DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment are taking a highly customized approach in transitioning Season Ticket Holders from Joe Louis Arena to the new Little Caesars Arena—including a new form of virtual reality.
To make the reseating experience personal and interactive, the Red Wings are inviting every single full Season Ticket Holder to the state-of-the-art District Detroit Preview Center for a VIP tour.
The Preview Center, located inside a private area of Comerica Park, is an expansive space that provides a glimpse of the future in Hockeytown.
The 10,000 square-foot space is Michigan Made, Detroit Built, and uses high-tech video, sound, graphics and scaled 3D models to showcase Little Caesars Arena and the entire 50-block District Detroit.
After opening the Preview Center in June 2015 to premium seating clients, the Red Wings sold out all 52 new arena suites in just 40 days, and now, the Wings are in the process of guiding the 3,500-plus full-season account holders through the space for their personal tour.
“We are giving our dedicated Season Ticket Holders the red carpet treatment during the reseating process,” said Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment. “Instead of just sending a generic email, we’re giving personal Preview Center tours and using some incredible new technology to provide our fans a real sense of all the amazing things this new hockey experience will offer.”
To help Little Caesars Arena come to life, the Red Wings have partnered with 3D visualization and technology firm IOMEDIA, which developed Virtual Venue™, a digital platform that provides realistic views of the entire arena and virtually shows fans the sightlines from their new seats in a 3D-rendered universe.
In addition to Virtual Venue™, Preview Center guests can also utilize a new virtual reality platform called Virtual Venue RT™ [Real Time], which leverages a video game-like headset (Oculus) to deliver incredible visual fidelity and provide users a fully immersive experience inside Little Caesars Arena’s club spaces.
Virtual Venue RT™ allows fans to feel like they’re actually walking through the new arena clubs and get an accurate idea of what the spaces will be like for a game or event.
Steven Korian, co-owner and executive vice president of IOMEDIA, said Virtual Venue RT™ is the most immersive platform a fan can use for a conceptual space.
“We build the new venue in 3D from the architectural drawings, so what we build is architecturally correct,” Korian said. “For anyone who’s moving to a new venue, there is no better way to help visualize and experience the space. It is exactly what’s going to be in the new arena.”
To date, nearly every Season Ticket Holder who toured the Preview Center has secured the seats they were offered at Little Caesars Arena for the 2017-18 season. Several of those Preview Center guests who weren’t initially placed in club seats ended up putting down club seat deposits after using the virtual reality technology.
Nikki Voss-Motes, whose family has had Red Wings season tickets since 1968 at Olympia Stadium, was blown away by her Preview Center tour.
“I was very impressed and came back excited, telling everyone at work about it,” Voss-Motes said. “My dad and I liked that we didn’t feel rushed. Our Service Executive, Lauren Bellamy, took her time with us, and it was a wonderful, personable experience. I initially thought it was going to be a group of Season Ticket Holders kind of herded through like cattle, but it wasn’t like that at all, so I was very, very impressed.”
Voss-Motes and her father secured two lower-level seats at Little Caesars Arena during their Preview Center tour, but after using Virtual Venue RT™, Voss-Motes wanted to upgrade and urged her father to place a deposit for two additional seats in the new West Club.
“Honestly, if I didn’t use the virtual reality technology, I probably wouldn’t have pushed to put down a deposit for club seats,” she said. “It definitely made the space come alive.”
While IOMEDIA has developed a Virtual Venue™ digital platform for over 100 different sports organizations, Korian said the Red Wings are the first NHL team to utilize the Virtual Venue RT™ technology.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, but a virtual experience is priceless,” he said. “You get very emotionally tied to the new venue without ever having stepped foot in it. Virtual Venue RT™ brings fans right into the venue, and brings it home in a way that you can’t otherwise experience.”
Korian foresees other teams following the Red Wings’ personal, technological approach to venue reseating in the future, and said the ability to use the new technology has helped fans visualize how spectacular Little Caesars Arena will be.
“We see it as a commitment to this new venue, which raises the bar,” Korian said. “The Red Wings are going to deliver a first-class experience from the moment you buy a ticket to the moment you actually walk in the arena. And this customized approach is a really powerful way to keep people engaged and build anticipation in the community.
“We’re hearing amazing stories about people coming to the Preview Center, and when they see everything, they can’t help but get excited about the new arena.”
Voss-Motes, who was one of the first Red Wings Season Ticket Holders to see the building come to life with the Virtual Venue RT™ technology, said she believes Little Caesars Arena will be a catalyst in the resurgence of Detroit.
“I can’t wait. It’s going to be outstanding,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the biggest thing that gets people to visit and live downtown again. This will help wake up the city and bring Detroit back.”