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Volume 27 No. 35
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Sports Venue Operators Seek To Find New, Safe Guest Experience

Three sports execs weighed in on what changes fans can expect as venues begin slowly opening back up during Day 2 of the AXS Sports Facilities & Franchises and Ticketing Symposium yesterday. Generator Studio co-Founder & Chief Architect Mike Kress brought up innovations being sped up due to the pandemic: “People not being locked down to a specific location or seat specifically, and the ability of people to circulate within venues is obviously something that a lot of different venues are looking at.” Levy’s E15 Group CEO Jaime Faulkner said mobile is “something that everybody dabbled in from a food and beverage perspective,” and that is a “good next step.” Faulkner: “We have to make sure that experience in the venue, both from the technology they're using and the actual user experience, is better than, or at least at the level that they're getting everywhere else.” Chase Center GM Kim Stone is focused on redesigning the guest experience. “In the past, a great guest experience was defined by having a lot of staff that could anticipate guest questions, would spend time with them and maybe even escort them to their seats,” Stone said. “Coming out of COVID, that's not going to be as tolerable or as appreciated by the guests. We have to redesign how we provide that high level of experience with lower touch. That’s where I think mobile comes in.”

Quick Hits:

*Stone, on her optimism that NBA arenas will host fans during the ’21 season: “We are working hard toward that, putting a lot of resources and efforts toward it. And I think I'm very, very optimistic about that potential.”

*Stone, on what problem needs to be addressed prior to the start of the ’21 NBA season: “We're really focused on an affordable and effective rapid testing system that would allow for mass gatherings.”

*Kress, on how client interactions have changed for his company during the pandemic: “We’re just trying to be an asset to them in terms of lending expertise, where applicable. Just kind of imagining and talking about where the challenges might reside in more of a theoretical type world.”

*Kress, on a more fluid venue experience: “Maybe we take down some of the barriers, so to speak, and allow people to seek open space a little bit more and give them the option to curate their experience.”