Thinking Outside the Box (or Your Arena)


Think Outside the Box (or Your Arena)

I guess we’ll do it this way because it’s what we’ve always done.

That is the type of attitude that spells disaster for an event. If you’ve worked in sporting events for any length of time, you know that change is constantly around you. Whether it’s new rules, new players, or a new conference, you have to be able to adapt and change quickly.

Our job as event professionals goes beyond simply executing events. From the moment the game is placed on the calendar until the final attendee leaves, it’s our job to create a memorable experience for each and every fan.

No two days are the same just like no two games are the same. That’s why we play sports over and over again. Because you never know what’s going to happen. The crack of the bat in the bottom of the 9th can send a crowd into a frenzy. The end of the game free throw that clanks off the rim and dashes the hopes of thousands as their team misses the playoffs can drop heads in an instant in despair.

Sports are powerful; sports are fun; sports are engaging. Sports are typically played in the confines of a particular environment. Whether that’s a field, court, or rink, their are boundaries. But, should that really extend to your attendees experience as well?

It’s time to think out side the box when it comes to finding new and inviting ways to engage the fans that come to our sporting events.


More than Just Giveaways

Free concessions, merchandise, and tickets are fun. But, they’re quickly consumed and don’t always guarantee that the fans will return or tell their friends about the experience.  People don’t always return to sporting events just for the game.

While the game is important, and we won’t diminish that, we know creating a truly engaging experience for fans is much more than just a game. It’s the smell of concessions, the hot dogs, the popcorn,  the smell of the fresh cut grass.  Maybe it’s the squeak of the shoes on the basketball floor, or the flash of the skates on the ice. All of these come together to create an atmosphere. Beyond that atmosphere is where we come in and add external elements to the game.

So think through those options, think about how you can play into those things. If you’re in a baseball stadium and you know that this smell the fresh cut grass, the crack of the bat, and the sound of the vendors going through the stands selling hot dog beer etc. adds to that environment. Play into that; use your graphics and your screens to craft environments that push people towards this thing, that push people into an experience.


Engage your Fans Before they Step Inside

Environment is everywhere. From from the moment they step out of their car they see an environment. I’ve been to so many sporting events and I get excited every time I step out of the car and start walking towards the stadium. Whether I’m catching a Braves game in Atlanta, a Red Sox game at Fenway, or a college basketball game at my alma mater, I get excited for the game. There’s camaraderie, there’s emotion, there’s excitement. The unknown of what’s going to happen adds an element of excitement.

So you have as marketers,event professionals, and venue managers, an awesome opportunity to turn the event into an experience for your attendees.

Think through your digital elements that you have to work with. Maybe it’s an LED board outside, perhaps TVs in your lobby, maybe it’s a Jumbotron center hung scoreboard or end zone boards; you have digital environments to work with. Start building excitement from the moment people step out of their cars. Give them something more than just the game to engage with.


The Game within the Game

In a world a 24/7 media bombardment,  we know what it’s like to trying compete for attention. That’s exactly what you’re advertisers are asking, that’s exactly what your marketing department is asking, that’s exactly what your athletics department is asking if your school. So how do you overcome the 24 seven MTV culture we are constantly living?

Simply put, you need to engage your fans intentionally.

So how do you engage your fans intentionally?

Start with simplicity in mind.  Play the game, craft environments, and curate content that engage your fans. On clip that might work for one school organization may not work for yours and vice versa. Only you can know what’s can work for your environment, only you know your fans, only you now your market. Play the game.

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