Your venue isn’t as cool as it used to be. New technologies and higher fan expectations turn yesterday’s noteworthy into tomorrow’s norms, causing teams to examine and improve the fan’s round-trip experience, not just the destination. As a means of elevating the fan experience from start to finish, both professional and collegiate teams are starting to think outside the box, and in some cases, outside the venue walls. One of the primary areas of innovation is tailgating.
“Over time, fans have sought to deliver the [tailgating] experience they want in their own way because a lot of teams have kind of ignored tailgating,” says Adam Ward, Founder and CEO at Block Party Suites, a developer of enhanced tailgate communities that partners with teams and events. “What we’ve observed is that more people are spending time tailgating outside the stadium than they are inside the stadium.”
By leaving the tailgating experience up to fans, teams have limited control of the overall fan experience, while losing an opportunity to generate potential new revenue. Now teams and their venues are partnering with solutions providers, from tech giants to VIP experts, in order to solve for these pain points in the parking lot.
The Dolphins and Uber
To reduce traffic and make parking more readily available, many teams have developed ride-sharing partnerships with Uber to provide an alternative option for fans to safely get to and from the venue. As part of the 2016-17 NFL season, the Miami Dolphins and Uber extended this experience to UberTAILGATE, a turnkey tailgating solution for fans who take an Uber ride to the game.
“We created 20 of these [UberTAILGATE] spots,” says Jeremy Walls, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at the Miami Dolphins. “It came about because we met lots of different fans that told us they would just like to be able to tailgate without having to set up and tear down [a bunch of equipment].”
Turning Real Estate into Revenue
Formerly one of the Dolphins’ outer lots, the UberTAILGATE area is a fenced-off space adjacent to the parking lot’s Uber Zone, a dedicated pickup and drop-off area for fans riding to the game with Uber.
“It came about because we met lots of different fans that told us they would just like to be able to tailgate without having to set up and tear down [a bunch of equipment].”
– Jeremy Walls, Miami Dolphins
“The idea is we’re working together with the Dolphins to solve the logistics challenge [of getting to and from the venue],” says Kasra Moshkani, General Manager of South Florida for Uber. “But also making sure that we’re paying homage to and recreating the [tailgating] experience that everyone gets really excited about when they go to these games.”
Starting at $250, fans can pre-purchase one of the 20 UberTAILGATE spots online, up until three days prior to each home game. As part of each package, fans receive two one-way $15 promo codes to and from the stadium and a dedicated 10-by-12-foot space equipped with a tent, picnic table, grill, grill utensils, and a cooler filled with ice. Each spot has a capacity of eight to ten guests who may bring their own fare or purchase food and beverages from a provisions store, operated by Centerplate.
Who’s at the (Tail)Gate
The first season of the tailgating partnership has seen a wide range of customers utilizing the service.
“We have some season ticket holders that decide to do it a couple times, we have single-game buyers that want something unique and different,” says Walls. “And then occasionally opposing fans that don’t have the ability to set up a tailgate because they’re coming in from out of town.”
In response to positive feedback, the Dolphins plan to expand both their Uber Zone for pickups and drop-offs and the UberTAILGATE area next season.
Every Foot Counts
As third-party transportation partnerships continue to optimize ingress and egress at sports venues, teams will have a new asset in the form of vacant parking spots.
“Then the question is: what do teams do with that additional space that is now available,” says Moshkani. “…And how does that translate into ticket sales, attendance, and people changing their mindset about what it means to sit at home and watch the game versus come out and have a better experience because of how easily they can get to and from the venues.”
How is your venue generating revenue outside your walls?
Write to Max at email@example.com.
ALSD members can download the 2017 winter issue of SEAT Magazine to read our full report on revenue generation outside the venue walls. Additional case studies include the San Francisco 49ers and Amazon Prime Now, Solider Field and Arena Partners, as well as SMU and Block Party Suites.
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