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Arenas Hit Status Into the Cheap Seats

Thursday, February 19, 2015   (0 Comments)

New York Times (02/09/15) Belson, Ken

Sporting arenas are being divided into even more stratified venues as teams seek to maximize revenues, especially from high-spending fans, while also creating "premium experiences" for fans in the least costly areas. For example, Madison Square Garden has upped its ticket prices following its renovation, but also increased the number of seating and club options. MSG's Howard Jacobs says most seats are much less expensive than premium seats, and each area of the venue has unique features that include food courts, lounges, and distinct views of the court or rink. “We saw the value in segmentation,” he says. “In many respects, it’s a hospitality strategy. Just because you sit in the upper bowl doesn’t mean it is not a premium experience.” Another motivator for stadium segmentation is the need to attract fans who can easily watch games at home on TV. One example is a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons, which is designed to make sure that even spectators in the least expensive seats have an experience compelling enough to attend games. Among the arena's planned features are a five-story, 360-degree high-definition video board; a pre- and post-game entertainment plaza; a 100-yard bar on the upper concourse; and a lounge with game-day content to entice fantasy football fans. Promoting more affordable options is a strategy used by teams in smaller, less wealthy markets.

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