Skidmore Studio Logo

Elon Musk and the satellite stadium

I don’t own a sports team, but if I did, I’d be very focused on attracting millennials. As the largest and most powerful consumer group of our time, it stands to reason that they would be an important target audience for teams, franchises, and ticket sellers. But millennials just aren’t that interested in attending traditional professional sporting events. In our 2016 Millennial Sports Survey, we found that team owners have reason to be concerned:

  • Only 50% of millennials have purchased a ticket to any sporting event in the last year
  • 67% of millennial sports fans reported attending events less often or never in 2015

If I were one of these owners, I like to think I’d take a similar approach to solving this challenge as Elon Musk would. He hasn’t tackled sporting events in the past, but if he did, I think he would focus on creating the optimal fan experience.

With that goal in mind, I gathered a cross-section of our creative team for a brainstorm entitled: What would Elon Musk do?

First, we looked to our audience. As digital natives, millennials grew up in control of a steady stream of content. Since a young age, their world has been filled with smart phones, hi-def television, and high-tech video games. The gamer in them craves on-demand content and a first-person perspective. The content consumer in them demands that each experience must be unique.

To solve for both of these millennial desires, we strategized about a stadium we could build today and we daydreamed of a stadium on the moon. Then we ditched the traditional stadium concept altogether. When we were able to let go of convention, we envisioned a place unlike anything we’d ever seen.

We call it the Satellite Stadium.

Knowing that 64% of millennials will not travel more than 30 minutes for a game, our concept involves a stadium-like gathering area positioned in areas with a high concentration of millennial activity. Owned by the individual sports team, the Satellite Stadium offers a direct and virtual connection to everything that is happening at the game in real time.

It is TopGolf meets Madden, IMAX meets Twitter.

This extension of the stadium experience is entirely different than the traditional stadium, though it offers live content from the actual game. The difference is in the depth, breadth, and display of that content.

Set the scene

In the Satellite Stadium, everyone has the best seat in the house. With a mix of bar and dining on lower levels, and lounges and soft seating on upper-levels, each satellite location will feature concert-style platforms with a 180-degree view of the game. With an innovative film-quality screen that takes IMAX one step further, our innovative half-dome structure allows guests to be fully immersed in and surrounded by the game—no matter where they choose to sit.

Catch all the action

But watching the actual game is only one part of the experience. What if we extended the fun to include everything that happens both on and off the field? Unlike the typical sports bar, the Satellite Stadium receives a unique broadcast feed from hundreds of cameras at the game: from center court to the sidelines, and the end zone to the locker room. Each feed would be simultaneously displayed throughout the venue on dozens of hi-definition screens, allowing guests to control their view of the game like never before. And if that’s not enough action for you, each feed would be accessible for second-screen viewing on interactive tabletops and via the geo-based Satellite Stadium app.

Gamify the game

With the popularity of Fantasy Football and videogames that allow fans to coach their favorite NFL, NBA, MLB or FIFA teams, consumers are demonstrating their desire to control the outcome of the game. Why not invite them to compare their choices with real coaches in real time? To add a little personal excitement to what is happening on the field, guests will be encouraged to share their predictions of upcoming plays via the Satellite Stadium app. In a twist on the Fantasy Football model, users would earn points for predicting successful plays throughout the game and be featured on leaderboards throughout the venue.

Make the Fan Zone a Friend Zone

Since millennials are all about connecting with each other and sharing their experiences digitally, let’s give them a space both in venue and in app to interact with other fans. Through the Satellite Stadium app, guests will be able to view the social posts of every logged in user at the event. By bridging the physical and virtual worlds, we can facilitate the kind of experience millennials are looking for.

What’s Next?

These ideas might seem a bit far-fetched now, but they are closer than you think. What would entice you to attend a game tomorrow that you don’t see at the stadium today?

Tweet out your craziest idea with #SkidmoreStadium and we’ll share the best ideas. In the meantime, if anyone has Elon Musk’s email address, let me know. I have some ideas I want to send him.

Photo credit: Helga Esteb,