The South Carolina athletics department announced last month that it is partnering with Legends, a group that specializes in planning, sales and hospitality with an emphasis in the realm of sports, to enhance the fan experience at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The first step was a survey asking for feedback to guide long-term decision-making for the future at the 80,000-plus seat venue. The goal is to develop ideas to make attending a Gamecocks football game a more attractive investment for the average fan and beyond.
The school has already pledged $21 million in work at Williams-Brice Stadium to be completed in 2020, which will predominately provide premium upgrade opportunities.
Legends is assisting with the already planned project, and going beyond that scope to design a plan to enhance the environment in the future.
“The challenge today is bringing in people to the ballpark and creating that type of environment, and also generate revenue to support your programs,” athletics director Ray Tanner told TheBigSpur.com in a one-on-one interview.
“Legends is taking a look at (the $21 million project), plus the future to what we need to do to create a fan experience at the highest level. They’ve done some really big projects, and they’ve been contracted to take a look at Williams-Brice and things we can do to make the fan experience as good as it possibly can be.”
South Carolina is one of the few colleges to partner with a company like Legends.
The Dallas Cowboys, Manchester City, New York Yankees and Atlanta Falcons are just a few of the professional sports teams that have partnered with Legends to create case studies for their organizations. Legends is a company that has worked primarily with professional sports teams with collegiate clients including Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
“I think we probably are (going the extra mile) because nothing stays the same,” Tanner said. “You’re either moving forward or going backwards, and we want to continue to move forward. We think that our programs, as they compete in the SEC and nationally, we’re in a good place. You always want to get better, we’re in a good place, but you don’t stay there. You have to continue to make investments and resources, opportunities for student-athletes, and you’ve got your donors and fan base. It all works together. Legends is the best in the business in taking a view of things you can do going forward to create the ultimate fan experience and also generate revenue.”
One of the major pieces of contention among the fan base seems to be concessions for the average fans. Turning on the radio talk shows, clicking on message board posts and general conversation seems to indicate a lack of satisfaction with the process and quality of concessions.
Tanner has heard the complaints about concessions and while he didn’t bring in Legends specifically to address those issues, it is a topic to discuss.
“Its not directly related but is it on the list, absolutely,” Tanner said. “Points of sale, things you do and the way you handle concessions, all those things – self-serve, grab stations – you’re always looking to grow and do things. Will alcohol be a part of the future? When? Those things, you have to take a look at. It’s important to continue to make progress. You can’t stay in the same space you’re in.”
Tanner is certainly willing to admit that not everything is perfect when it comes to fan experience at Williams-Brice Stadium, and that’s why Legends is coming in to make game days for Carolina football a more enjoyable experience.
The school is going the extra mile to make sure its fans are content with their experience.