World Congress: ‘One Size Fits All, That’s Over’


Below is a news summary by Paige Jones, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.

(from Sports Business Journal, March 26, 2012)Last week 600 sports executives collaborated at the 2012 IMG World Congress of Sports to discuss a pressing issue. The executives debated the crucial topic of the industry’s customization of the fan’s overall experience and its impact on their overall survival. The executives have agreed upon replicating similar strategies of the Disney theme parks. Disney represents their strategic model because of the timeless camaraderie they cultivated and maintained with their customers.

One of their initiatives is to improve on the fan’s experience by enhancing customer service training programs for their employees. The New Jersey Nets have begun this initiative by managing with the Disney Institute. The CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, Brett Yormark states, “With our alignment with Disney, they’re going to help us treat the customer in a very special and different way and give that customer a reason to keep coming back.”

Another initiative is to allow sports teams to cultivate their infrastructures and formulate new premium offerings. The architect, Matt Rossetti, has implemented this goal by designing bird-nest suites from the tops of the facilities for the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and the Vancouver Canucks. Rossetti comments, “It catches a different demo and delivers a different type of access.”

Out of all the improvements the executives plan to institute, the technology adjustments remain their primary financial concern. They want uninhibited Wi-Fi and wireless services to be provided for every fan at every game. Senior Vice President of the New York Jets, Mark Riccio, has recently added in Wi-Fi capabilities at the MetLife Stadium. Riccio replies “That provides better value and gets fans to games. You can’t pin it on any one thing. It won’t be the same for every fan. But you have to do it.”

The event concluded with the understanding that teams have to put fans attending games first. Peter Guber, Co-Owner of the Golden State Warriors states, “You have to build relationships with them, not transactions. Most of these owners aim for people’s wallets instead of their hearts.”