ASM Global’s Gary Jacobus on Venue Experience Trends To Keep an Eye on in 2023

Following a busy year full of innovation for the events industry, eventgoers and stakeholders have even more to look forward to in 2023. New technologies are being deployed at events around the country and are quickly becoming indispensable as they further enhance the venue experience for fans and attendees.

XLIVE caught up with Gary Jacobus, President of business development at ASM Global, to discuss exciting venue and fan experience trends that will define 2023, as well as how ASM Global is working to push the live events industry forward.

XLIVE: What have you been most excited about since starting your new role with ASM Global?

Gary Jacobus: ASM Global is a big early-stage company. We are only three years old but we have a massive global footprint. I am most excited by the vast amount of growth opportunities in front of us. Ron Bension (CEO) is focused on innovation and growth. He has assembled a world-class management team and tasked us with thinking differently about the business. It’s not business as usual. We are rethinking, reinventing, and reimagining the venue management and live event businesses. We are leading the industry into the next phase resulting in new ways venues are managed and events are executed. In the end, fans and guests will be the ultimate beneficiaries as they experience live entertainment in unique, totally immersive, frictionless ways that weren’t even possible five years ago.

XL: How did the fan experience landscape evolve in 2022, particularly when it comes to technological innovations?

GJ: Digital transformation of live events has accelerated over the past couple of years. The pandemic really sped up the pace of innovation, particularly in professional sports venues. Fans are looking for a frictionless, pain-free, elevated, and personalized guest experience from start to finish. Everything that can be automated is being automated. From digital ticketing, checkout-free stores, venue navigation, customized content, retail purchasing, marketing messages, it’s all digital and delivered directly to fans on their phones in real-time. It’s a fully immersive, multi-faceted, customized experience — what you want, when you want it, where you want it, and how you want it.  

XL: What do you see as some of the most significant technologies that are coming down the pike that fans and other event stakeholders can look forward to?

GJ: Checkout-free technology is starting to grow rapidly. Once a fan experiences a concession stand with no lines where they simply tap a credit card, shop for what they want, exit the store, and get back to the game in seconds, they will never want to go back to the old school, belly-up, traditional point-of-sale experience. It is truly one of the most disruptive technologies to ever be implemented in live event venues. Additionally, digital food ordering apps like DoorDash are becoming mandatory in sports venues. Fans will no longer tolerate long lines for food & beverage when they know there are better, faster ways to order and receive their food.

XL: More generally, what are some of the biggest venue/fan experience trends you have your eye on going into 2023?

GJ: Customized, premium guest experiences are becoming more common as fans are looking for high-end, personalized, one-of-a-kind experiences. The “experience economy” is real. ASM is leading the way in working with our clients to transform and redefine the premium experiences at our venues. Fans want to feel special, and teams have been tasked with completely changing the day-of-game value-proposition. It’s no longer enough to put an exciting, winning team on the field. It goes well beyond what’s happening on the field or stage. Fans and guests want it all. Uniquely curated content, better food, collectible merchandise, specially designed gathering spaces within the venue, and even access to players.

XL: Is there anything else you'd like to mention?

GJ: ASM Global is at the forefront of changing the live event industry. As the global leader in venue management and live event experiences, we are positioned to bring innovation to every element of live events. We have a deep leadership team, vast experience, expansive assets, a global footprint, and the best front-line operators in the world to make it happen. The industry and our clients are looking to us to lead the way and we are built to deliver.