The Braves, Marlins, Twins and Yankees have all downsized since 2009 and the Tampa Bay Rays plan to reduce seating at Tropicana Field from a league-low 31,000 to between 25-26,000 this season.
The Falcons, Vikings, 49ers, Colts, Cardinals and Rams all opted to go small with their new venues, as well – and the 65,000-seat stadium that the Raiders are building in Las Vegas, will be among the league’s 5 smallest.
AT&T Stadium in Dallas and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford are the only NFL stadiums to have been built with more than 80,000 seats this millennium.
Shrinkage is en vogue because fewer people are going to games.
Advancements in the in-home viewing experience have made it more difficult for clubs to attract fans to the stadium and there’s been an increase in competition for fans’ time, money and attention.
To draw fans out to the game, pro sports teams are going to need to create an in-stadium experience more rewarding than what a fan can get on their couch.
Time has surpassed money as a sports fan’s most valuable commodity, so people simply aren’t attending as many games as they used to – and when they do head out to the stadium, they’re expecting an incredible experience.
Creating that memorable experience begins with bringing fans closer to the action, but it also must include better service – like: food options, parking -, access to mobile technology – so they’ll need sufficient Wi-Fi -, and non-traditional seating options; Millennials and Gen-Z’s with shorter attention spans aren’t going to sit in a seat for 3+ hours, they want social spaces where they can interact with each other.