Written by Vanessa Hoffman
Tangibles are physical things that are observed by a consumer and that have the potential to enhance the consumer experience, as well as encourage continuous consumption. “Bringing tangibility to a service experience can influence consumers’ perceptions of the quality delivered” (Fetchko, Roy & Clow, pg. 344). Tangibility includes items such as sports venues, sportscapes, equipment, appearance of employees, mascots, and entertainment (pg. 344). They can impact consumer enjoyment by creating an aesthetically pleasing, safe, and interactive atmosphere that allows for a consumer to be constantly stimulated during their time at the location. In the case of sports venues, tangibility must be positive for a wide-ranging demographic including kids, families, young adults, and older individuals. The accessibility of tangibles to all individuals entering the venue is crucial in order to maximize engagement through inclusivity.
A sports facility that demonstrates a positive sportscape must be clean, easily navigated, and accessible resources available. The facilities must have an inviting and clean appearance. Fans are more likely to treat facilities the way that they appear. A dirty facility will illicit less respect for preservation than a clean venue with accessible disposable resources. All staff must positively contribute to the fan experience by being informative, proactive, and present. An example of a positive sportscape is Rogers Centre, the Toronto Blue Jays stadium. “The appearance of personnel involved in delivering a service influences evaluations of quality as well” (pg. 344). Rogers Centre provides all staff with their uniforms; this allows for the colour, cut, and quality of the uniforms to be consistent which helps to create a strong visual presence within the stadium. Although different departments might require different features for their uniforms, there are unifying pieces including the logo, identification badges, and colors. The stadium has a strong electronic presence throughout the concourse and in some obstructed seat locations. This allows fans to have constant access to the game, even while engaging with other elements in the stadium. Lastly, the in-game entertainment is family friendly and there are various events and themed days throughout the season that target the various demographics including Jr. Jays Saturdays (14 and under) and Fan Fest Fridays (after work audience).
A sports facility that demonstrates a negative sportscape is one that is dirty with no signage or visuals of necessities for fans. The layout is difficult for fans to maneuver without asking staff for assistance, and the staff does not have an easily identifiable presence. The sportscape would also lack enough electronics, visuals, and in-game entertainment and activities in order to keeps fans effectively engaged. An example of a poor sportscape is Coca-Cola Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons (AAA). The venue is not very clean and the entertainment is limited. The illogical layout and section signage was surprising. Odd sections on one side and even sections on the other divide the stadium, instead of being in a chronological order. There is small, ineffective signage indicating the layout.
The main differences between positive and negative sportscapes and the functionality, aesthetics, effectiveness of engagement, and the positive interactions that fans experiences during their visits. If fans are unable to navigate the venue with little effort and the necessary resources are not easy to locate, their experience immediately becomes poor. If the venue does not provide entertainment to continuously stimulate fans, and guests who might be new to the sport, their venue becomes less inclusive and does not encourage repeat visits.