How folks spend their entertainment dollar is dependent on many factors. Among other things, people want good value for their money, the feeling that their time was maximized, and the sense that they were treated like valued customers who are wanted back…soon.

The Green Bay Packers are such an institution in Wisconsin that they cannot be a part of this discussion. Their history, reinforced by being the only publicly owned professional football team, make them an ensconced fixture in Wisconsin culture immune to the successes and failures that occur from season to season.

Earlier this year I shared my thoughts regarding attending Milwaukee Bucks games. After countless losing seasons, the Bucks provide a remarkably interesting and interactive fan experience that entertained even when the team was lousy. The franchise will benefit from their tireless efforts to keep fans remotely interested when in 2010-11 a competitive team hits the floor. Might Bucks tickets be tough to come by this winter?

Forethought in the design and structure of professional sports facilities can certainly add to the fan experience. The Brewer bus trip, a staple of taverns across the state, can safely be scheduled months in advance thanks to Miller Park’s retractable roof. The Brewers, with their new stadium now not so new and with a team that will struggle to reach .500, need to learn a little from the Bucks. Brewer parking attendants, ticket takers, and concession workers should observe their counterparts at Bucks games and try a little harder to smile and add positively to the fan’s customer experience. Unless the Brewers solve their pitching needs, they may not see a 90-win season for a while. Options abound for families to spend their summertime money…making the entire experience of attending a Brewer game a great time will keep the turnstiles turning while the front office seeks to improve the product.

I recently visited Target Field in Minneapolis, curious to see if there were reasons other than a new ballpark and winning baseball team that were bringing fans to the stands. The ballpark is beautiful and sits close to Nicollett Mall and numerous taverns, restaurants, and shopping that entertain fans before and after the first pitch. However, the real gem of the ballpark design is the light rail system that runs from the Mall of America with stops at the Metrodome and Target Field. Fans can park at the Mall of America for free, shop for a bit, hop on the light rail for $1.75, ride for 20 minutes and be dropped off in front of the stadium. Reverse and repeat for the ride back to the car at Mall of America (or other stops available along the way.)Whoever thought up that idea deserves a gold star and a cookie.

There has been some discussion about adding a light rail system between Madison and Milwaukee. Critics state that it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. Those critics need to take a field trip up to the Twin Cities and check out light rail firsthand. Hmmmmm…a light rail system running from Madison (near the capitol and university) through State Fair Park, Miller Park, the Bradley Center, and the Summerfest Grounds. Sounds like a winner to me.


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