Takeaways of ESSMA's Global USA Stadium Tour to Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta

With cutting-edge technology, enhanced audio-visual experiences, a focus on food & beverages and data-driven operating systems participants of ESSMA’s USA Stadium Tour had an interesting and educational five-day tour. The fourth edition took participants to Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta to visit and learn more from eight innovative venues including Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Fiserv Forum.

United Center

United Center is home to both the Chicago Bulls (NBA) and the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), which can be challenging at times. The multifunctional arena hosted a Blackhawks game on Sunday evening. On Monday, it had already been converted to its basketball layout for the upcoming match on Tuesday evening against NY Knick, which participants had the opportunity to experience. The layout transformation takes around two hours.


Wrigley Field

The legendary ballpark, which originally opened in 1914, started its major renovation, the1060 project, in 2014 to enhance the fan experience, strengthen the contact with the neighborhood and improve facilities and operations. 


Soldier Field

One of the challenges that the venue currently faces is getting the 61,500 fans in as quickly and efficiently as possible. An interesting initiative which they have started trying out to help smoothen the matchday ingress, is to hand out bobbleheads to the first 20,000 fans who enter the venue. This has helped them to get fans in earlier and spread arrival teams better.


Guaranteed Rate Field

The Chicago White Sox play their home matches at the 40,615 Guaranteed Rate Field. Young fans can enjoy the 1,400m2 kid’s zone where they can follow the match while enjoying dedicated entertainment and games. It features batting and pitching cages, batting "swing" boxes for proper batting techniques and areas for base running and skills instruction.


Fiserv Forum

The Fiserv Forum staff shared what they had learned from their experience at their former arena and how they have purposely designed the Fiserv Forum to enhance the overall fan experience and improve the daily operations. In addition, they shared the venue’s unique approach to F&B and catering, their mobile ticketing system and their special staff recognition and rewarding programme named STAGE (Service, Teamwork, Attitude, Greatness and Extra Mile).


StateFarm Arena

Where most stadiums have added a lot of digital displays throughout the venue, StateFarm Arena has chosen a different approach. They have added less displays but instead have chosen to design the stadium bowl and the concourses in a way that fans would always have a view of the court. Rather than watching the displays they want the fans to watch the live matches and entertainment.


Mercedes-Benz Stadium

One of the most interesting initiatives at the 71,000 capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium is their fan first pricing approach. Even though prices are relatively low, the F&B revenue has actually increased due to the higher volume sold. Furthermore, as it is a completely cashless venue, they can even drop prices of an item which isn't selling during a match without any hassle.


SunTrust Park

SunTrust Park is part of a wider development project named the Battery Atlanta. Atlanta Braves are the main team playing at the 41,048 capacity venue. Their fan entertainment approach focuses on two elements: it should be fun and competitive. Example Beat the Freeze Race:



Main takeaways:

  • By integrating digital LED displays, it is possible to quickly change the layout of your venue for different events  
  • Reward fans who arrive early to the stadium with a unique and memorable gift or incentive
  • By selling unique merchandise in hospitality spaces, additional revenue streams can be created 
  • Make sure that areas have different purposes on matchday and non-matchday to optimise its usage
  • By creating a place where fans can enjoy a panoramic view with excellent catering facilities, while watching over the pitch, you offer them an unforgettable experience
  • With a cashless payment system and display, it is possible to quickly adapt your pricing on matchday
  • Design your stadium in a way that it is easily adaptable and flexible if you host several teams, concerts and other events
  • The importance of connectivity linked to an enhanced fan experience
  • Create a year-round destination by implementing additional multifunctional facilities, shops, restaurants and hotels
  • Make sure that fans can anonymously alert stewards through text messages if other fans are misbehaving

 Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures.