In working with a lot of sports, entertainment, and hospitality companies over the years, people talk about word of mouth pretty regularly. Along with referrals and testimonials.
What you find if you spend enough time around these verticals is that in most cases, the talk is great, but the execution is piss pour.
That’s why in the normal course of my reviewing websites and looking for examples of things that work or don’t work, I was almost floored to see this banner at the top of the Premium Seating section of the Florida Panthers website.
Well, for the first…leading your premium seating section with someone talking about the amount of business that they have generated by having a suite is a great way to gather interest.
Second, it is the ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND IN THE NHL!
But you might rightfully ask, why is this a wise use of space above the fold of a team’s premium seating section…
Well, it is actually pretty simple.
Back in the 90s when the building boom for stadiums kicked off, suites and loge seating was in! It was huge! People had money to spend and companies were happy to make an investment in prestige entertainment amenities.
Which is a long way of saying that suites almost sold themselves in a lot of ways.
But, what goes up must come down…
And, as the 90s economy deflated and we entered a number of severe recessions, the need and desire to have these suites and boxes for companies diminished, but what never changed…the way that teams tried to sell these premium seating options!
Which has pushed teams into a bunch of terrible habits like:
- Leading with discounts
- Relying too heavily on giveaways
- Focusing on winning and losing as the only reasons that people will come to games
- Selling amenities no matter what
Which all leads to basically turning much of your stadium, if not all of it, into one big commodity and something that isn’t essential, doesn’t have a strong pull, and forces a lot of unintended consequences like:
- Pricing that is poor and inconsistent because of the inability to drive consistent demand
- Having to lock in large sponsors and F&B partners that look for the lowest common denominator in food, beverage, and experience…which harms the experience on the whole.
- Forcing fans to pick other options because the competition from the home viewing experience, bar or restaurant experience, or something else is too great.
This leads us back to the banner at the top:
Why am I excited to see it?
Because its great!
It leads with value! It talks about the value that someone can gain by partnering with the team! It shows a distinct ROI for the buyer!
Plus, it is a real person talking about a real result!
Which when you are dealing with an item that isn’t a necessity but requires a 6 figure investment, means that you better show a strong ROI or it is going to be easy, very easy to say no.
Now, my question to you is: Why isn’t this the norm in the NHL?
Because if you lead with value, you are going to have much better conversations.
If you are focused on achieving that kind of ROI for your clients, you might have to be more creative, but the likelihood of your stadium becoming a gathering place for business leaders increases.
And, if you lead with more than just features of your product that sound nice to you, you are likely have better conversations and people will give you an indication of what they are really interested in.