Preparing college football stadiums for game day is harder than it looks. Here’s what you can learn from the process and how to apply it to your business.
Before big games, college football stadiums are bustling work sites. Preparing for game day is much harder than it looks. While the home team prepares for its opponent, the stadium crew works behind the scenes with equal determination.
In fact, most people only seem to notice stadium preparations when something has gone wrong. For example, the grounds crew at last year’s big game accidentally painted both end zones with the Denver Broncos logo. Fortunately, they had time to repaint one end zone with the Carolina Panthers logo before kickoff. Similarly, the game held in New Orleans in 2013 was delayed for 34 minutes when the lights went out.
Just as your business focuses on pleasing its customers, college football stadiums aim to accommodate competitors, performers and spectators. Let’s examine the various teams within a typical stadium crew in comparison with the departments of a business like yours.
The Ticket Office
The main product a football stadium offers is a ticket to the big game. Like any business, selling tickets on game day boils down to supply and demand. If you put a great product on the field — a winning team — fans will likely line up. You can also charge more for those tickets when you win, or when you’re successful. When the home team falls into a slump, ticket prices drop as many stadium seats remain empty.
As far as operating the ticket office, good customer service is always important. Having crisp, clean, and game-day uniforms can help ticketing staff project a winning, professional image.
The Grounds Crew
Preparing a stadium for game day means getting all the details right. The playing field and stadium seats should look immaculate. Parking lots should be organized with clearly marked signs and parking spaces. You may also want to place mats throughout the facility to keep high-traffic surfaces dry and clean. Nothing irks customers more than dirty facilities.
Signaling that you don’t care about the cleanliness of your stadium or company is like saying you don’t care about your fans or customers. Players can get injured if the field isn’t perfect, just as your employees can become unmotivated in a neglected workspace.
Food Vending Areas
If you think a dirty stadium parking lot is a turnoff, a dirty food preparation area is a total deal-breaker. Food vending areas should be well-stocked with any items a customer might need, as well as cleaning supplies and sanitized mops to keep the area clean. Food vendors are a major part of the stadium experience, and keeping these areas ready to serve customers can be an important driver of success. Even if the home team is winning by 35 points, nobody wants to eat a second-rate hot dog.
The more that stadium security appears invisible, the better. It’s the same for any business. No news is good news when it comes to security, but you may want to consider having a plan in place should an incident arise. When problems occur, you’ll have people and systems in place to protect your customers. Security staff should also be projecting a customer-service image with professional uniforms that help customers easily identify them.
Lights, Electrical and Facilities Management
You lose customers when the lights go out. Like the NFL, the NCAA makes money from advertising. When viewers change the channel because the stadium lights are out, money is lost. Similar operational disruptions may also cost your business, especially when it comes to your reputation. Every business needs to keep its operations running without a hitch: utility closets need to be well-stocked, and safety equipment needs to be tested and ready, just in case.
Coordination is Key at College Football Stadiums
All the above functions should be properly coordinated to create a great stadium experience on game day. Both stadiums and businesses demand strong leadership to prepare for the big day. Clear, continuous communication is key before, during and after game day. Be sure that you keep a line of open communication with your staff, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to specific tasks or goals.
With both stadiums and businesses, customers can see when the right hand isn’t working with the left, and they may penalize you for it. The cleaning crew can do amazing work, but it’s all lost when the stadium lights go out, and vice-versa. Your business is no different. Everyone should do their part individually and within the overall team effort. However, unlike the typical stadium team, every day is game day for your business.