The Sports Venue Is The Premium Retail Location of The Future
When Amazon bought Whole Foods a few weeks ago, there were a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacks talking about the motivation behind the deal. Clearly, this was another aggressive and ambitious use of Amazon’s technology platform to transform an entire industry category. Maybe Amazon bought Whole Foods for their customer data. Maybe Amazon bought them for their real estate. Maybe Amazon bought them because their concept store proved cashless and cashier-less grocery stores were ready for prime time.
Surely, all of these provided some rational, but what’s most surprising is what this deal has signaled to those in our business – the world of sports. Almost over night, conversations about sports venues are changing. People are starting to understand we’re not talking about technology and apps that help you park your car or order from your seat.
We’re talking about ways to envision entirely new ways to use the physical space and make money from the crowds that assemble for live events.
Physical space just isn’t what it used to be. Look at what WeWork did for office space. Large and small companies no longer have to take large long-term leases, they use what they need and get all the services in one space. Look at what Airbnb did to the residential and hospitality market. Families can rent out their homes and live in other countries or relocate for a job without having to buy another home. Companies like JustPark let homeowners rent their driveways when they aren’t home so they can make some extra income from unused parking spots.
This is the future of the sports venue. It’s a flexible space that attracts massive crowds with a must-see entertainment product. It’s not about tenants that permanently occupy fan zones, concession booths, and pro shops. It’s about retailers and brands that rent space for product launches and activations. It’s about before the event and after the event. It’s about about cashless retail and loyalty programs that make sense to customers. They link together and create experiences that drive home team and local identity.
In short, we believe sport venues have the opportunity to fill a massive gap that will be left by failing retail locations. Brands won’t stop selling and they’ll need places where crowds of customers are sure to show up.
The sports venue is the premium retail location of the future.
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