The Ladylike Smell of Victory: Increasing Female Fan Engagement

Prolitec

2018.07.26-Female Fan Engagement-IMAGE

Japanese professional basketball team Alvark Tokyo was having a great season. The team had won their last five games, and had great statistics going into the next round. However, there was one number where Alvark Tokyo was lacking: female fan engagement.

In recent years, most professional sports leagues have reported female fans as one of their largest growing demographics.

 “60% of women report watching sports.”

– TailgatingSportsMarketing.com

But despite female fans’ growing interest in watching live and televised sporting events, most female fans report feeling misunderstood by sports brands and left out in fan engagement strategies.

Recent research has found that there is a difference between male and female sports fans’ motives and definitions of being a fan:

Females reported being fans because they attended and watched sporting events with family and friends while males were more likely to consider themselves fans because they played sports and wanted to acquire sports information.”

– Old Dominion University

Female sports spectators are drawn to the social aspect and fan experience surrounding the game.

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium Brings Sustainability to the Forefront of Sports

gb&d
By Rachel Coon

[Photo: AMBSE]

[Photo: AMBSE]

When Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, and his team of designers envisioned the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, they set out to do what had never been done. “We wanted to redefine the stadium experience,” says Scott Jenkins, who joined the team in 2014 as stadium general manager, just as they broke ground. “Every step of the way, while we were focused on the fan experience, we were also focused on making the venue as environmentally smart as we could,” says Jenkins, a pioneer in the green building movement in sports and chairman of the Green Sports Alliance.

Platinum Performance

The 2 million-square-foot, $1.5 billion project was designed by HOK, who worked with BuroHappold Engineering and Hoberman Associates to complete the stadium in July 2017. Home to the Atlanta Falcons and the new Atlanta United soccer club, Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened its doors to a sell-out crowd of 72,000 for its first soccer match in August 2017. In November 2017, the stadium was awarded LEED Platinum, making it the first professional sports venue in the world to achieve that level. To be LEED certified, a building must acquire 40 points—to reach LEED Platinum, an additional 40 must be acquired. Blank and his team scored 88 points, carefully considering every line item in categories like building materials, energy, water, and site location. Jenkins says, “Our approach was to go after everything.”

Most visibly, the stadium’s sustainability features include 4,000 solar panels placed not on the rooftop but, as part of the aesthetic, at eye level on ticket entryways and parking lot canopies. The panels generate enough energy to power nine Falcons games or 13 United matches. The advanced storm water management program includes an on-site 2.1 million gallon storm water vault, bioswales, and a 680,000-gallon cistern for collecting and reusing rainwater for a cooling tower and irrigation. This combined with water-efficient fixtures resulted in a 47% reduction in domestic water use. Plus, given the stadium’s location west of downtown—where neighborhoods have been plagued by flooding for years—it was important to Blank and his team to reduce the venue’s contribution to local storm events.

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Can Sports Teams Be Role Models for Inclusivity?

By Susan Hunt Stevens, WeSpire

2018.07.26-Role Models for Inclusivity-IMAGE

Photo credit: The George Voice https://thegavoice.com/sports/atlanta-hawks-welcome-lgbt-ally-fans/

Last week, I had the honor of speaking on the mainstage at the 8th annual Green Sports Alliance Summit. It was my second time speaking, but six years ago the topic was what you would expect from WeSpire at a sustainability conference:  how to inspire people to save energy, waste, water and fuel. This year, the topic was “Inclusive Culture: How to Create Safe and Empowered Workplaces and Fan Zones.” As I sat on the stage with the first ever head of diversity for an NBA team, Nzinga Shaw from the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, I reflected on how much convergence has taken place in the sustainability and diversity and inclusion fields, which has directly influenced how WeSpire has evolved to meet these needs.

Green Sports Alliance Board member Jen Regan, who facilitated the panel, said they added diversity and inclusion as a focus to the Summit because “our ability to improve the environment is intrinsically linked with our ability to include all members of our community. The Green Sports Alliance wants to set the leaders of the sports industry up to win for now and the future which means focusing on both social and environmental impact.” We’ve seen similar expansions at other major sustainability conferences like Greenbiz and Sustainable Brands. What links these two seemingly disparate topics are actually similar underpinnings: urgent need for changes in practices and behaviors, a rapidly changing culture, the need for alignment amongst business practices (ie are you really a sustainable company if you are net zero but turn a blind eye to racial discrimination) and the ability for the “right thing to do” to also be the “smart thing to do” in terms of ROI.

I found the journey of the Atlanta Hawks to be incredibly compelling. What inspired hiring a Chief Diversity Officer initially was a crisis – driven by racially tinged, disparaging remarks made by a now former owner and coach. What has emerged is a playbook for how a professional sports team can be a role model for a community of what inclusivity looks like. And how valuable that is to the team, employees and fans. As the CEO of the Atlanta Hawks said, “We don’t see ourselves as a sports team. We see ourselves as a cultural touchstone for Atlanta. We see ourselves as a unifying force that brings together black, white, Muslim, [and] Jewish [people]. Everyone can agree on wanting a great sports team in Atlanta. So the ownership changed, the culture has changed, and we’re just in the infancy of it.”

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