Team merchandise helps create what Ruby Newell-Legner refers to as the “fan experience.”
Newell-Legner, owner of Colorado-based consulting business 7 Star Service, coordinated with the Miami Heat’s guest services department to improve the arena experience.
If a staff member tenderly bends to ask your son or daughter about their favorite Heat player, then hands them a free memento, thank Newell-Legner.
If a security guard doesn’t get gruff with you about tossing your beer before entering the arena, thank her again. And if the concession stands offer gluten-free granola or fruits and veggies as an alternative to grease-laden stadium snacks, know that it’s Newell-Legner’s doing.
Her job is to make comfort a lot easier for the ordinary game-goer.
Over the past two decades, Newell-Legner has worked with 26 professional sports teams and has trained guest relations staffs in venues that have hosted the Super Bowl XLI, the 2010 Olympics and the 2008 U.S. Open. When she first coached the AmericanAirlines Arena employees in 2006, prior to the Heat’s championship, she said she realized that the arena staff lacked energy and worked with supervisors to promote a positive experience for both front line staff members and the fans.
When emotions run hot between home-team fans and away-team fans, employees are responsible for maintaining a good environment, she said. That’s where she comes in.
She works to develop customized training programs that streamline communication and keep attitudes upbeat. “The moments between staff and fans should be engaging,” she said. “We don’t want you to think that we’re just here to take your money.”
This story reflects corrections to a version previously posted.