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July 4, 2011 / Pendulum

Thanks For The Fuel

“While Others Are Content to Imitate, We’ll Continue To Innovate”

I ran across a Lexus commercial this weekend featuring the above quote – I couldn’t help but be inspired.  At the 2009 Baseball Winter Meetings Trade Show Modular Products & Pendulum Studio unveiled the second generation of our Loge Box/Outdoor Suite and drink rails as a follow-up to our 2008 installation in Modern Woodmen Park. At the time, we were actively pitching Alan Stien, owner of the Omaha Storm Chasers and Martie Cordero – General Manager of the team.  Alan and Martie were nice enough to stop by the booth and take a look at our products, in fact they liked it enough that they asked if we minded them bringing their “architect” that was designing their new ballpark, Werner Park (pictured above) by our booth to take a look.  The “architect” was visibly annoyed with being asked to stop by…he kinda had that “I can do that” look, but from the looks of the pictures of their drink rail in the outfield, he definitely took a few notes.

In all fairness, we’ve consistently stated in presentations, panel discussions, and in our printed materials that what we’re doing is not rocket science.  Other architects have found success in implementing similar concepts in sports facilities for quite some time – especially in arenas.  The difference with our solutions is simple – they are “turn-key”, consistent quality, price, and delivery method – coast to coast.

Even more importantly, the biggest differentiator between our solutions and others, when taking into consideration economic sustainability, is the fact that we integrate branding and sponsorship in everything we do; this is the game changer. The ability to offset upfront cost with sponsor dollars facilitates rapid return on investment for our clients – in most cases within the first two seasons.  A good example of this is our solution for Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, IA.  This year the Quad Cities River Bandits sold exclusive sponsorship to Pepsi that in turn delivers dominate branding on the aluminum surrounds that wrap each Loge Box.  In our opinion this is where the drink rails at Werner Park missed the mark – no visible sponsorship.

By The Numbers

Hypothetically speaking let’s say your ballpark has a capacity of 6,000 and you average 3,000 paid per season with a total per cap of $16.25.  Let’s break that down further:

  • Ticket Sales: $5.50
  • Merchandise: $1.25
  • Food & Beverage: $7.50
  • Sponsorship: $2.00

We recognize that most teams don’t run their own concessions and merchandise, so our goal is to focus primarily on the potential revenue streams that teams do control = tickets and sponsorship.  We’ve also chosen to ignore surplus inventory because our goal is to maximize revenue potential within immediate reach, we’ll leave increased ticket sales strategy to the team – it will vary in every market.  Within the 3,000 tickets (on average) that are already sold at $5.50 per cap, we will remove 100 low yield seats (i.e. bench seating) and replace them with 60 semi-premium seats at a higher per cap (each loge box accommodates 15 ticketed patrons).

Assuming tickets in the loge box are priced at $8.00 a head (in lieu of the previous $5.50),  there’s a guarantee on food & beverage  ($18 per ticket), and sponsorship is sold at $5,000 per box (based on four boxes),  the team stands to yield a capital increase of approximately $60,000 annually – that’s a 1% bump and the only thing that’s been changed is minor diversification of existing inventory.  The key take-away here is “little things make a big difference” (Malcolm Gladwell).

Let’s face the facts, the traditional baseball business model has changed from its early roots and continues to evolve as business savvy ownership groups contend with the ongoing economic downturn.  Unfortunately there hasn’t been a lot of discernible change in the work of mainstream sports architects since 1991, partially due to a self-serving focus on designing the next monument, and partially because most owners are risk averse, they want what they know rather than focussing on the potential for changing the game.  Don’t get me wrong, Camden Yards is cool but it’s a very contextual solution, it won’t work everywhere nor do teams have the financial wherewithal to invest the funds needed to get to that level of detail.

Our Modular Products embrace the kind of change that we are all confronted with…especially now; we’ve got to maximize existing infrastructure with modest long-term capital investment.  As stated at the beginning of this post, we will continue to innovate…which also means that as the market evolves so will we – “design is change”.


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