Branding / Marketing / Venues

Stadiums

Temple University's servicescape

Author Bobby Thompson, University of San Francisco

Posted: April 11, 2016

“[E]verything that is physically present about an individual during the service encounter” is considered servicescape; a term first coined by Mary Jo Bitner (Hightower, 2014, p. 142). One environmental psychologist, Sommer, using the term proximate environments, thought of environments as partially biotic (living or non-built), and partially physical (man-made or built). Marketing and environmental psychology specialists agree that during service encounters, consumers may be influenced by any combination of the following stimulus factors: design (built), ambient, (non-built) and social (also non-built). Keeping this in mind, Temple University (TU) is preparing to develop a football facility that not only houses athletic play, but also facilitates positive emotions towards their brand—TU—and cultivates an atmosphere encouraging social interaction directly on and around campus.

Design stimuli have two sub-dimensions: functional and aesthetic. Functional factors relate to stadium “layout, comfort, privacy, and ingress/egress abilities,” whereas aesthetic factors relate to stadium “architecture, color, style, materials, and fixtures” (Hightower, 2014, p. 145). TU plays its home football games at Lincoln Financial Field (LFF), which seats 67,000-plus people. TU’s new stadium design will hold 30,000 people; positively impacting functional design factors such as layout (higher percentage of premium bowl seats), comfort (more intimate stadium bowl could reduce windchill), and privacy (8.3% of seats will be club seats on two premium levels). From a brand leverage perspective, the stadium can be designed so that fans can transition seamlessly between the stadium and campus, which will prolong the “university-association” component of the game-day experience, resulting in consumer attachment and allegiance to not only TU Athletics, but TU as a university.

LFF is home of the Philadelphia Eagles, so the stadium reflects the colors of that organization—dark green, steel, and black. TU’s colors are red, white, and black. When TU plays in LFF, the dark green seats can offset the home field advantage created by TU’s team atmosphere. Along with implementing red, white, and black everything, the design of the new stadium can embody other aesthetic components that communicate TU’s culture and history. AECOM and Moody Nolan (two architecture firms) are designing the new stadium to mirror the existing environment of TU’s campus, “which features an eclectic mix of stone and brick buildings” (Muret, 2016, p. 4). Such design elements will reinforce the triangulated connection between the consumer, the football program, and TU as it provides a sense of familiarity, community pride, and consistency.

TU’s marketing and stadium design executives can use the Stimulus-Organism-Response paradigm to integrate its corporate brand within their created servicescape. We have seen ambient factors that fast food restaurants use to influence consumer behavior, such as red and yellow colors, which are scientifically proven to elicit feelings of hunger. By owning and operating its own football facility, TU can implement similar methods to interact with a consumer’s subconscious via physical or social stimuli to understand their emotions and influence (control) their behavior (Hightower, 2016, p. 144). For example, TU could partner with a local coffee house to sell hot beverages during cold, winter games, and influence consumer behavior by blasting coffee scents out of vents to make people smell, think of, and ultimately, buy coffee without realizing why that connection occurred.

TU’s Athletic Director, Patrick Kraft, acknowledged the benefit of having 15,000-plus students living on or near campus, but also understood the necessity to find new ways to reintroduce them to TU’s campus happenings. Supporting the facility development, Kraft believes a football stadium presents great opportunities to bring together 30,000-plus people to be a part of TU’s evolution six times a year (Muret, 2016, p. 4), plus non-football related events. This facility will also encourage more students to attend games, which can (a) enhance TU’s home-field advantage by having more spirited, young, invested fans, and (b) remind donors what collegiate athletics is about, influencing them to invest more in the TU institution and tradition. Rather than rely on third party service employees who manage LFF’s stadium services, TU can hire and train their own staff, which, if implemented strategically, can further leverage the TU brand by providing exceptional service experiences to spectators.

Understanding how to manipulate a servicescape can infinitely benefit a sport organization by enhancing a consumer’s value perception and arousal level, ultimately creating long-term association and loyalty. TU will look to influence the animate and inanimate stimuli to which its consumers are exposed, and if done effectively, it will exponentially leverage its holistic brand—Temple University.

 

References

Hightower, R. (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.

Muret, D. (2016, March 28). Temple hires AECOM, Moody Nolan for stadium. SportsBusiness Journal, 18(48). Retrieved from www.sportsbusinessdaily.com.

About Bobby Thompson, University of San Francisco

Bobby Thompson is a Howard University alumnus from Oakland, California, and he currently works at USF’s Athletic Department as a Sales & Special Events Graduate Assistant. Bobby’s passion for community development is demonstrated by his commitment to Bay Area youth sports, where he has coached basketball and baseball for seven-plus years. One of Bobby’s favorite accomplishments was organizing the first-ever panel discussion comprised of legal counsel from all six Bay Area professional sports organizations. You can connect with Bobby on Twitter (@embersson) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/thompson44). This article is an edited version of a paper Bobby prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Paulina Jayne Isaac, "Temple University", www.instagram.com/paulinajayne15.