Vikings creating early value

Author Christian Martin, University of San Francisco

Posted: October 21, 2015

Without even hosting a single football game, the Minnesota Vikings, with the help of Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment Group, have been able to sell 90 percent of all the suites, club seats, and Club Purple couches in their up-and-coming U.S. Bank Stadium (Muret, 2015, p. 21). How is such a feat possible given that U.S. Bank Stadium is still ten months from completion (Muret, 2015, p. 1)? The answer lies in the perceived value of the servicescape, which is the perception, by the customer, of the value derived from the stadium’s characteristics (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 53). The perceived value of the servicescape is an important area of focus for marketers because it serves as the primary location where the sport product is being consumed (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 55).

Perceived value consists of two components: acquisition value and transaction value (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 53). Acquisition value relates to the benefit(s) that the customer receives through experience variables and delivery variables in exchange for the sacrifices that the customer undergoes to receive these benefit(s) (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 53). Transaction value relates to the assessment of the price that the customer has to pay when taking into account objective and reference prices (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 53).

The Vikings’ intended marketing plan for increasing the perceived value of their in-stadium experience (value proposition) relies primarily on increasing acquisition value through additional experience variables at the stadium. For example, the new U.S. Bank Stadium will create an outdoor ambiance to the enclosed stadium by using plastic ETFE panels that span across the roof (Muret, 2015, p. 20). The construction also calls for the creation of a roof deck club called “Club Purple” and a fantasy football lounge for younger crowds (Muret, 2015, p. 20-21). Lastly, the new stadium will present stadium-goers with a unique feature at the main gate: a set of five pivoting glass doors that open simultaneously and measure 95 feet tall (Muret, 2015, p. 20).

The Vikings organization also aims to increase the acquisition value component of its perceived stadium experience by reducing the perceived costs associated with the delivery of the in-stadium experience. For example, the Vikings organization has more than doubled the number of TV screens in the new stadium from 816 to 2,000 in order to keep customers connected to the game while they are away from their seats (Muret, 2015, p. 20). Furthermore, these delivery improvements span outside the stadium where a $50 million renovation project of the nearby Nicollet Mall entails improving transportation between the mall and the new U.S. Bank Stadium (Muret, 2015, p. 1).

Improving the quality of the servicescape is important to sports organizations because the quality of the servicescape has been linked to both the perception of service quality and positive affect for the sports customer (Hightower, 2014, p. 142). Using the Stimulus-Organism-Response paradigm, this relationship can be understood through the effect the physical or social stimuli, such as the giant glass doors or Club Purple at U.S. Bank Stadium, have on the emotional state of an individual that comes into contact with these stimuli, which, in turn, generates a behavioral response (Hightower, 2014, p. 145). For example, a U.S. Bank Stadium-goer may be inspired by the massive glass doors and awe-struck by the ambiance of the Club Purple lounge, leading him or her to want to stay at the stadium longer or to have intentions of repurchasing tickets. This logic follows Hightower’s Servicescape model, which shows how positive affect and service quality create value for the customer and lead to loyal brand behavior (Hightower, 2014, p. 143). Successful sports brands will be able to leverage the perceived value of what they are selling to get their potential customers to repeatedly repurchase their offering over alternatives.

References

Hightower, R., Jr. (2014). Leveraging Sport Brands with the Servicescape. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging Brands in Sport Business (pp. 142-156). New York, NY: Routledge.

McCarville, R., & Stinson, J. L. (2014). Creating Value as Part of Sport Marketing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging Brands in Sport Business (pp. 51-65). New York, NY: Routledge.

Muret, D. (2015). Beyond the dome: Vikings work on creating a new indoor experience. SportsBusiness Journal, 18(22), 24-25.

About Christian Martin, University of San Francisco

Christian is currently a graduate student in the Sport Management Program at the University of San Francisco and employed at Street Soccer USA. He aspires to be a leader in the international soccer industry and speaks four languages (English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese). He is also an entrepreneur, having started his own promotional coffee mug business (UndercoverMugs), and operates a motivational website (www.FurnaceLevel.com). A San Francisco native and world traveler, he loves experiencing the diversity of people, food, and traditions. Follow him on Twitter: @thefurnace1. This article is an edited version of a paper Christian prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage of Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers by Amy Meredith, www.flickr.com/photos/jjandames. Accessed via Creative Commons license.