Avocado toast is seen as a symbol of millennial excess to older generations, but as a millennial, I see it differently. Avocado toast just tastes better than a bologna and cheese sandwich that my parents grew up eating. I can’t apologize that we appreciate quality. I feel the same way about the rise of craft beer… craft beer is just better than macro brews. Its just higher quality.
In looking at a broader picture, I think the millennial generation has redefined how our society spends their discretionary income. It’s now really all about the experience, above all else. Like all forms of entertainment, maybe even more so, sports have had to adjust and adapt.
If you’ve attended a sporting event over the last 2-3 years you have probably seen a wider variety of food and beverage options. You now can grab a beer from a local brewery, or a specialty cocktail made from local whiskey, or grab a taco from a legendary local taqueria.
There is a trend in sports to have more local partnerships in concessions to better the fan experience, but this also presents an opportunity from a sponsorship stand point to bring on new partners in new categories. Teams partnering with other local businesses show that the organization cares about the community that they call home. Even further, genuineness is becoming increasingly important to fans, especially when trying to build teams are trying to cultivate fans of younger generations.
Consumer habits are shifting and if teams want to continue to put fans in seats, they need to evolve the fan experience. Local partnerships are more authentic, and often times can be more creative. For example, here in Arizona, Tempe-based Four Peaks Brewery partnered with the Arizona Cardinals (via their Anheuser Busch relationship) on a special Cardinals themed brew for the 2019 football season. If you’re an AZ beer drinker you’ve definitely had a few pints of Four Peaks and if you pair that with being a Cardinals fan, there’s no doubt this is going to move volume and drive excitement for the partnership.
We have a Detroit Lions fan at the office (shocking, right?) and for them its all about “Made in Detroit”. Everything is local and everything is about them. When you go to Ford Field you know there will be local beer and food and that those partners have been with the team throughout the years (including that winless season, which Lions fans seem to embrace years later). Any sort of out-of-market import simply won’t do; its not authentic.
Don’t get me wrong, I love football for the game, but now a day’s fans are not going to the game solely for the game. The social outing of the game is what is now driving people. It’s an experience; fans want to be entertained and part of that is good food and drink.
I say, bring me more local craft beer and food! Sports embracing their hometown cultural is here to stay and I couldn’t be more thrilled.