How do you measure fan engagement in NFL? The Vikings worked with Disney, got a GenZ ambassador… and then some
Kevin Warren, chief operating officer at NFL American football franchise the Minnesota Vikings, reflects on fans’ elevated experiences after the team’s first season at US Bank Stadium.
In an exclusive interview with TheStadiumBusiness.com, Warren reveals how the new stadium’s layout helps to service the diverse needs of its fan base.
US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota officially opened on July 22 last year and has hosted a full Vikings season as well as a number of other major events.
Just 12 months after opening its doors to the public, the venue is set to undergo a $1.3m (£997,000/€1.1m) upgrade.
Warren said fans especially appreciated getting fresh air through the stadium on the warmer Minnesota days with its five pivoting doors. US Bank Stadium’s ETFE roof was another big hit with Vikings fans entering their new venue.
“You actually feel like you’re outdoors, but you’re inside. So you have people wearing sunglasses indoors,” Warren said.
Warren also noted that, while the first year was a success, the stadium owners have brought in a ‘Generation Z’ ambassador to continue improving every aspect of the fan experience.
“We didn’t want to just build a building,” Warren explained. “We wanted to create an environment where we could capture our history in the hearts and souls, minds, bodies and spirits of our fans.
“If you create an elevated fan experience, people focus less on the cost of it. You will typically focus on the cost of something if your experience does not meet your expectations.
“But if your experience exceeds your expectations, the cost of it really becomes irrelevant. And that is what we’ve tried to do.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Warren said that politicians involved in passing the recent bill against the use of tax-payers money to fund new stadia should sit down with people like himself.
Warren believes that the investment is more than just a stadium, and that it “revolutionises” the community, creates jobs and improves the economy, not only during on Vikings game days, but year-round.
“We have the purple-print for them to look at and say, ‘this is how it can and should be done.’”