Stadiums / Venues

Stadiums

Patriots invest in weather defense

Author Jordan Maydole, University of San Francisco

Posted: October 17, 2015

Sport organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve spectator experiences that are in their control. An organization can obviously not control how well athletes perform or how a game or match turns out, but they can somewhat control aspects of a spectator’s experience when attending the event. After achieving another Super Bowl win this past year, the New England Patriots have recently spent over $30 million adding to and renovating Gillette Stadium to improve the game experience for fans, as well as create an interactive event stadium useful all year (Madkour, 2015).

The Patriots organization is not one that suffers from lack of fan loyalty – quite the contrary actually. The new improvements to the stadium and the overall fan experience come from the organization’s desire to combat New England’s poor weather conditions during the season, and from fan requests via surveys by their season ticket holders (Madkour, 2015). By making improvements to the stadium, the infrastructure, the Pats are focusing on the “environmental” influencing factor of the sport consumer (Pons, Giroux, & Mourali, 2014, p. 24). With the $30 million in renovations going towards more premium-seating options, new areas exclusive for season ticket holders, and also more comfortable public areas for all kinds of ticket holders (Madkour, 2015), the organization is hoping to influence the attendance of both types of sport consumers know as die-hard fans and fair-weather fans (Pons et al., 2014, p. 25).

Along with factors that influence the sport consumers’ attendance to sporting events is the motivation of those sport consumers to attend the events. Several of the Patriots’ new stadium enhancements caters to the consumers whose are motivated by what Pons et al. (2014) call the “group affiliation” motivating factor. The new pavilion structure that offers both exclusive pre-game premium access and game-time open access, along with the new field-level viewing access area available to premium season ticket holders (Madkour, 2015), provide sport consumers with opportunities and accessibility to enjoy the event experience with fellow fans – both in an exclusive and open community experience which is essential for those motivated by group affiliation. As stated by Jennifer Ferron (the Patriots’ senior vice president of marketing and brand development) in Madkour (2015), “This is a place where fans can gather and step away from the game, but be communal and have a shared experience” (p. 4). The new field level viewing areas, updated design features, and increased space for fan gatherings in Gillette Stadium also appeals to the sport consumers that area motivated to attend sporting events due to the pleasing and attractive “aesthetics” offered at the event (Pons et al., 2014, p.26).

By taking the time to listen to requests made by their season ticket holders and spending over $30 million to improve the community atmosphere, combat weather, update appearance, and upgrade premium access, the organization could see a major positive impact on their consumer’s attitudes. The “entity” element contributing to consumer attitudes provides that a team’s stadium can be the “focal object of the attitude” (Funk & Lock, 2015, p. 40). With the new structures and improvements made so that Gillette Stadium is more appealing and enjoying during the game day event and useable for interaction all year-long, die-hard fans get to heighten their experience and spectators alike may now be influenced and motivated to attend games despite their lack of motivating factors before.

 

References

Funk, D. C., & Lock, D. (2014). Sport consumer attitudes: Formation, function, and effects on information processing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 37-50). New York, NY: Routledge.

Madkour, A. (2015, September 7). Patriots build on stadium’s year-round appeal. SportsBusiness Journal, 18(21). Retrieved from http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com

Pons, F., Giroux, M., & Mourali, M. (2014). Consumer behavior and motivation: Why are sport event consumers so special? In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 21-36). New York, NY: Routledge.

About Jordan Maydole, University of San Francisco

Jordan is currently a graduate student in the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management Master’s Degree Program. Born and raised Washington State, Jordan graduated high school with an Associate’s Degree from a local community college. She went on to earn her B.A in Political Science from UCLA in 2014. With a passion for sport management she’s dabbling in event management but is studying and exploring various areas in the business of sport. This article is an edited version of a paper Jordan prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Marc Choquette, "Gillette Stadium", www.flickr.com/photos/23185977@N08. Accessed via Creative Commons license.