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Improving Gameday Experience from Street to Seat

Blog Post
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John Baier Headshot
John Baier
Vice President, Professional Sports
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Publish date

Apr 27, 2022

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a webinar that Evolv co-hosted with the Sports Business Journal.  These “lunch-and-learn” webinars have proven quite popular because they provide useful industry information in just an hour while attendees eat a sandwich (or perhaps a bagel, depending on time zone) at their desk.

In this case, the content was indeed valuable.  Two of Evolv’s pro sports clients, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United) and Nissan Stadium (Tennessee Titans), shared perspectives on how our Evolv Express®' guest screening system has improved the gameday experience for fans and stadium employees alike.

I also wanted to go beyond the recording and share two additional insights from the session.

Guest Experience Is Key

The webinar was attended by people from all the major sports and many other fan-driven organizations.  We asked them whether, in their personal experience, team performance or guest experience was a bigger driver of repeat attendance.  Fully 75% of respondents answered guest experience.  This is certainly consistent with my own nearly two decades in pro basketball and hockey. 

I also view this strong consensus as very empowering for the people behind the scenes who make our industry work.  We may never put on a uniform, but we can still move the needle in terms of making fans have fun and want to come back.  Because the converse is true – a poor guest experience is a major driver of fans choosing not to return – we’re also under pressure to deliver.  Just like athletes, we need to always bring our A-game.  Thankfully, technology is increasingly giving us an assist.  That’s literally true with Evolv Express, where Artificial Intelligence instantly and invisibly performs many of the functions that make traditional ingress screening so slow and uncomfortable.  And, by getting fans into our venues faster and more smoothly, it also gives them more time to enjoy all the other amenities our venues offer.

Guest Entry Is a Multi-Part Process

Several webinar participants asked questions about the impact of Evolv’s exponentially faster screening speed – up to ten times quicker than legacy systems – on ticket scanning.  They wanted to know whether Evolv Express simply moved the location of, rather than eliminated, ingress queues.  This is a great question from experienced operators.  The short answer is that if no other operations change, it is indeed likely that there will be increased queueing at ticket scanners, which operate at lower throughput.  But, it’s also quite easy to make operational adjustments to avoid this outcome.  One simple approach is to add more ticket scanners.  With all the physical space and personnel freed up by Express, there will certainly be the resources to do so, and handheld ticket scanners are inexpensive.  Another approach is to move the location of entry screening, to create more space between screening and ticket scanning.  This is easy to do with Express, which is portable and weather resistant.  Longer-term, we are actively working on partnerships between our system and ticketing systems so that the current multi-part process can be further streamlined and consolidated.

One of the very few positives for our industry to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rise of webinars.  In-person conferences are still the best way to connect and learn, but webinars add a lot to the mix.  Thanks to all who participated in ours.  We’ll continue to use this format to share information and show how Evolv clients are transforming the guest experience at their venues.

Feel free to watch the full webinar recording below.


John Baier Headshot
John Baier
Vice President, Professional Sports

John Baier serves as Vice President of Professional Sports and Entertainment. He is an experienced executive in the sports industry and provides a unique perspective understanding the needs and priorities of a ticketed venue.  He brings a proven history of business development, customer success, strategic partnerships and organizational growth…all while being obsessed with the customer journey.  John’s extensive knowledge and network in this vertical comes from having 20 years working with such organizations as Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils.  John holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Penn State University.

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