Over time, “at-venue” convergence has proven to be one of the most difficult areas in sports to profit from, yet it has become, and is poised to remain, among the most important revenue drivers in the sports industry.
Historically, stadiums and arenas were built solely so fans could attend sporting and entertainment events, by providing them “a place to go and watch a game.” However, in our modern technological world, this is not enough, as fans demand an experiential outing, a convenient and complete game-day experience that transforms mere games into memorable sporting events. By enhancing the fan experience with just the right mix of sports and entertainment, and delivering the optimal blend of marketing and promotion, those that invest in, manage, or own venues can prosper.
The history of the sports venue development originated in ancient Greece with the emergence of venues including the Stadium of Athens in 331 B.C., which was constructed for the ancient Olympics. Built by hollowing out a slope and constructing rows of seats in a traditional u-shape, semi-circular at one end while open at the other, the stadium had a seating capacity of about fifty thousand.
However, because they lacked a ticketing system, the Greeks missed the opportunity to fully monetize the events—an opportunity the Romans would take advantage of four hundred years later with their famed Coliseum and Circus Maximus. These venues were used for a broader set of contests and featured various levels of seating arrangements, including placing the emperor and his entourage in the best seats, a precursor to today’s luxury suites. In addition to this preferred seating, these wide-ranging contests brought with them diverse audiences that created a market for myriad merchants who sold crafts and souvenirs in the Coliseum concourses.
By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and during a period