How Sport Stadiums are Optimizing the Fan Experience

Have you ever attended a sporting event and paid attention to the amount of time, money, and thought was put into the stadium’s construction and environment to ensure that you enjoy your experience? In the sports world of today stadiums are often designed primarily with the fan experience in mind, providing attendees with everything they need to be able to enjoy a seamless and entertaining experience. The advancement and importance of optimizing the fan experience at sporting events has increased significantly over the past few years, as shorter attention spans and increased ticket costs have forced sports teams to deliver a more entertaining and valuable product. Sports stadiums are often as powerful of a draw as the event itself and professional sports teams around the world are taking note.

Related program: B.S. in Sport Management

UF Online Infographic: How Sport Stadiums are Optimizing the Fan Experience

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Stadium Attendance Figures

Every year, millions of people come out to their favorite stadiums to watch a game and cheer for their favorite teams. In 2013, it was reported that there was an average of 17.3 billion dollars made by professional sports industries from tickets alone. This number is projected to rise to 19.7 billion by 2018. On average, over seventy thousand people go to football games, with 17.3 million spectators per season. Over thirty thousand people go to baseball games on average, with 74 million overall spectators per season. In basketball statistics, over seventeen thousand people arrive at any single game, with over 21 million spectators arriving per season. Finally, hockey is another popular sport, where over seventeen thousand spectators arrive to watch a single game, and over 12 million watch throughout the season.

Viewing Sports at Home

Statistics suggest that viewing sports at home is slowly becoming more and more popular. Viewership of the Super Bowl event at home has risen from 86 million people in 2005 to upwards of 114 million people in 2015. Because this personal home viewing experience is on the rise, it is considered by many to be the number one threat to viewer attendance at the actual event. With how many different ways there are available now to enjoy sports at home, and the rise of fantasy sports as well, many are not sure what it could mean for the future of the industry, especially with statistics rising in all directions.

Popular Fantasy Viewing Locations

Fantasy sports have also been rising, giving viewers an interesting opportunity to enjoy their favorite plays and teams in a different way. 21.7% of fans love viewing fantasy games as they occur on the 18th Green at Augusta. 13.3% enjoy the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park. 9.9% like to watch the action court side at Madison Square Garden. 9.8% love watching game as they occur at home in front of their television set. Finally, 9.2% love to watch the game court side at the Staples Center. Many fans upgrade their TVs so that they can see the action in even more vibrant detail, and the aforementioned statistics do not take the variety of other locations into consideration.

What Fans Want in Stadium Upgrades

In recent surveys, fans were asked what they would like to see changed and improved upon to enhance their stadium experience. The vast majority of the fans at 60.3% said that they want to enjoy better WiFi facilities. 42.5% said that they wanted better parking facilities that could manage the traffic flow more efficiently. 38.3% of fans believe that the prices for concessions are simply too high, and would enjoy the game much more if the prices were made more reasonable. 34% said that their experience was too often worsened by rowdy or drunken fans, and that these disruptions should be better managed. 15.5% of fans that participated said that they want the venues themselves improved to help make foot traffic more comfortable. Only 14.7% of fans have said anything about the stadiums and their construction overall, wanting better seats and scoreboard systems.

Rising Stadium Costs and Future Developments

While many of these considerations are already being put into effect, with so many upgrades being made to so many existing stadiums, costs overall are rising as well. The average cost of a new NFL stadium in 2014 was reported to be as high as 750 million dollars. Numerous developments were made to many different stadiums as well, with costs ranging between 250 and 700 million dollars. Despite these high prices and their expectancy to rise, many fans and professionals are optimistic, believing that future developments can be made to enhance the fan experience even more.