What do you do when arguably the biggest competition for your consumers’ attention happens to be sunshine and sand?
If you’re the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you bring the beach to the stadium.
While Ryan Fitzpatrick might be stealing headlines and wardrobes with his play on the field, the Buccaneers are making waves off of it with Bucs Beach.
The Bucs spent more than a quarter of a million dollars on the space, which was done in addition to the fourth phase of renovations to Raymond James Stadium, a process that has seen the team spend $160 million on improvements to the 20-year-old venue.
“We live in paradise and the beach is a major contributing factor as to why that is the case,” said Atul Khosla, chief corporate partnership and brand officer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “As we looked at our game experience and how we could continue to innovate in that space, we said ‘Why not bring the beach to the game? Why not bring sand, tiki huts, surfboards and lifeguard stands? Why not bring the entire ambiance that exists at the real beach here for our fans to enjoy?’”
Beyond just providing fans a space to rock out to Jimmy Buffet and enjoy their favorite mixed drink, Khosla and the rest of the teams at the Bucs wanted to provide fans with a space that mixed local Tampa flavors with the chance to create shareable moments.
As more teams put an emphasis on bringing traces of the local community inside their stadiums and arenas, Khosla and the Bucs decided to do the same after getting feedback from fans.
“You start with an experience, then you add onto it from a point of your partners activating, then you add food trucks and then you add live art with local artists and then next thing you know you have that local flavor that exists in Tampa right outside the stadium where your fans can enjoy it.”
Given that the Bucs are experiencing the fastest growth from their fanbase with millennials and younger families, the shareable aspect of the space was just as important as integrating aspects unique to the Tampa area seeing as “that audience is very much looking for a fun experience that can be shared with their friends and family.”
While they were thinking about all of the social media platforms when building the space, Instagram probably played the largest role, according to Khosla.
“That was our first takeaway when we were designing Bucs Beach,” added Khosla. “We knew that a big part of it was trying to design a space that would look good on Instagram.”
Although sharing is great, the space had to do more than just look nice, it had to evoke some kind of emotions from the fans who found themselves ankle deep in sand.
As Khosla put it, “we have to create excitement, excitement is what gets people to come back and what gets people to share.”
It’s this excitement that then leads to partners getting involved and creating a 360-degree opportunity that not only fans can enjoy, but also a place that the team can drive value for current and future partners.
Gamedays are now a destination. 🏖☀️🏈
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 12, 2018
At the end of the day, that’s all that matters to Khosla.
“If we can evoke those kinds of feelings and those feelings can be shared, then we’re on the right path.”