Home field advantage exists both on and off the playing surface.
We often talk about a “Home Field Advantage” for our teams, but what does that mean to our fans? Likely something different than what you might think.
The simple fact is that, with our competition for our fans’ entertainment dollar becoming more and more competitive, we can’t just think about selling to them as a form of “membership” or as something that is in the fan’s best interest. The buyer has all the power, so we need to start thinking about creating a Home Field Advantage for our fans so we can steal them away from the multitude of other options they have available to them.
There Are Many Ways To Achieve That Goal:
Look Beyond Just The Game
Back in the old days, just having a game and a stadium hot dog was just enough for most fans. But as modern fans and technology have improved, the game isn’t always enough.
We’ve seen teams jump all over the local bandwagon with Stone Brewery opening a beer garden in San Diego, Shake Shack at Citi Field, and a host of new, local options opening at the renovated Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
We have also seen teams like the Giants, Orioles, and Redskins partner to make their social media more interactive. We’ve seen the Jaguars create a lounge dedicated to fantasy sports, and the steps continue.
All of these are meant as ways to encourage your fans to feel at home when they come to the ballpark.
What steps could you take to do that at your building? Is there a partnership with a local brewery? A special meeting place that encourages hanging out and networking? A way to connect fans to the your venue in a more meaningful way?
You aren’t fans, or members, or anything else.
You Are a Part of Our Family
Trite statements about how important our fans are come out almost daily. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to almost any question: “Our fans are the best!”
But think about whether or not your fans really feel the love. Are you really treating your fans like family? Are they being greeted with warmth at the gate? Does the service live up to the standards that you desire? Is ingress and egress a pleasant experience or something that if you didn’t work at the stadium you wouldn’t want to deal with?
If you are answering yes, great! But if you are answering no, can you see how they act against the message you are trying to convey to your fans?
What can you do about it?
Build Your Fans A Home Field Advantage For The Long Run
A strong home field advantage is mythical in sports. But the thing is, the best aren’t built in a day. Look at some of the really great home field advantages across sports like the Seahawks, RIP City in Portland, or Fenway Park.
What do all of these teams, cities, and fan bases have in common? They have all been built over generations.
So you have to always been conscious that you are trying to make an emotional connection with your fan base that delivers not just a one-time sale, but also creates an environment where you establish a long term partnership and value with your fans.