The mission is in their job title
What trend dealing with the fan experience are you watching the closest?
Vice president, fan experience, Los Angeles Chargers:
One of the trends we are watching closely is in-seat connectivity. … This technology allows fans to use their smartphones for literally everything while in the stadium, from choosing which replays to watch, what stats to see and which food option to purchase. This programming will have a great impact on our relationship with the fans in-stadium and is affecting how we communicate with them throughout the game.
Senior vice president, marketing and fan experience, Milwaukee Brewers:
Anything and everything related to technology — from data capture to line efficiency (ingress, bathrooms, F&B) to expediting purchasing (F&B/retail) to connectivity to beacons to paperless tickets to artificial intelligence.
Assistant athletic director, marketing and fan experience, University of South Carolina:
The biggest opportunity I see is creating as close to a comfortable environment for fans in the stands as they have watching the game at home. That means attention to bathroom and concession lines, variable seating options and the ability for fans to receive in-depth game info in real time like they do while watching the game on their couch.
Vice president of fan experience, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx:
Concessions: Variety, selection, pricing as we look at how many different offerings we have in the future. Quality versus quantity versus price.
Corporate services and gameday operations manager, Saint Louis FC:
We are focusing on creating a memorable fan experience from the moment fans drive into our parking lots until they leave at the end of the match. We want FC fans to have enjoyed themselves so much that win, lose or draw, it doesn’t matter because as they head home and during the subsequent days they are reminiscing about the fun they had watching the game, interacting with their friends, family, other fans, hanging out in our pregame festival area, eating and buying new gear in the fan shop — they can’t wait to attend the next home match or away match watch party.
What are the most common gripes you hear from fans following an event?
Vedder: Pricing of tickets, concessions, merchandise and areas for kids to play and be entertained once they lose interest in the match.
Tamar: The No. 1 gripe going back to when video boards were first introduced to today is that there are never enough replays. Even though we show nearly every play and usually two angles of each, there never seems to be enough. The second gripe is the request for more out-of-town scores/stats during our games. This is based on the increase in fantasy leagues over the years and has generated a desire for up-to-date league info all the time. We do everything we can to meet this need, but the request for more is always there.
Munneke: Team related and concession pricing. Our focus continues to be on the fan dividing into “7 Pillars of Fan Experience:” In-seat experience, entering-exiting the building, getting to and from the arena, in-game entertainment, in-arena F&B, in-arena technology, in-arena retail.
What’s the latest initiative/strategy you’ve rolled out to improve the event experience (technology, renovation, marketing, etc.)?
Werner: Prior to the 2017 season, the Brewers — in partnership with Delaware North — invested $20 million to reimagine our food and beverage program. The project included updates to food and beverage offerings as well as an extensive renovation of the concourse and concession stands. The initiative was the single largest upgrade to Miller Park by the club in every measure, from scope to financial investment, since the facility opened in 2001.
Vedder: The latest renovation that we rolled out this season is two new viewing areas for our fans, allowing them to be within arm’s length of the players during the match. The two new on-field hospitality patios (one behind each goal) provide fans with an unforgettable intimate experience viewing the match from only 10 feet away. One patio is an all-inclusive food and beverage ticket for the entire match while the other is open to the public to come and go freely.
Munneke: We are amplifying the promotion of the Timberwolves.com blended marketplace as the only place to purchase tickets and solidify a multiyear ticket management plan which will help us determine optimal product-type seating per seat level.
Tamar: Over the last year, we’ve really focused our strategies on ways to entice fans to show up for the event earlier. We’ve done this by adding numerous activation areas around the stadium, including a very popular beer garden. Along with this effort, we’ve increased our live music options, incorporated happy hour food and beverage pricing, and opened the gates into the bowl earlier so fans can watch more behind-the-scenes preparations and practice time.