The NBA Customer Experience, Memphis Grizzlies Style

Posted on February 21, 2012


I was in Memphis last Friday for the Grizzlies- Nuggets game.  I watched the Grizzlies win on a last second tip in after leading by 17 points at the half.  I also ordered two drinks and noticed the concession stands all had themes.  While it was not my first trip to Memphis, it was my first time at the FedEx Forum and watching the Memphis Grizzlies live.

I do enjoy attending sporting events, but do not go too often, usually going about once or twice a year.  That said, it’s been ages since I have been to NBA game.  My last one was in DC during college, the Wizards and the Raptors.  Before that I went to Nets games with my Dad, mostly when they played against the Bulls.  Yes, I got to watch Michael Jordan play.

My image of the stadium concession stand is marked by the “Beer here” vendors that wander around Yankee stadium and the nondescript generic stands that filled what was Brendan Byrne arena.  On this trip, I noticed that the concessions and the choices at the FedEx Forum were a little bit more polished.  The business has evolved.

The concession options at the FedEx Forum were authenticated to Memphis.  The names included The Delta Grill, Rock Around, Snax and Beale Street Eats, all of which identify with local culture history —  of which there is plenty, all of which is lively and unique —  from Elvis to Stax records and on to the Blues.  The Jack Daniels night club also made use of Tennessee ties.  At these stands, you could purchase Cajun or BBQ fries, a Twinkie on a Stick, and the Dog of the Game.

The options for drinks were solid as well.  They had micro brew beer, from none other than New Belgium.  I had the seasonal brew, not just the standard Fat Tire.  The liquor options were top shelf featuring Ketel One, Makers Mark, and Jack Daniels.  The prices were high, but not much more than expected for an arena concession stand, and about as much as drinks down the street at The Peabody.  While you do pay a premium price, you get a premium product.

This may be old news to people who have been to the FedEx forum or another NBA arena, but I was impressed.   I give credit to everyone here, the owners of the Grizzlies, the operations executives at the Fed Ex Forum, and anyone else involved in delivering this great experience to the patrons who pass through.  This was a great example of a great customer experience with a 21st century twist.

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