As we enter September, a long-held tradition that is deeply tied to many in America returns.
That’s right- football season is back!
With the NFL in pre-season games leading up to the Season Opener featuring the Chicago Bears at home against the Green Bay Packers, we know that football fans all over the world are looking forward to tuning in to see their favorite teams play. This made us think… what is it about the NFL that keeps people coming back year after year? How is the NFL harnessing that anticipation and banking on repeat customers to be drawn in for viewership, merchandising and attendance? Is it the pigskin? Perhaps the spirit of competition. People like to see big plays and lots of points scored. Maybe it is the star athletes or even an opportunity to cheer on the home team. Whatever “it” is…they are doing it right. The NFL is big business.
In the event industry, we are extremely intrigued by this question. After all, we share many of the same goals with our customers that the NFL does with theirs. We are looking for long-term customers that will want to repeat their party year after year. We want them to have successful parties that increase in attendance. We want action and we want our client’s to score! Whether it is a customer appreciation party, a launch party – or even a holiday reward party, we want to see smiling, happy faces in attendance and winning experiences delivered.
What can we learn from the NFL’s incredible business model? Let’s start with building a loyal fan base. The NFL has some of the most die-hard fans. Fans in Philadelphia are passionate about their Eagles – while those in Pittsburgh use the “terrible towels” to show fan support for their Steelers. The New England Patriots have an extensive base, thanks largely to the dynasty they have built around Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Houston Texans are a passionate team, strengthened by their community support
after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey ravaged the community. Many will likewise remember the full crowds and outpouring shown for the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina. Through strength, outstanding performance and communal spirit, the NFL has done an incredible job of building an audience that follows its teams year after year.
In the event business, we do not have the benefit of some of the tools at the NFL’s disposal. We can, however, deliver incredible, memorable performances. In so doing, you will develop your own fans- and they will want to book your services year over year. Event companies can also create a spirit of community by reaching out to non-profits and offering casino style parties as a form of entertainment at their events. People coming together to rally for a cause is a fundamental principle of the NFL. Giving
back to the community is another one. An occasional donation to a non-profit goes a long way toward building relationships with your future fans.
Another way event professionals can learn from the NFL’s business model is to consider going “BIG”. Take our home team (and America’s Team), the Dallas Cowboys. Among the most storied and valuable franchises in the world, the Dallas Cowboys built a larger stadium to accommodate greater attendance. ATT Stadium is a sight to behold – it’s expansive and impressive. It features state-of-the art equipment, technology and communications. No detail was overlooked- there is art, viewing areas and concern for guest comfort throughout. The same approach was used in constructing the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Those in the event industry should consider the same. Increase your inventory in anticipation of future business. Consider new technology- and embrace it. Look at your inventory and ensure that your presentation is stellar. Consider guest comfort above all else- and look to implement simple solutions that will go a long way to please your guests. Something as basic as comfortable seats can make a world of difference. Providing coasters for drinks or integrating a welcoming ambassador can set the tone with your clients that is inviting. Consider your presentation to be your stadium- and build it to accommodate your audience.
One of the greatest successes of the NFL is their prolific ability to license and sell their merchandise. Go to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, and you will find a sea of green jerseys being worn by “Cheeseheads”. Go to Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, and you will not only hear the crowd roar – you will see the Chief’s arrowhead on everything from gloves to beanies. In Miami, the Dolphins’ signature colors can never be mistaken- the teal and orange stand out against the crowd. Visit nfl.com and you can buy
shoes, shirts, jackets, hats, jerseys and more.
In our line of business, consider offering variances that will create mass appeal. Use different themes so each year the group experiences a different facet of your services. For example, we may host a traditional Las Vegas or Monte Carlo themed event one year, and then migrate to Harlem Nights,
Roaring 20s, Speakeasy, Gatsby, western, modern or a futuristic theme for the next casino party. Is that any different than the NFL offering a new style of jersey to its customers each year? After all, guests want the “latest and greatest”. Be sure you are supplying that and advertising that to your customers.
We are looking forward to an amazing NFL Season and thank the NFL for providing inspiration for our informative blog. The NFL is an organization that is synonymous with the best of the best. Find your team and build a winning guest experience for your clients! Be your best so you can stand out among the rest!