Allianz Field Scores Big on Experiential: Minimizing distractions, maximizing fan experience
Let’s face it, tech-y distractions can ruin experiences. Ever walked into a space and been blinded by LEDs? Confused by a kiosk? Scared by screens? Yikes! (Been there). We all know that when it comes to creating awesome experiences, balance is key. But in a tech-crazed world, how can designers humanize experiential and minimize distractions? Tag along as we applaud Allianz Stadium on finding the balance and share tips on creating a balanced consumer experience.
When we toured Minnesota FC® ‘s new Allianz Stadium we were pleasantly surprised at their dynamic take on stadiums. Thoughtful planning beautifully blended modern elements with traditional sporting experiences, all to maximize the fan experience. From analog scoreboards that propel fan engagement to one of the largest “safe standing zones” in MLS, it’s safe to say that the team at Populus, the stadium’s design firm, scored big with this concept.
While we expected awesome environmental graphics to “OOO” and “AHH” over (thank you, SEGD), Allianz Stadium packed a holistic experiential punch. The tasteful- and tasty- nods to local restaurants and breweries, the foolproof execution of the open concept, and hyper-intentional yet, subtle branding were just a few of their wins. From that, our team was inspired to highlight Allianz’s successes and showcase how to create awesome experiences.
Three Take-Away’s for Visual Merchants and Store Designers:
1. Minimize Distractions
While there were plenty of elements running for “best executed” in this build, the overall crisp and clean design takes the cake. Sightlines were strategically executed, with virtually no hanging signage to disrupt spectator views. Further, Populus gingerly created intentional touch points as opposed to packing the space with intrusive maps and bulky wayfinding. The structural steel was leveraged to provide helpful guidance without invading precious real estate or interrupting the user experience.
Further, we were thrilled with their complementary selections of mesh signage meeting tasteful color-changing lighting lining the stadium’s perimeter. In daylight the design is smooth and seamless but at night, the stadium is a sight to be reckoned with making the field pop to visitors and passersby, alike. Again, the tech is tastefully and sparingly integrated in a way that still packs a purposeful punch!
Lastly, all of the stadium’s railings utilize glass for further improved sightlines of the massive soccer field. A tasteful consideration and an addition to the stadium’s stacked experience-first mantra.
2. Break Out of the Industry Mold
First runner-up in Allianz Stadium’s excellent execution was its refreshing take on audience experience, breaking Minnesota FC out of the cut and dry stadium mold. Mirroring an internationally-inspired soccer experience, Allianz stadium maximized communal spaces. From creating one of the largest standing sections in MLS to creating their smash-hit Brew Hall, there’s no question that the intention of optimizing the guest experience was a forefront goal.
Another noteworthy feature was the consideration of leveraging tech with the user experience. While there were tasteful tech elements incorporated sparingly, the over fan feeling is one where tech-y distractions are minimal and a memorable experience is prioritized. Live-streaming situated near select vendors is a portion of the sparingly-integrated tech that was excellently executed.
3. Create a Cultural Conglomeration
In a nod to the diverse background of soccer players and fans alike, the food and beverage vendors in Allianz stadium offer a surplus of specialized flairs. From the Portuguese Linguica Sausage to esquites (Mexican Streetcorn), the international cuisine is a sure-fire fan favorite. Not to worry though, there’s still a plethora of traditional ball-park favorites: pizza from NiceSlice, hot dogs from the Hungry Loon, and plenty of popcorn, nachos, and pretzels! And let’s be honest, Minnesota nice means getting neighborly and grabbing a cold one.
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