Client Desires Driving Experiential Design

The evolution to smaller premium products and packages does bring out two issues: staffing and construction timelines.

As smaller premium products crop up and lease terms get shorter or cease to exist in some cases, premium staff makeup is changing. There is an opportunity for more per event and rental sales reps, and many are collaborating with their ticketing staff to facilitate full-menu selling. Moreover, premium and partnerships in many cases are working more closely as the desire for both assets is fluctuating as well.

Secondly, speedy off-season projects are now commonplace. For example, a 6-week timeline is now enough to turn several suites into opera boxes or an all-inclusive or premium club. The design-build model is more common than ever, as venues are being utilized more often than ever.


The movement to smaller premium options is steady across the industry. Even iconic venues like Lambeau Field are making a move to smaller suites. In lieu of or by replacing suites, venues are adding loges boxes, ledge boxes, living rooms, opera boxes, rafter studios.

Besides being a product current clients desire, another upside for smaller suites is that the venues expand their prospect pool. More corporations, affluent individuals, and others without the appetite or finances for a larger suite can purchase more suitable premium products.

Regardless of suite size, smaller and flexible packages are also making the purchase more feasible. Quarter- and half-season suite leases, suite shares, per game suites, even per seat suites are on the rise. Are you offering multiple package options in lieu of traditional leases?

Access is yet another discernible contrast for a premium experience. To Tom Dunn, Senior Manager, Premium Sales & Service for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC access has a dual meaning. Premium fans and members, in the majority he says, want two things: ease and speed of access to the venue and exclusive field/pitch access.

The White Caps work with a third-party partner for additional exclusive suite and premium club gates with new scanners and security measures for ease of entry. For the 2022 season, the team plans on dedicated club concierges at each gate, serving as greetings and wayfinding experts.

Dunn adds, “There will be additional training organized by the club for third-party matchday managers, supervisors, and hosts with a focus on service excellence.” Rightfully there will be a reward and recognition program to re-enforce the new training and importance of third-party representation as every interaction with a member or guest reflects on the club.

As for exclusivity and up-close action, the White Caps are working with the neighboring casino to offer top members VIP valet parking for the 2022 season. Vehicles will be dropped off behind-the-scenes near the player locker rooms, with back-of-house lift access to the suite level. Dunn contends, “It’s more convenient, speedier, and just a cool experience.” Ideally, the club will offer dessert and coffee at the drop-off bay for members leaving the venue and waiting for their valet.

Moreover, Dunn explains that field access is premium but not everyone wants the season membership. So, the White Caps are building out a new social space, on the field, that has a lower barrier to entry for smaller groups that would pay a little bit more for that next level matchday experience. This will be available on a per match and multi-match basis targeting the casual fan or experience seeker.

For more fans than ever before, the game is merely the backdrop. While this has always been true in suites, newer social viewing desks and clubs, with or without the promise of a fixed seat location, are being built to accommodate this trend. Fans are more willing to pay more for access than an actual seat. Think: player’s tunnels at AT&T Stadium, Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena, and University of Texas at Austin, to name a few.



Photo of Barclays Center courtesy Shawmut Design & Construction