I’ve been fortunate to have been a season ticket holder for a professional football team for 15+ years, so when my company consults with pro sports teams on season ticket holder (STH) retention and fan relations, I can talk as a strategist and researcher or…as a fan.
And I love talking as a fan. One key point that those in the sports industry need to remember is that the game day experience is – to many fans – far beyond what the smart phone experience or television experience could ever become.
As a fan, when I go to the game, there are certain aspects of the experience that I could never get on TV. I feel and am a part of the emotion of 70,000+ people (FYI – I’m a Carolina Panther STH). And even when that emotion is negative, it’s raw emotion, at times it’s yelling, at times it’s tense silence – but it’s almost always a roller coaster of emotion for 3+ hours.
And unlike the fan at home, if I want to watch a defensive end for a couple plays, I can focus just on him. If I see a wide receiver wide open 20 yards downfield, I can yell “He’s open! He’s open!” at the same time that a TV watcher is being shown the quarterback standing in the backfield. I can think to myself – “that pass is going to be intercepted” before the TV cameraman even focuses on the receiver and cornerback.
You see, I can see what I want to see. It’s in my hands (and my eyes) to focus on anything going on, whether in the field of play, on the sidelines, or in the stands. The customer has the power – a power that cannot be duplicated by television.
Television is a wonderful thing and is constantly expanding its capabilities, but these expansions of capabilities erode the gap between the game day experience and the home experience.
So to maintain gate receipts, STH retention, and enthusiasm for attending the games, game day professionals and pro sports teams need to address this key point – we need to leverage, improve, and market the two greatest aspects of being at the games: (1) Being a part of the experience with tens of thousands of other fans, and (2) Controlling one’s own perspective on the event.
To keep fans coming to the games, enhance the “group experience,” and find new ways to help fans gain more from their unique view of the event.
Interested in improving your team or club’s fan relations? See more at our new website! http://cssamerica.com/csssport.htm
Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/