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Team Owners Talk About The In-Stadium Experience

Building Business Enterprises Around Sports

Jeremy Jacobs, Delaware North Companies/Boston Bruins
Tim Ricketts, Chicago Cubs/Incapital
Michael Rubin, Philadelphia 76ers/Kynetic
Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning

A panel discussion among major league team owners on the second day of the 2013 World Congress of Sports was officially about building businesses around sports franchises, but much of the discussion gravitated to the topic that has been at the forefront of World Congress for the last couple of years: the in-stadium experience versus the at-home experience.

Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik said his organization is trying to spend more time stressing the community aspect of being at a live event. He said the “presentation of our product on the ice” has to be done well enough to make fans “want to go there and be part of this community. It’s a very special bond with other people that they’re not going to get at home.”

Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts added, “Nothing’s going to replace being at the live event. We have to make sure from the moment that person gets off the L or parks their car that that whole day was special.” That means making sure there is “more for the whole family” to do at and around Wrigley Field, he said. “One of the things we’ve identified is our facilities and our neighborhood have done a lot for people that are coming with a group of friends and less with people coming with their children,” Ricketts said.

Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs noted the importance of good broadband service in sports facilities, as so many young fans spend a lot of time “looking down at their phone texting.” “You have to take advantage of that,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re missing a big part of your market.”

For a slideshow from the owners panel, click any image below.

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