Product Placement in Sports

Today my wife and I went to one of the local shopping malls to pick up a few items and on our way out, took notice of all the busy lines at the several quick-service restaurants around. (QSR’s as we call them in the biz.) Well, they were all busy but one – the Burger King. This particular shopping mall has very easy access from one of the local highways with a few on and off ramps leading directly to and from two different entrances to the mall parking lot. Because of the orientation of these streets and the parking lot, the Burger king was king of tucked into the corner with no direct entrances from the street, which is probably why it wasn’t busy. All of the other QSR’s and full-service restaurants in the outer mall parking lot were all located near entrances and with quick access from the road, even if not directly adjacent to an intersection.

Now quality and personal preference aside, this particular Burger King was in the wrong location for the unsuspecting hungry shopper. If you were either just arriving at or leaving the shopping mall, you’d have to really want Burger King and really go out of your way to make it over to where this particular restaurant was located. Because there were at least 10 other options that were readily visible from the road, parking lot and mall entrances, it would have been very easy to ignore that one corner where the Burger King was located. Don’t be this Burger King and pay attention to product placement.

So let us now apply this product placement example to sports. Whether its a concession stand with local fare, a rain poncho at a Seattle sporting venue, a winter hat at a Philadelphia venue (did you see that Eagles game today – whoa!), or even a lemonade vendor on a hot day, if your venue retail and concession space hasn’t been studied and its products perfectly placed, you’re losing money. Take a lesson from the Burger King in this area shopping mall parking lot and make sure you are using space wisely and putting your best, most profitable products in the best place to generate revenue where fans can get what it is that they want in a snap. Give people what they want.

And the more you think of your fans in that way – that you’re just trying to help them get what it is that they want when they want it – the better off you’ll be in the long run anyway. If you partner with a concessionaire or retail professional they should be doing this kind of research on their own, but in case they aren’t, it’s worth bringing up for discussion. As the football season winds down, now is the time to review how things went so you can apply these lessons to the emerging basketball and hockey seasons.

Moral of the story – evaluate how well your concession and merchandise stands performs in terms of product placement in addition to how well certain items are moving off the shelves. Product placement is about giving your fans access to what it is they want when they want it.

Go Forth!

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