While it’s not uncommon for stadiums to host a concert or special sporting event to boost revenue when the home team’s away, some venues have stepped further outside the box and created innovative events that are proving to be popular with the fans and financially rewarding. In an effort to compensate for slumping tickets sales this season, major league stadiums are offering some creative opportunities for fans to experience their favorite ballparks in a whole new light.
Last month, at Dodger Stadium, approximately 100 fans shelled out $100 each to participate in an on-field yoga class led by outfielder Andre Ethier. The Dodgers also offered fans the chance to take batting practice on the field, under the lights-over three nights, the event brought in $170,000.
Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, launched a series of events called Miller Park Movies. On select nights during the summer (when the team was on the road), the parking lots around the stadium were converted to drive-in movie theaters. Inflatable screens were erected, and sound was broadcast through car radios via FM transmissions. The family-friendly double features proved to be successful, prompting organizers to add two more movie nights at the end of the summer.
One of the most unique fan experiences I’ve come across is the Detroit Tigers’ Grounds Crew for a Day Fantasy Package. For a reasonable $1,250, participants get to attend a pregame, on-field training session with the grounds crew, drag the infield dirt during the middle of the third inning, change the bases during the middle of the fifth inning and “steal” a base to be autographed by a player. Honorary crew members also receive two infield box seats, a baseball cap and a grounds crew jacket.
The opportunities to bring in revenue through special events are seemingly endless, and fans are obviously willing to pay top dollar for a once-in-a-lifetime stadium experience. What unique events does your facility offer, and how do they affect your field care program? Drop me a line and let me know.