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Transforming the Fan Experience at a Sports Venue Near You

Blog Post
4 Minute Read

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

Jan 31, 2022

Attending a sports event in person should be exciting; something you look forward to.

It’s a chance to root for your team with thousands of other fans and maybe even witness a little piece of history.

For too many fans, though, that experience is overshadowed by the hassle that getting into the stadium, ballpark or arena has become. While it’s designed to keep fans safe, the security process at most events also causes backups that can put the excitement of spectators on hold.

Evolv is changing that.

Evolv has already improved the fan experience at stadiums and ballparks in the National Football League, Major League Soccer, and Major League Baseball, and we want to show every venue in professional sports that we can provide real, tangible solutions to transform the customer journey.

Improving the experience from street-to-seat

The way we see it, that transformation should focus on the street-to-seat experience…everything that happens from the moment you get out of your car or off of the subway, or however you get to the game, until you are in your seat. That’s where the business operators working for the home team can really influence how the fans feel. After that, the play on the field, court, pitch or ice takes over.

People tend to assume that team performance is the biggest indicator influencing whether a given fan comes to another game. Certainly, if a team is dreadful to watch, it doesn’t help. But it’s really the quality of the experience that leads to fans coming back. I’ve been around teams that were historically poor performers, and people came back because they enjoy taking their families or clients to the games. It’s not about wins and losses so much as it is about fun. And that begins at the point of ingress.

I would argue that when organizations bring in Evolv, it’s more like introducing a new Jumbotron than it is a new screening system.

Certainly, they’re improving their security and the entry process. But as far as fans are concerned? That pain point at entry has been transformed. It’s a massive improvement in their visitor experience. That could mean fans coming to more games, increased season ticket renewals, or fans spending more money on food and beverages or merchandise because they get in more quickly and have more time to enjoy what’s there.

It could also mean more favorable survey results. The NFL’s Tennessee Titans saw its fan ingress satisfaction score double – from a 2.3 to a 4.6 (out of 5.0) – when its fans no longer had to wait outside for pat-downs or to take items out of their pockets after Evolv was installed at Nissan Stadium.

You buy that Jumbotron because you want your fans to have the best experience possible. And that’s also what we’re providing to an organization.

Happiness across the board

Satisfied fans are one thing. How about a better experience for your employees?

Everyone entering a venue is being screened, including concession stand workers and even players for the home or visiting team. Shouldn’t these processes have an entry experience that is just as seamless as it is for fans? We’ve heard great feedback on the employee side, where they don’t have to wait in long lines or stop and empty their bags. They say they actually don’t even realize they’re being screened because they just walk through at their normal pace. They’re happier going through the process just getting to their jobs.

Tailored venue solutions

One of the great things about sports is that every venue is different. Each stadium, ballpark, and arena has its own personality. We work hard to make sure that each Evolv system is similarly unique and appropriate to its setting. And it’s not just ingress. We work with everyone – whether they are a new partner or an existing one – to figure out where there are problems and how Evolv can help.

It could be in the kind of data we offer that goes above and beyond the insights organizations are used to getting. Security staff can use Evolv’s data to see what kind of secondary searches were conducted at the end of the night, or they can look at real-time situational information. Since all of the data is cloud-based and on an app if there is something that needs to be communicated it can be done instantly at the push of a button rather than through a complicated multi-point protocol.

Venues that host different events such as football, concerts and soccer, like Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, can use Evolv’s data to determine staffing and analyze trends for each individual event.

Throughout my career in sports, all I’ve ever cared about is improving the fan experience. As a business person and not an athlete, I knew I couldn’t control whether my team won or lost, but I could give 100% effort to make sure that every fan had a good time and wanted to return. What’s great about my role at Evolv is that I still get to do that, and at the same time, I get to keep people safe. We’re not compromising safety for a better experience, we’re keeping you safe while at the same time helping to give you an amazing experience from street-to-seat.

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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