This is the Fan of Tomorrow’s humble opinion…
Of what could happen decades down the road to the sports industry. The words and opinions expressed by the Fan of Tomorrow are not directly linked with the author’s views but since we don’t know what the future holds for certain it would be best advised to be careful and pay attention!
The Fan of Tomorrow wants their control back in professional sports. The Fan of tomorrow is going to demand it. If they don’t get it they will find something else to spend their time and money on.
A new fan experience is being asked for and desired. For decades and decades sports fans have been forced to shell out more money for seats farther away from the field, pay higher parking for longer walks to the stadium, and fast food that is being charged at 5 star restaurant prices.
The Fan of Today has finally decided they have had enough and the Fan of Tomorrow will be the first generation to put the power back into the hands of the spectator.
HD TV’s began to pave the way for this revolution of sports watching. Now all of the sudden everyone has an option in their living room that is higher quality, more convenient, and less expensive than the one in the stadium. Fans will no longer be held by the grips of one or two different professional sports league’s either. There are multiple leagues, multiple levels, and more options than ever for fans to participate in sports instead of watching them or simply tune into something different that is just as exciting if fans aren’t compelled by the current product being presented to them.
We will see the sports world began to creep back towards a grassroots level of marketing and experiences and interaction with their Fans. You already see it happening with numerous minor league teams around the country and with pro level teams in the MLS. Attendance is down in all four major pro sports and the NFL, NBA, and now the NHL have all had strikes or lockouts in the past two years to further hurt their chances of keeping their most loyal fans at the level they previously supported the leagues at.
The Fan of Tomorrow is going to say NO to seat licenses. The Fan of Tomorrow is going to say NO to a basketball game with seats so far away you need to bring binoculars to see the ball go into the hoop. (And the Fan’s of Tomorrow won’t own binoculars anyways!) The Fan of Tomorrow is going to say NO when their local NFL team begs them to buy tickets to avoid the game being blacked out on Local TV. Doc Brown and Marty won’t be standing for it I can assure you that.
The Fan of Tomorrow wants an in stadium experience that is comparable to the price of admission.
They want to have access only to what their specific “Fan Type” is and leave the rest of the package at home. The Fan of Tomorrow wants a specific “Fan Type” package put together, customized, and catered to them based on their likes and dislikes. They want to feel wanted, not to just be another cog in the overpriced and oversaturated sports event machine.
Tomorrow is here and the people have already begun to speak and voice their wants and desires! “Fan Types” are picking up all over the country. The power is going back into the hands of the Fans. We will see stadiums begin to shrink back down in size, NFL blackout rules get lifted, luxury boxes and seat licenses begin to diminish, and the major pro sports industry will turn their fan experience back into what it was like in the 1940s and 1950s in terms of how they treat their fans or there will be a mass exodus.
The Fan of Tomorrow has too many choices so they will be able to demand it. If they aren’t given what they want the pro sports boat will be rocked and the leak that is already in it will permanently capsize the industry.
The Fan of Tomorrow wants to be heard. I hope everyone will be listening.
Thanks for reading everyone! Got an idea of what the Fan Experience will look like in the next few decades?? Leave your comments below or email me HERE or tweet us @sportsnetworker!
Right, this is the future of sports business. Clubs must segment/deversify their products according to the type of their customers/stakeholders. A digital revolution inside the stadium it is not a solution to encourage viewers to leave their sofa?
Interesting article. However the famous stadiums that always have that buzz has fans every year dying to even get seats in the nosebleed section, just for that atmosphere. Your vision of smaller compact stadiums is almost certain, although I see this future being for new franchisees and those small/struggling teams that struggle to bring in fans. I also see this trend for smaller field/courts. For example when being at NFL games, and Suncorp stadium (Brisbane, 52,000) in particular I have rather enjoyed the seats at the very top. I find a stadium that size with a well thought out structure still an amazing experience. I will never forget the Queenland Reds winning the 2011 final with 52,000 fans going of there heads, it is an experience that was magic and I can hardly describe it, It really is the definition of why you watch sports. A formerly strong team the Reds had become the laughing stock of the league for the previous 7 years however I still showed up every game, and that final felt like 10 years of dedication paying of. While I had begun to doubt the play-offs were even possible I suddenly realised this was the high I had been chasing all this time. I eagerly await the next one.
I remember the Crusaders had an overlap at the death and looked a good chance of scoring, deadly silence filled the stadium and a women near me just cut through the silence with a blood curdling scream so spontaneous you could feel the “moment” in it. Crusaders knocked on and you just felt the energy of 52,000 people celebrating after years in the wilderness.
My basic point is no mater where the trends are going the thrill of the stadium,atmosphere and connection you share with fellow tribesmen will never die out among those special teams.
I agree that the future you points out seams very likely however I think those teams that always fill the nose bleed will become admired legends of the league opening up further unforeseen marketing opportunities applicable to those that do not follow the trend.
Thanks for the thoughts! They certainly do need to figure out ways to get the viewers to leave the sofa and the HDTV with a gazillion features on it. I think Fan Types are somewhat of an answer/solution but not all the way there.
Great thoughts and thanks for taking the time to share your experience here Paul!
I agree there are great places that will never go away but those that pay no attention to their fans, offer no great in stadium experience, will suffer.
The Steelers fans will pack Heinz Field until the day we all pass for instance.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.