Remember the recession? It seems many businesses — real estate companies, insurance firms and others — are doing their best to forget.
As the Phoenix Business Journal reports, “plenty of businesses nixed season tickets, suites and other spending on sports and other entertainment when the slowdown took a toll on their bottom lines. Now with the economy and markets in better condition, real estate, professional service and other businesses are looking again at business development spending [at arenas and stadiums].”
Client entertainment is a $600 billion industry, according to InviteManager, which provides event management and registration software to professional sports teams. That company recently teamed up with the NBA to help businesses that own suites determine their return on investment. “Investing in a suite should be viewed as a business asset rather than an expense,” says Mike Setser, senior director of corporate sales for the San Antonio Spurs, an InviteManager client.
Tony Knopp, CEO and co-founder of InviteManager, says the NBA is the ripest it’s been in years for successful business development strategies. “Marketing and customer prospecting has never been more difficult, with ads everywhere we look,” Knopp said in a recent press release. “Companies using NBA events, however, to get in front of prospects and customers are seeing huge gains, as superstars like Steph Curry, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony cut through the marketing clutter.”
As ROI and spending accountability becomes more crucial to companies and their investors, sports venues are making necessary adjustments, including American Airlines Center in Dallas. Here’s an excerpt from a DallasNews.com report in August:
This week, American Airlines Center showed off its work-in-progress CyrusOne Club loge boxes. That section on the arena's Flagship level originally contained eight standard suites that could hold up to 18 people each. Most of them were rented from AAC on a per-event basis and food and drink were extra.
Under the new configuration … sports and entertainment fans can lease a box with four seats. The spaces in the south end of the arena are leased for at least two years and include a high-end buffet in the section's common area. Communal dining is a big hit with millennials, a much sought-after demographic.
Priced at up to $90,000 a season, the new premium seating could be a third the price of a traditional suite. The lowest price for a full suite is $300,000.
"This is a price point that more folks can get in," said Dave Brown, executive vice president and general manager at the home of the Stars and the Dallas Mavericks. … "You're buying four seats vs. 12," he added. "So the economics are more affordable for some people. It's less cash out of pocket for the loge product. It's more digestible financially."
Venues also are offering companies more business-related services in suites. Little Caesars Arena, scheduled to open in Detroit in 2017, will feature 60 suites, most of which will accommodate 40 people and seat 30. They also will come equipped with five screens adaptable for PowerPoint presentations — an effort to encourage businesses to host client meetings in the suites prior to game time. There also are lockable compartments for computer bags and other valuables.
As Scott Spencer, president of San Francisco-based Suite Experience Group — which helps suite owners fill seats on days when they otherwise would go unused — told DallasNews.com: “Teams and venues are getting more and more creative with their suites and premium spaces.”