The Future of Premium: It’s for Everyone

As venues become more than just spaces to host games and events, the premium experience is evolving to be for more than just premium ticketholders.

The sports venues industry is always evolving, aiming to provide fans the highest quality experience. The notion of buying a ticket to simply sit in a seat is changing—every ticketholder wants to have a different kind of in-venue experience. Arenas and stadiums are now increasing the focus on amenities, supplying fans with entertainment and activities outside the game or match. Premium spaces are being created for every type of fan and across a variety of price points, making more affordable options for general ticketholders while elevating ultra-luxe, VIP experiences even more.

Working within established footprints, owners have to identify the best location for these additional premium experiences and clubs, making calculated decisions about what will drive the most revenue. More stadiums are removing both individual seats and suites to create premium club atmospheres. This allows for more fans to have a better experience and provides venues with more revenue streams. The Rockies at Coors Field started this trend when they built a roof deck in place of an entire seating section, converting nosebleed seats into an elevated and communal experience. At Minute Maid Park, Shawmut Design and Construction replaced seats with the Michelob Ultra Club, a premium reception area including a full-service bar and views of both the field and the downtown Houston skyline.

Owners are realizing they can create a premium experience in different areas of the stadium—even if they don’t have a view of the field, court, or rink. This creates movement as fans travel from the premium space to their seats, encouraging exploration and spending. At Petco Park, Shawmut transformed underutilized space into the Cutwater Coronado Club, which includes an open-air café and club, and doesn’t have a view of the field, but of the San Diego Bay. This provides fans with an experience that highlights the city; and demonstrates the evolution of venues to more than just spaces for hosting games.

From a design perspective, clubs and lounges have become more open and well-lit. Premium spaces with areas that open out to the concourse act as a selling tool, allowing for fans walking by to get a taste of the amenities. A lot of new premium spaces incorporate the local community, whether in a nod through finishes and color palettes or through the name of the club or lounge.

Premium experiences are also becoming more communal—across price points. Standard ticketholders can find fun that’s not just at their seats, including in the outfield and in gathering spaces like Dodger Stadium Centerfield Plaza. The recently-opened Crown Club at Barclays Center reimagined the previous  bunker suites into a residence-inspired club complete with a living room, dining room, salon and pantry. The Shawmut-built space can hold up to 250 people—an ultra-luxe gathering place for premium ticketholders. At SoFi Stadium, one premium ticket gives the ticketholder two experiences—one in their seats and one in a private club that’s separate from the general concourse.

This concept of premium for all fans will increase as owners continue to focus on providing ticketholders with as much value as possible, driving both attendance and revenue.