look at upcoming shows and buy tickets.
People will download the Omveria app but can toggle to Rupp Arena. In addition, dozens of local businesses' apps will be accessible from that app.
"Instead of having all of these apps on your phone, you will have just one app," McBarron said.
Learfield Communications, which has the advertising contract for Rupp Arena, will be able to sell advertising for the new app. Most advertisers now want a certain percentage of advertising dollars to be spent on digital advertising, McBarron said.
Because Rupp Arena is the area's most recognized landmark and one of the most recognized arenas in the country, many businesses probably will want to be part of the Omveria app family. Rupp Arena app traffic will draw eyeballs to a smaller business's app, McBarron said.
"If it's a smaller business, it's unlikely that you would download their app," McBarron said.
On Thursday, during a demonstration of the Rupp Arena app, apps for nearby restaurants and shops — such as Nick Ryan's restaurant and Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers — were accessible from the Rupp Arena app.
McBarron said the app would be updated in the next month. People who want to download the Rupp Arena app now should search for Omveria. On smartphones, it will show up as Rupp Arena. But the Omveria app probably will be connected to other cities and arenas soon, McBarron said.
Using GPS, the front or face of the app will change depending on the user's location, McBarron said.
There is one problem — people might not be able to access the app inside the arena.
Cellphone reception inside Rupp is poor, particularly for AT&T subscribers. Verizon has placed additional equipment inside the arena to improve cellphone service. A rewiring of the arena to improve cell service and Wi-Fi will be completed next fall as part of a two-year, $15 million renovation.
To get around that problem, McBarron said Omveria was working on developing "download" stations inside the arena — particularly during the University of Kentucky men's basketball season — so people can learn more about the app and download it.
Brent Rice, chairman of the board of Lexington Center Corp., said the app and digital technology were where the corporation would see the most advertising revenue growth.
"The revenue potential is enormous," Rice said.