ICCC 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina, kicked off Thursday morning with an outing to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Situated on approximately 400 acres, the Center is home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river and is an official Olympic Training Site for whitewater slalom racing.
ICCC attendees enjoyed ziplining, eco trekking, and rock climbing, to name a few of the activities, but whitewater rafting was far and away the favorite, bringing convention center professionals together for teamwork, adventure, and even stronger personal and work connections.
Before the Florida Gators take on the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field in Jacksonville on November 2, a few hundred tailgaters will be the first to experience IMG College’s new premium, portable Playmaker’s Club.
The three-story bar/lounge/club utilizes decommissioned shipping containers and includes private restrooms, wi-fi, a “jumbotron” and LED TV’s throughout. A shuttle takes patrons to and from the game, and visits from cheerleaders, mascots, former players and live entertainers appear to be in the mix. A Playmakers Club ticket is set at $500 for the Florida-Georgia game, and $800 for the BCS National Championship Game. (Take a virtual tour here)
With three test games in the books for the 2013-2014 season, it will be interesting to see how premium experiences outside the venue integrate into the overall guest experience (and spend) happening on the inside.
I recently witnessed something at a play that I’d never experienced before—the encouraged use of social media during the production. Usually, house managers speak to the audience before the show starts and ask everyone to turn off their mobile devices. At this particular production by Echo Theatre at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas, though, we were told we could tweet and Instagram during the play as long as we were sitting in the back row (and our phones were on silence, of course).
I almost got up to go sit in the back row, but the seats were already taken.
What surprises is that more theater companies and venues don’t encourage social media use during shows, because social media is where a lot of people get information about shows. In a recently released report conducted by LiveAnalytics (Insight division of Ticketmaster International, Live Nation Entertainment), 93 percent of theatergoers who write reviews of plays do so on social media. Around 40 percent of those polled also feel that reviews are important in encouraging them to attend a show.
The same report says that checking your phone during a performance is the least acceptable behavior of theatergoers. Still, 25 percent of patrons do that. And when it comes to tweeting, 24 percent tweet about the performance they’re about to see. However, of those polled who are between the ages 16-19 say they tweet 47 percent of the time about a show they’re about to see.
As that age bracket gets older, they’re going to carry those habits with them into the theaters. The report addresses this concern by suggesting some best practices. For example, embrace engagement with audiences before and after shows and consider using social media as a way to capitalize on the emotional connection that live performances create. Also, know your audience and the type of performance that is happening at your venue. Not all attendees want to tweet, so think about setting aside space for those who do (much like Echo Theatre does).
Do you know of more theaters and performing arts centers that encourage social media use during productions? If so, please let us know about them in the comment section.
(Image via Flickr: Trey Ratcliff/Creative Commons)
Potential Remake at South Boston Convention Center
-The Boston Globe
The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority on Wednesday filed legislation for a massive expansion of its South Boston exhibit hall, saying the $1 billion project is necessary to make Boston a top US destination for meetings and trade shows.
If approved, the project would increase the meeting and exhibit space at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center by 60 percent. The existing building, which opened in 2004, is already the largest of its kind in New England.
The authority’s executive director, James Rooney, said expanding the center itself could be funded without any new taxes or fees. But he said public subsidies will certainly be needed for a separate project the authority is pursuing — an adjacent hotel complex with up to 1,500 rooms.
Rooney has long argued that the two projects are necessary to help Boston compete for the nation’s biggest trade shows.
NASCAR’s Green Efforts Make It a Sustainability Leader in Sports
-Huff Post Sports
Five years ago, NASCAR realized that it stood in an important position when it came to becoming a leader in the nation’s green movement. Hosting races across the United States where fuel was consumed and emissions were sent into the atmosphere, the motorsport sanctioning body took a look at its business platform and recognized that it could turn those environmental harms into benefits.
Games in All Sports at Service Academies Suspended
As it turns out, the Air Force-Navy game isn’t the only one facing cancellation.
In a press release sent out a short time ago, Navy announced that the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate competitions at the nation’s service academies due to the government shutdown. At the very least, the Air Force-Navy game as well as Army’s game at Boston College are in danger of being canceled. Continue Reading →
Craft beer isn’t just for hip bars and brew snobs. It’s finding its way into stadiums and arenas all across North America, too, as part of an effort to improve attendee experience.
“Craft beers are slowly muscling their way into NHL arenas and other major-league sports venues as stadiums understand that the microbrew companies are offering a tasty, diversified product that fans desire,” Alan Snel recently reported for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
There’s a reason they’re becoming more popular with patrons: Quality.
“Just as Millennial tastes in foods have evolved away from the pedestrian, so, too, have their tastes in alcoholic beverages,” Bruce Horovitz reported for USA Today.
According to food research specialist firm Technomic, craft beer posted one of the largest percent gains of any beer category (14.4 percent) last year, and now accounts for 6.3 percent of total beer volume. And it’s projected to continue that trajectory this year.
In fact, Venues Today, in its June 2013 issue, asked, “In your opinion, which concession offering has most improved the average fan’s concessions experience?” Nineteen percent answered, “microbrews.”
And while there have been some hiccups in the past (e.g., selling “craft beer” from mainstream producers), there have been some success stories.
“For a trend-setter, look at what Delaware North Companies Sportservice is doing in Detroit this year at Comerica Park,” reported Darren Rovell for ESPN. “In right field, they have a craft beer stand that features 26 local brews, 10 on draft, 16 in bottles. You’ll pay more, $8.75 for the draft in the 16-ounce cups or $7.75 for the bottles, but the extra buck or two is often part of the trade-up culture we live in. Higher cost, greater value.”
Personally, I’d pay for a craft beer at a stadium. Would you?
(Image via Flickr: Jim Storer/Creative Commons)