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Volume 26 No. 229
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Looking At What The Future Holds For Facilities In College Sports

Berst said people go to sporting events because they want an emotional experience
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Berst said people go to sporting events because they want an emotional experience
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Berst said people go to sporting events because they want an emotional experience
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN

What does the college facility of the future look like? How do schools get fans to games? How do they keep them there? A panel of execs addressed those issues and more on Day 1 of the '19 Learfield IMG College Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. Dimensional Innovations Practice Dir of Collegiate Sports Drew Berst outlined why fans attend games: “From the days of the Roman Coliseum to today, nothing has changed in terms of why people want to go to live sporting events: They want a place to belong. They want an emotional experience.” He added, “That’s still really the core value of what we offer in sports. So, the question, to me, that also needs to be asked is: Why do they feel that this isn’t the place I belong anymore? How do we make it the place that you have to be?”

KID STUFF: A topic which came up early and often: Getting young people to the stadium and keeping them there. ANC CEO George Linardos offered his take: “We’ve all talked about how it’s sort of hard to deal with the millennials. Well, that’s nothing compared to what’s coming up with Gen Z. A millennial has a 12-second attention span. Gen Z … has an eight-second attention span. Which means that just in the time it takes to set up another play, they’re lost. They’re going to the phone. They’re going to do something else.” Wake Forest AD John Currie noted: “How many of us go anywhere and just sit still for three and a half hours? I don’t.”

STAYING CURRENT: CLEAR Sports GM Ed O’Brien said a “big part” of the experience is “providing optionality and personalization and just making the whole experience easy, which can become a little bit daunting in this day and age because you can’t just have one or two offerings.” He added, “You need to give people many options, because people want what they want and they want it now.” HOK Dir of Global Sports, Recreation & Entertainment Nate Appleman said of social media reaction to an event, “You think about the speed of communication in this day and age. Whether it’s a good experience or a bad experience, it gets out there and it gets viewed and distributed and retweeted to the point where if it was a bad experience, a million people know about it like that.” He added, “But you can harness it the other way.”