Blog 3 August How to get supporters to stadiums on game day

The improvement of the home viewing experience has challenged sports teams (franchisees) to think about how they can better draw their audiences to the stadium. Would you rather stay at home on game day and watch the action from the couch? Or would you rather be part of the experience?

“Taking steps to incentivise fans to get off of the couch on game day is not a new endeavour. The short-term success of those now fairly commonplace ventures – technological in-stadium enhancements, visitor loyalty programs, and experiential personalisation – has varied, and long-term effectiveness is, in many ways, yet to be determined.”

We see more and more stadiums encouraging fans to come earlier to watch local bands and enjoy the festivities beforehand.

Teams also continue to search for ways to optimise fan experiences beyond the stadium walls. One of the ways teams are improving the fan experience on stadium grounds is by partnering with already popular services, such as Uber, MyCity and Gautrain to enhance tailgates and viewing parties. You can watch the game from outside the stadium but still be part of game day.

These brand partnerships appeal to the millennial demographic. They are already well acquainted with these types of services and are likely to engage in experiential spending. Capitalising on the consumer habits of this subset of the population is important, where millennials now outnumber baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation.

“For years, teams have sought new ways to improve the in-stadium experience. Now, they’re doing so through unique and innovative partnerships.”

– Paul St. John, Sports market development leader, Deloitte Services LP

Proximity to the stadium isn’t a prerequisite for tapping new revenue streams on game day. While catering to regular attendees and season-ticket holders is obviously valuable, there’s untapped potential in fan bases that have no access to the stadium at all.

Over half of fans from each major sports team and league in and around South Africa are displaced fansmeaning they support teams that do not play in the province that they reside. An opportunity exists in expanding the reach and generating revenue from these displaced fans. Some stadiums will have “supporter clubs” for out of province fans. This is an opportunity that is still on the rise. In some cases, there are local pubs that will support teams not from that province or area or create an environment for all supporters.

Teams for years have been looking for ways to innovate yet often have had a hard time defining what innovation means to them. Whether they target millennials or displaced fans by innovating the game day experience for them, teams can take advantage of a previously underserved source of revenue.

As sports managers and being the entrepreneurs we are, we need to get more involved in these current initiatives or generate new ideas to get fans to our stadiums.

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