By: Meaghan McCloskey, @Meaghan_Mc3
As a baseball fan, one of my goals is to visit all thirty MLB stadiums. Not only do I get to see teams I normally don’t see, I get to see what makes each ballpark unique. What type of local food and beer do they have? What walk-up songs do players use? What is there to do around the stadium before the game starts? When I realized I wanted to work in sports, I used my visits to other stadiums as a learning opportunity and started paying attention to the business side of it. What was game entertainment like? How did teams keep fans engaged during high-leverage situations? How were sponsors recognized?
If working in sports is what you want to do, I highly recommend visiting as many venues as possible across all sports. I’ve been to seven MLB stadiums, countless college games, an NBA game, a minor league hockey game, and will be visiting my second NFL stadium this weekend when I go to New Orleans for the Seahawks-Saints game. Each stadium has provided valuable insight to the way teams engage their fans across various platforms.
Next time you go to a stadium you don’t consider “home”, keep these things in the back of your mind:
1. Pre-game entertainment: What sorts of games do fans have the opportunity to participate in? How are starting line ups announced? What are the hype videos like?
2. In-game: How is music used in various situations? What do teams do during inning breaks, timeouts, half time, etc. to keep fans engaged? How is the big screen utilized?
3. Post-game: What’s done if a team wins? What do they do if they lose? What promotions can people take advantage of based on plays that happened in the game (coupons for free tacos, haircuts, etc.)?
4. Miscellaneous: What traditions do teams have, and when do they occur? How are sponsors recognized? What are the front office members doing (they’re pretty easy to spot on-field/court)? Are there any special seating areas for spirit groups (King’s Court for the Mariners Felix Hernandez, student sections, etc.)?
I had a friend visit Wrigley Field for the first time in July, and when I asked her what her favorite part was, she responded with, “The entire experience!” Even getting her ticket scanned was amazing because she felt like she was walking into history. I posed a similar question on Twitter to the #sportsbiz community, asking them what their favorite part about visiting stadiums was, and here are some of the responses I received:
In college hoops, always enjoy seeing the different pregame festivities. Can say a lot about the fanbase & ath program culture.
— Edgar Walker (@Edgar_Walker) October 17, 2016
Checking out non-premium hospitality/gathering areas
— Marty Teller (@mwteller) October 17, 2016
student section – hype videos (what can I borrow from it) – the way their team works – and the food. #SMsports
— Samantha Hughey (@samanthahughey) October 17, 2016
experiencing the traditions. Every team/venue offers something unique from game atmosphere elements to even the venue itself
— Jacob Nicely (@Jacob__Nicely) October 17, 2016
love seeing tech upgrades other teams have made, in-game entertainment/presentation & sponsor activations
— Heather Joy Martin (@HevCollart) October 17, 2016
— Pam Chvotkin, Storyteller (@reddusfoximus) October 17, 2016
see how they show off their history, any traditions unique to their fans & most important, how they localize food to their city
— Josh Lukin (@coffeeon3rd) October 17, 2016
Different perspective to cultivate new ideas.
— Mike Richard (@MikeRichard603) October 17, 2016
— ANNAKIN (@HelloImBA) October 17, 2016
I want to see how fan-friendly they are (MLB) e.g., vis-a-vis access pre-game to batting practice. Also in-game experience, beer selection. https://t.co/Wxg9TYcyM2
— Daria Steigman (@dariasteigman) October 17, 2016
how they align their team brand with layout of stadium (i.e. signage, sponsorships, etc.) and how social media is implemented.
— Cole Tarver (@TheColeTarver) October 18, 2016
Have you been to other stadiums? Share in the comments below or reach out on Twitter to share some of your favorite parts of your experience!