A great deal of businesses is conducted on area golf courses, but the low-key atmosphere of a sporting event also can be a great place to entertain key customers and vendors.
Investment and law firms, banks, construction firms and food and beverage companies are among the businesses that routinely use sporting events to build and strengthen business relationships. The thrilling excitement of a University of Nevada, Reno, basketball game, or a few nights at the Reno Rodeo entertaining key clients, can be a great forum to foster better relationships and forge a greater sense of trust with clients — key elements of running a successful business in Reno-Sparks.
And the low-stress, let’s-have-a-beer atmosphere that’s the natural vibe of a baseball game can be a great place to work out the bones of a business deal.
Business customers typically buy blocks of seats or reserve a special section of a ballpark or event venue. At Aces Ballpark, many business clients rent suites for a single game or for the season depending on their budgets.
The Reno Aces employ a team of eight account representatives whose primary responsibility is to court business clients.
“It is a huge piece of the baseball business,” says Eric Edelstein, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Reno Aces. “A lot of people think wins and losses dictate attendance and crowds, but the reality is that there is a large focus on drawing from the business community and having different packages and amenities that work for different budgets.
“We believe that using the Reno Aces can help you generate business. It is a key focus.”
As former general manager of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, Edelstein points to the time two firms rented suites next to each other at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. One company worked in commercial chicken production, the other in food-product marketing. Before the end of the season, they were using each other’s services.
At Aces Ballpark, the two most popular packages are group events, such as employee or customer appreciation events, and luxury box rentals.
Many suites are leased for the season for business development, but others are rented for single games. Still other business customers purchase season tickets specifically to show appreciation to key customers.
“It’s their goal to have a rep and three guests attend games,” Edelstein. “Even just sitting with four people down in the seating level, there’s business being done all the time in this park.
“Baseball is a conversational sport, the amount of time of play in a three-hour game is about 18 minutes. That’s a lot of time when meaningful conversation can happen, and that’s why baseball is the best sport to conduct business with.”
The Reno Bighorns, which play their homes games at Reno Event Center, feature VIP, courtside and group seating packages for business customers. At Mackay Stadium on the campus of University of Nevada, Reno, there are 60 skyboxes available, but entry into those suites is a highly coveted ticket. Plans are in the works to add additional luxury boxes at the stadium to provide a wider range of seating options.
Getting out of the office and connecting with business clients and vendors, especially during a three-hour baseball game, can be invaluable for businesses.
“We spend so much of our time in our own worlds online or with our heads buried in a phone that there are few places and opportunities to really get to know people,” Edelstein says. “You almost have to get in a space where you are comfortable and where you will be there for a while — and that’s what the experience of a ballpark is.
“It is a come-one, come-all feel, and it’s a great way to get to know someone on a totally different level.”