“5th Quarter” — NFL teams ask fans to stick around
Some NFL teams are working overtime to keep fans entertained and happy after games, offering postgame events including music, concessions and the chance to watch other action from around the league.
The goal of what is typically branded as the “5th Quarter” is to extend the game-day experience by offering fans things to do and an opportunity to avoid traffic jams outside stadiums.
“It is a top priority of our organization to be able to provide a comprehensive fan experience from the time our guests leave their house to join us at a Lions game all the way back home,” said Kelly Kozole, senior vice president of business development for the Detroit Lions.
The Lions are one of the more aggressive teams with postgame activities.
Fans at Detroit’s Ford Field can watch television coverage of other games and monitor traffic reports. The team and concessionaire Levy offer discounted food and beverages such as $2 sodas and hot dogs and $3 beers and cocktails in a stadium area kept open after games. Those prices mirror lower-cost concessions offered inside the stadium an hour before kickoff. Two premium-area bars and a grab-and-go space also remain open an hour after the game and have $2 pizza slices.
In addition to fans from general-seating areas who stick around, Lions officials say roughly half of their suite holders stay after games end. Children age 5 to 14 can run on Ford Field after games and receive a souvenir football.
“We’ve had as many as 1,500 kids,” Kozole said of the experience, which is sponsored by Kroger and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
An effort launched in September by the Carolina Panthers was born out of new owner David Tepper’s conversations with fans about traffic jams after games in Charlotte.
“Dave thought we could improve the fan experience if it gave folks an opportunity to avoid some postgame egress and traffic,” said Scott Paul, vice president of stadium operations for the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. “So Dave challenged us to figure out ways to improve that.”
North club areas at the Panthers stadium stay open for roughly 90 minutes after games for any fans interested. The areas offer food and drinks and show other games and NFL RedZone. Panthers officials say they are averaging about 1,300 fans after games.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, the offerings after the game feed into fans’ desires to socialize at sporting events, said Chad Johnson, chief content officer for the team. The north deck patio area at TIAA Bank Field stays open two hours after games with concessions and merchandise for sale, and other NFL games are shown. F&B prices are the same as during the game. The Jaguars estimate that between 750 and 1,000 fans stick around after games.
Other teams have food and drinks and special postgame events outside their stadiums that, in addition to giving fans more to do, provide brands with a chance to extend their sponsorships.
■ The Dallas Cowboys keep branded Miller Lite areas outside AT&T Stadium open two hours after games serviced by food trucks, a merchandise trailer and beverage stands. There is also postgame music. As many as 1,000 fans will hang out after games, according to estimates from the Cowboys.
■ A Miller Lite-sponsored tailgate area outside the Field Museum next to Soldier Field is also open an hour after each Chicago Bears game with concessions for sale. Fernando Arriola, vice president of fan and brand development for the Bears, said menus and prices are the same at the tailgate before, during and after games.
■ The Houston Texans keep a Bud Light-branded plaza outside NRG Stadium open an hour after games with appearances by team cheerleaders and the team band. The Texans’ team shop also stays open.
■ The New York Giants allow fans from the premium field-level EY Coaches Club to go on the field at MetLife Stadium after the game. Suites and club areas stay open for an hour and fans can watch other games.
■ The Miami Dolphins’ 72 Club premium-seating and food-and-beverage area at Hard Rock Stadium stays open 90 minutes after games for premium-seat fans.