I went to the New England Patriots game last night. As usual I look at venues and events differently then the average fan. All of us in the business do. We know what happens behind the scenes. We know what goes into putting on an event for 80,000 people. I have written on several occasions about how the experience may be one of the most important factors in marketing. So, let’s talk about my experience at the game.
The guys I went with have season tickets. They go to every game and have a system in place that serves them well. We were going to leave for the game really early and tailgate, but the weather was threatening and none of us were in the mood to stay cold & wet the whole night (not a good experience). So we out for a bite to eat before the game. I asked if we were going to be able to park since we were getting to the game so close to kick off. They use one of the many private lots that every business along Route 1 sets up. They explained that if you are a regular customer you can pre-purchase parking for the entire season. This gives you the same reserved spot every game. For a private, off-site lot that is pretty cool. The reason they park in this lot is ease of the in and out. If you park in one of the stadium lots it can be a pain in the ass to get out. We saw two accidents leaving the stadium. Also, the stadium lots are a lot stricter on tailgating.
The Kraft family, owners of the Patriots have really done it right. Not just by putting a first class team on the field but with the stadium and property around it. As we entered the stadium grounds we walked past the new Patriots Place. This is a shopping and entertainment complex with big brand name stores, restaurants, and a live entertainment venue.
As we entered the stadium we were hit right away with concessions. They have plenty. You really don’t have to stand in line long or at all to get a beer. If you are blind and cannot see the beer stands, no worry the beer will come to you. We stopped to buy some before we went to our seats. Three beers was $22.50. If you are going to charge $7.50 for a bottle of Bud, can I at least get a bottle with a ”born on” date from October or November? All of ours were from July. I thought Bud was supposed to be fresh? With amount of money being spent at this complex I say recession, what recession? They have no problem selling tickets either. They announced at the game that it was the 157th consecutive sell-out.
The stadium experience is very good for the fan. Loud, pumping music that keeps the crowd hyper. They use lots of pyro and of course they have the musket firing militia in the end zones.
They take good care of their sponsor/partners. They provide them with opportunities to interact with the fans. They have booths set up through the concourse, they do promotions in the seats and on the jumbo-tron. They even did a mobile marketing promotion with the fans in the seats. My only complaint is they only mentioned it once and I didn’t get all the info to try it. I wonder what they do with all the mobile data they collect?
The Pats lost the game in overtime which we were not happy about but we had a great time. The overall experience was good. This is what it is all about. As marketers, we cannot control the result of the sports team but if the experience is a good one, the fan will come back.
Have a great weekend everyone!