What Does Consumer Experience at an NBA Arena Look Like?

From the Basil Labs team

The Context

As America struggles to find its footing with COVID-19, many parts of the world have moved on. Throughout COVID, our team has developed solutions to mitigate the crisis now — in particular the Open Axiom Initiative, our joint initiative with AreaProbe focused on creating COVID-safe locations. However, right now I’d like to take a second to look towards the recovery stage of the crisis in the United States.


Specifically, let’s take a look at destination marketing and sports tourism. Our bread and butter is turning the qualifiable into quantified benchmarks, so with that in mind, let’s explore a data-driven approach to developing strategies to attract consumers during the fall and winter of 2020.

Three Quick Points on Sports Stadiums


  1. Sports venues are a critical part of the local and state economies and local budgets are often intertwined with the success of these venues — in other words, whether we like it or not, venues are a significant part of the economic recovery conversation.
  2. Will sports fans return post-COVID? That’s the big question that no one knows the answer to.
  3. Sports venues will look different post-COVID, with hygiene and health detection technologies. The efficacy of these solutions is the question.

Consumer Experience at the TD Garden, Wells Fargo Center, Fiserv Forum

Regardless of the eventual safety and hygiene measures sports venues put in place, it all comes down to the perceptions of consumers. Do they actually feel safe? Will they make the decision to come out?


Using BasilCX our in-house engine that aggregates and transforms millions of online, geolocated reviews and social media posts into concise analytics through AI — let’s take a look at overall perceptions of three venues:

  1. TD Garden (Celtics)
  2. Wells Fargo Center (76ers)
  3. Fiserv Forum (Bucks)

Overall Findings


Across the board, it’s pretty clear that people have love hate relationships with the parking at the stadiums. 😂 It looks like the bathrooms and other amenities is dragging down the experience across these three venues, which would not be a game-changer in a pre-COVID world, but rapidly changing perceptions regarding hygiene and health safety suggests this topic may have to be swiftly addressed.

Staff and service is a critical piece to the in-person consumer experience at any location — our team actually laid out the conundrum that retail is facing: staff is a critical element of why people come into stores… but mitigating COVID also means less interaction between staff and customers. You can read about this here: Adapt and innovate: Pre Covid-19 lessons from Nike and Under Armour.


If we begin to break these topics down by location, we are able to benchmark each venue against one another. We can see that the Fitserv Forum has far fewer negative perceptions regarding price at their location as well as enjoys a more positive ratio of perceptions regarding parking as compared to both the Wells Fargo Center and TD Garden. However, it also suffers from negative perceptions of its Amenities and Offerings more so than the other two arenas.

When the time comes to move from crisis mode to recovery mode, developing marketing strategies around landscape analyses like these can help foster more confident, data-driven decisions.

Consumer Movement


It’s undoubtedly a flashy way of visualizing data, but these kinds of maps can actually reveal unparalleled insight into consumer perceptions and the consumer journey. The map above shows two places venue-goers went to in the month prior to visiting the Wells Fargo Center. By matching these locations to specific types of businesses, shopping or public spaces, we can not only understand where 76ers, Flyers and Wings fans visit, but also understand perceptions of these fans regarding their other experiences when they aren’t at the Wells Fargo Center. In other words, BasilCX lets you tap into the mind and day-to-day behavior of consumers via perception and geographic insights. Technologies like ours, as well as traditional surveying and analytics such as ticket sales will all be crucial in understanding how to draw consumers out to major venues.

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