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While the fact that we can enjoy sporting events in person again should be enough to make every sports fan rush to their local sports complex, we know that it takes more than that. Sports venues across the country are in a constant battle to attract fans that not only have competing interests, including streaming television, but get bored easily with the status quo.
To combat this, sports complexes are developing amenities and innovations to entertain guests when the play on the field or court is not enough. The experiences below not only help fill gaps in game action and help these venues standout, but they also help draw in the casual fan who may only have marginal interest in teams and athletes.
Create a legacy in your community
While this may appear to be the domain of millennials and their younger Gex Z counterparts, fans, guest, and even athletes love to capture memorable moments at the sports complex.
Guests are going to take pictures no matter what, so venues like Ballparks of America (BPOA) are capitalizing on the opportunity by developing “Instagrammable moments”, places where people can take pictures that are easily identifiable with the venue, throughout the park. In the case of BPOA, a giant baseball bat can be found near the front of the complex.
The Dallas Cowboys take the concept one step further with the digital selfie station. Guests can push a couple of buttons and have stars Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott pop into your picture for a unique and seamless selfie.
Grab and Go Store
Climate Pledge Arena, home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, provides guest with one of the most advanced touchless experiences in sports. Four of their concession areas are “grab n go” stores. The venue uses Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology which uses sensors to determine changes in store inventory. Guests must pre-register with the Amazon system, which can be done at the facility. Once they have, they can insert their card into the entry gate or hover their palm over an Amazon One device when entering one of the four locations. Once inside, they can grab the items they want and leave when done shopping. The Just Walk Out system determines what items were taken and the card or Linked Amazon One ID is charged.
The sporting event doesn’t have to be the only attraction for fans. Events that focus solely on fan entertainment are an emerging option for tournaments. One of the best examples of this SEC Baseball Tournament Fan Fest. When guests come to the Hoover Met Complex, they are treated to more than baseball action. In between, after, or even during matches, guests can enjoy tons of interactive games and the area’s best barbeque with zipline participants hovering overhead. These features ensure that families visiting the tournament come away with great memories regardless of the game results.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to host a major college sports tournament to host fan-focused events. Can you offer local vendors the opportunity to participate at your event? Can games vendors set up interactive demonstrations like axe throwing, cornhole, or VR games? Take ideas from larger events and scale them for your tournament with the help of local businesses.
Family Entertainment Centers
The concept of having a family entertainment center (FEC) component in your sports complex is emerging to the point that in the coming years it will no longer be a unique experience. As of today, however, it’s a standout feature in venues. Families are looking for activities during tournaments. FEC’s provide that while increasing per guest spending. For example, Cedar Point Sports Center, an award-winning sports complex near Cedar Fair Amusement Park, features a variety of games and activities including rock climbing walls and a ninja course. CPSC Adventure and Arcade is open on weekends to provide guests with a much-needed break from tournament action.
If you were blessed enough to attend the World Series in 2018 in Dodger Stadium (and you peaked into the concession stand kitchen), you may have noticed a robot flipping your burger. That’s Flippy, a robot that stands by human staff members and flips burgers and fries chicken tenders. There are already robots that can deliver food to your seat and robots that can make pizza, salads, and cocktails are becoming more prevalent in sports facilities as well.
Guests at Tottenham Stadium, home of the English Premiere League’s Tottenham Hotspur, are present for a unique sports complex experience and may not know it. The stadium’s pitch (field) can be adjusted based on the sport that’s being played. Most of the time, a natural grass pitch is used for soccer action. However, Tottenham Stadium hosts two NFL games per season in which artificial turf is used.
Not only does the development team at the Sports Facilities Companies guide the design and development process for sports and recreation facilities, but they also advise project teams and stakeholders on the items that can allow venues stand apart while maintaining operational efficiency. To learn more or if you are ready to launch your development project, contact us today at 727-474-3845.