Sports teams and venue managers are in a constant race to improve their venues, create new premium amenities, and provide a seamless overall experience. The traditional approach to targeting potential customers and improving fan experience relies on big data and loaded tickets to support premium sales.
A more layered approach to design, hospitality, and technology can produce a significant return on investment versus just improving a single aspect of the fan experience. Generator Studio’s design process, called RE|VENUE, delves into an organization’s unique challenges, regional influences, brand essence, and revenue goals.
This approach engages topics well beyond architecture and design, solving issues and creating long-term value across the entire platform of an organization. This immersion brings a fresh look to a venue, demonstrated below through four unique projects that implement seating and group concepts previously non-existent in the venue. These projects strengthened revenue, were budget conscious, and were completed in their respective offseason.
The St. Louis Blues had three fan-focused goals during their 2018 renovations – create gathering spaces, elevate the dining and drinking experience, and increase fan comfort for every ticket price. Scott Credit Union Rinkside Club was built inside the former 12,500-square-foot administration office space (moved to the adjacent Stifel Theatre) on the event level at Enterprise Center. Transformed into a high-touch home for patrons sitting in the first rows along the dasher boards, it adds untapped value and exclusivity to these coveted seats.
The Rinkside Club features a four-sided bar and multiple ganged monitors throughout the space that provide customized content and sponsorship programming.
Working closely with Levy Restaurants to develop the food and beverage touchpoints, the design and hospitality of the club celebrates the early- to mid-20th century cocktail culture in St. Louis – a nod to the vibrant and revered days of the city’s past. The all-inclusive club has a secondary, more exclusive club within it to provide an even higher level of hospitality and price point for those seeking it.
The design of the Rinkside Club is highlighted by a massive four-sided bar serving specialty cocktails and local beers, with multiple ganged monitors throughout the space that provide customized content and sponsorship programming. Chef-attended action stations provide additional entertainment and demonstrate attention to high-quality and fresh ingredients.
One of the key goals in the renovation of Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was creating a defined experience so when a fan steps into the seating bowl, it’s all about hockey. It is well-known in the hockey world that this experience now culminates in a traditional organist leading the cheers and a Tesla coil-generated lightning strike when the team scores.
Off the club level, The Lofts are a highly-visible retrofit that introduced two larger-scale group sales spaces on a previously struggling premium level with underperforming club seats. Designed to be flexible in size, the Lightning are able to adjust the space based on demand to maximize ROI, accommodating groups of 40 to 125 guests.
The Lofts have become a revenue sweet spot between private suites and individual seats. All-inclusive food and beverages are enjoyed by fans from a seat or the social area, both with views to the event floor. The space was transformed in the three-month offseason between the playoffs and the first preseason game, with the arena remaining open for concerts and other events.
As the home to the Fresno Grizzlies and a gem in downtown Fresno, Chukchansi Park’s left-field concourse was an underutilized, sunbaked area, where improving the fan experience would clearly pay dividends. The team’s goal was to create an outfield destination for fans that provided a new social atmosphere to take in the game.
Anchored by a standing-room-only area dedicated to socialization and open to all ticket holders, Fresno Social also has tiered ticketed seating, providing fans enhanced views of the field. The space offers guests a place to enjoy the shade and a beverage while taking in Grizzlies baseball and other community events. Fresno Social is open to all, but it is designed to be fully ticketed in the future if the team desires. This area is slated to open in April 2019.
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Truss Bar and Lodge at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, took advantage of an unprogrammed shell space when the stadium was under construction in 2016. With an eight-month timeline for design through completion, budget and scheduling were critical for a space anticipated to have a high level of finish.
The space was designed with a variety of seating and amenity options targeted at premium ticket holders to create a memorable experience authentic to the Vikings. With its 130-linear-foot bar, the Truss Bar was named for its unique positioning adjacent to the massive truss that gives U.S. Bank Stadium its signature shape. Accessed partially by its own bridge not designed into the original building, the large 400-plus-person bar with drink rail seating targets existing season ticket holders as a highly unique social gathering experience in a new stadium chock full of great amenities.
Inspired by local Minnesota materials and Nordic culture, the play of rugged and polished materials defines the experience through a simple palette of steel, wood, and lighting. Custom LED lights highlight the Vikings’ brand experience in a subtle and unobtrusive way.
New seating and hospitality concepts in existing premium spaces can be designed to meet untapped demand, executed with modest budgets, and constructed in a single offseason. Architecture, hospitality, food and beverage, and technology should be planned and layered to maximize a project’s return on investment.
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Write to Tom at email@example.com and learn more about Generator Studio’s RE|VENUE design process.