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Study: NFL Provides Worst In-Stadium Experience Across Pro Sports

While still the most popular league on TV, the NFL falls below the marks when it comes to fan experience.

Adam White

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The NFL gets a thumbs down from fans in eight of the nine categories examined. (Photo via popdose.com)

Based on a study from the Temkin Group, the NFL remained the most popular sport to watch on TV, but the league’s game day experience earned the lowest satisfaction scores for eight of the nine live event experiences that Temkin tracks.

The report, Fan Experience Benchmark: U.S. Professional Sports, is based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers that examines their TV viewing preferences and experiences at live sporting events.

For the past seven years, the Temkin Group has been tracking these TV preferences and over the course of that time, only Major League Baseball and the NHL have experienced an increase in popularity.

As leagues fight other forms of entertainment, the study found that the decline in TV interest was most dramatic for males between the ages of 18- and 24-years-old, which is not a good sign for leagues looking for ways to capture the coveted millennial audience.

Although only 2.2% of the consumers surveyed had attended a WNBA game, the league scored highest in five of the categories examined including parking, using the bathroom, purchasing food, purchasing a souvenir, and leaving the stadium.

When it comes to watching the game, the NHL and MLB shared the honor of being the favorite of those surveyed, which isn’t really surprising given that baseball games allow for more social interaction and are easier to watch casually, while NHL games are non-stop and provide fans with energy and excitement not seen anywhere else outside of the NBA and MLS.

Not surprisingly, consistently across the sports measured, consumers were least satisfied with the parking experience and most satisfied with their experience of watching the game/match.

Given what we know about parking costs and the hassle they present, teams who can streamline this process and provide a better experience for fans start winning before those attending the game even make it into the stadium.

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An example of this can be what the Red Sox and other teams have done with parking startup ParkWhiz. By partnering with the company, the Red Sox give their fans the chance to reserve parking spaces in advance, saving fans the time and hassle it may take to find one before the game.

As for the NFL, the only category it didn’t find itself last in was that of watching the game, which the WNBA found itself holding the title of.

The three least satisfactory experiences for consumers across the study include parking, going to the bathroom, and purchasing food, all experiences that can be negated by staying home and watching the game on TV.

With entertainment options abound and millennials opting for experiences that provide them with the best of everything, for sports teams to drive fans back to the stadium and into seats is going to take looking at the core complaints of consumers and doubling down on efforts to provide tangible solutions (i.e. the Falcons Fan First Pricing).

Adam is the Founder and CEO of Front Office Sports. A University of Miami Alum, Adam has worked for opendorse, the Fiesta Bowl, and the University of Miami Athletic Department. He can be reached at adam@frntofficesport.com.

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Kyrie Irving Expected to Sign with Roc Nation

Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with Roc Nation, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Michael McCarthy

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Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with Roc Nation, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Irving, who was most recently repped by Jeffrey Wechsler of 24/7 Sports Management, joins an NBA client roster at Roc Nation that includes the likes of Kevin Durant, Josh Hart, Justise Winslow, Danny Green and Caris LeVert.

The switch in representation comes on the same day that Irving took the first step toward his prospective free agency this summer.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Irving is not opting into his $21.3 million contract for the 2019-20 season and will become an unrestricted free agent.

By not opting into his contract, Irving can sign with any NBA team when free agency opens on Sunday, June 30th.

If he signs with a team other than the Celtics, he will be eligible to sign a max deal worth $139 million over four years.

If he were to stay with the Celtics, Irving can sign a five-year deal worth $188 million.

An industry source speculated that Roc Nation could be waiving the fees on Irving’s contract in order to retain his marketing rights.

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Meet the WNBA’s New Boss

Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert will become the first commissioner of the WNBA and the first woman to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else.

For the first time ever, the WNBA will have a commissioner. Before now, all of the league’s previous leaders like Val Ackerman and Lisa Borders were given the title of president. 

Cathy Engelbert, the current CEO of Deloitte, will take control of the role on July 17th and will report directly to Adam Silver. 

What should you know?

1. By the time she is done at Deloitte, Engelbert will have spent more time at the company (33 years) than the WNBA has been a league (23 years)

2. Engelbert is the first female to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S.

3. She is the fifth person to lead the league after Val Ackerman (1997-2005), Donna Orender (2005-10), Laurel Richie (2011-15) and Lisa Borders (2016-2018)

4. Engelbert has spent the past four years in charge of Deloitte’s U.S. operation.

Basketball is in her blood…

Although she might be an accountant by trade, Engelbert is no stranger to the game of basketball. 

According to Bob Hille of Sporting News, she played at Lehigh for Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw and was a team captain as a senior. Her father Kurt also played and was drafted in 1957 by the Pistons.

What are they saying?

“Cathy is a world-class business leader with a deep connection to women’s basketball, which makes her the ideal person to lead the WNBA into its next phase of growth. The WNBA will benefit significantly from her more than 30 years of business and operational experience including revenue generation, sharp entrepreneurial instincts and proven management abilities.” – Adam Silver on the hiring of Engelbert

“I think that’s probably one of the reasons I was selected for this role, to come in and bring a business plan to build the WNBA into a real business and a thriving business, quite frankly.” – Engelbert to ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel

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Adam Silver Wants More Gender Diversity

The NBA commissioner states his desire to get more women into the sports industry. The NBA currently has a 31.6 percent ratio of women in team management.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

If Adam Silver has his way, 50 percent of the new incoming NBA officials will be women.

That number applies to coaches too, Silver said speaking at the Economic Club of Washington.

How do the leagues stack up?

The following numbers, outside of MLB, come from 2018 reports put together by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida. MLB is the first league to have a report done on it this year.

1. NBA – 31.6% of team management are women / 37.2% of team professional admins are women

2. NFL – 22.1% of team senior admins are women / 35% of team professional admins are women

3. MLB – 28.6% of team senior admins are women / 26% of team professional admins are women

4. MLS – 26.5% of team senior admins are women / 31.6% of team professional admins are women

5. WNBA – 48.6% of team VPs and above are women / 58% of team managers to senior directors are women

6. NHL – No report done

Quotes from Silver… 

“It’s an area, frankly, where I’ve acknowledged that I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long. Because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing.”

“The goal is going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league. Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”

That’s not all Silver wants to see change…

Silver, who has been adamant about getting rid of the one-and-done rule, provided some clarity as to when that might be achieved.

According to the commissioner, the 2022 NBA Draft will likely be the first one since the 2005 NBA Draft to allow high school players to go straight into the league rather than playing a season in college first.

Citing “active discussions” with the NBPA, Silver noted that they are still “a few years away.”

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