ASM Global Study Confirms Gen Z And Millennial Impact On Live Experience

STADIUM EXPERIENCE: You’re going to need to provide more than just beer and popcorn to satisfy Gen Z and Millenials, a study by ASM Global shows.

For Millennials and Gen-Xers, going to a concert or sporting event is about more than just seeing their favorite artists or teams – it’s a holistic experience, and the more upscale the better, a yearlong study released Dec. 20 by ASM Global reveals.

It’s been long established that those generations’ preferences lean towards experiences, the data – produced using ASM’s iNSIGHTS customer experience platform – tapped attitudes and information from more than 120,000 customers and clients, including some 8 million data points, in one of the largest surveys of its kind.

“Many of the takeaways are fascinating,” said ASM’s Chief Marketing Officer Alex Merchán. “And some very surprising. The days of the performer or sports team solely driving ticket sales are evolving with other factors influencing decision-making. Paralleling that is the desire for larger holistic experiences including enthralling ambiance and other experiential moments.”

Among the findings, ASM INSIGHTS says that the overall experience of attending an event matters almost as much as the main event or headliner itself. With “the emotional connection, ambience and unique moments making them more willing to invest both time and money,” the company reports.

Among Gen Z and Millennials attending a performance by a top artist, overall experience was 5% higher than average, with viewing expectation 16% higher. These younger fans are also willing to pay more for tickets to see a top artist perform, with ages 18-24 spending 12% more than average among all age groups.

The survey also reveals a food and beverage transformation in which the “beer and popcorn” of days past is being replaced by more creative and upscale offerings. The data reveals that F&B options are the second most important factor of the live experience for Gen Z and Millenial consumers, after the overall experience. 

In the ASM INSIGHTS survey, 41% of guests said they seek out a variety in food and beverage, whether health-conscious, locally sourced, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and other options.

Safety, cleanliness and staffing are also among top concerns for event goers in the overall experience at arenas, stadiums, theaters and convention centers (results of a separate study addressing convention centers is forthcoming).  

Among other findings, the ASM INSIGHTS survey reveals that 83% of all stadium guests purchased food & beverage at an event, 9% higher than all other venue types. Gen-Zers (18-24 years) further assert that friendly staff, thorough (pre-event) communication, excellent service, and the artist/event drove their high marks on guest experience.

This age group mentions how much they loved being there as they “make up for lost time” and “connection with their favorite artists.”

Among those citing the need to “connect with their favorite artist,” 47% of these young fans say they traveled more than 200 miles to their favorite artists (including Taylor Swift, Doja Kat, Drake, Karol G, and Rod Wave).

One interesting finding concerns the “hungriest” fans. Those spending the most on F&B tended to be based in Arizona and Nevada, spending twice the national average.

Where alcoholic beverages are available, options for pre-event cocktails and concessions, combined with excellent service to create a seamless experience, drove customer satisfaction scores to up to 92% in December, according to the study.

ASM Global officials said that a second equally comprehensive study in the company’s Convention Center space will be released in early 2024.