Ever heard of a game watch party? Sure you have! You go to your friends house or they come over to yours at least once a week to watch a game or two, so why not have your fans over for a game watch party at your sports venue? On an off night or especially during the off-season, consider opening up your luxury seat areas for an open house/select-a-seat type event in addition to watching the big game.
I don’t know how many teams do this, but what a great way to boost revenue a little bit while at the same time getting your sales staff in front of a potentially new audience. You can even offer a discount for those in attendance to buy whatever it is that you’re selling that night or a lesser discount if they buy in the next week or two. Consider letting your fans know that in lieu of a cover charge, they’ll witness a presentation from the team president or athletics director and then a pitch from the sales staff at halftime.
The Tacoma Rainiers
Above is an email I got the other day from the Tacoma Rainiers baseball club in Tacoma, WA. The Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, the Rainiers renovated their entire stadium a couple of years ago and included in that renovation the outfield jumbotron, which let me tell you, is one of the nicest screens in sports.
I’ve made it a point to get out to Cheney Stadium a few times a year for the last couple of seasons and have always had a great time at their ballpark. The game experience is great, the food is good and well-priced and the entertainment on their jumbotron is always very well done. During the football season for the last two years (since they’ve had the renovated stadium) the Tacoma Rainiers have sent me these emails about joining them in their club seat entertainment area to watch the Seattle Seahawks on the NFL’s Monday Night Football on ESPN. Although I haven’t been able to attend one of these events, I thought this was well worth sharing with the sport administrators that read this blog – you!
The Rainiers put the game up on the big screen in the outfield with the TV audio coming in through the club sound system (this is an assumption since I haven’t actually been there) and welcome anyone interested to come in for dinner and the game. Considering the strong following of the Seahawks and the Rainiers throughout the Puget Sound area, especially in the south sound, I think this game watch party is a great way to refresh your brand and your place in the community. Many will argue that minor league sports teams are some of the most fan-centric, community organizations in existence, and while this may be true, any sport organization with an entertainment space or large screen can put on an event like this.
Depending on the size of your fan base and your anticipated audience, a club lounge or suite lounge is ideal for a game watch party at your venue. If you are a college team with an arena and nice center-hung scoredboard/jumbotron, consider doing something like this for your post-season or playoff games, or even for Monday Night Football for your local NFL team! Open up a few concession stands and give it a try.
If your team is located in a remote area and you know you’ve got a captive audience that never misses a game and likes hanging out at your venue, this is a great way to build fan loyalty, give people a place to go to watch with other fans, and a way for your to further get to know your customers. If you can offer childcare or a kids zone, even better! Again, depending on your audience and your sport, adapt the ideas in this email from the Rainiers to your own organization with the intention of boosting your bottom line and further forming your fanbase.
I would love to hear about your experience with this type of event – both the good and the bad. Please share your comments below.