Dolphins New Partnership Drives Value for Fans and Uber

By Adam Grossman

“Get out of your seat, and get into my car.” There have been several adaptations of Billy Ocean’s hit 80’s song, but rarely can one apply these lyrics directly to the sports industry. The Miami Dolphins and Uber have made this possible after announcing a new partnership that makes it easier and better than ever for fans to come to the newly remodeled Hard Rock Stadium.

The first feature is that there will be a drop-off and pick-up zone dedicated specifically for Uber near the stadium. This makes it as easy as possible for fans to attend and depart games while minimizing walking to and from their seats in the stadium. The second is the creation of Uber Tailgate. Twenty parking spots will be available for fans to “buy a tailgate experience, complete with grill, charcoal, table, chairs and a tent.”

In our book The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry, my co-authors and I examine the challenges that sports teams at all levels are having in attracting fans to their venues. In particular, the in-home experience has become so great that fans are finding it more difficult to leave the comfort of their favorite couch, big screen television, and favorite foods to come to a venue for a game.

The Dolphins-Uber partnership directly addresses these problems in multiple ways. First, it removes the onus of a fan driving, parking, and walking to the stadium. Uber will pick you up at your door and drop you off right at the stadium. Second, it makes tailgating, a favorite pastime of many fans, as easy as possible for those in the Uber Spots. Everything is provided for you at a cost of $250-$350 depending on the opponent. By removing many potential obstacles and creating a unique experience for fans, the Dolphins and Uber make it much more likely that fans will attend the game. 

This is really a classic case of another concept we talk about in The Sports Strategist called “Doing Well By Doing Good." The Dolphins are providing services that the fans want (transportation and tailgating) while still generating new revenue both from new ticket sales and monetizing the tailgating experience. In addition, the Dolphins “only” have 20 spots available. That way the team can learn from its experience and make improvements for the fans if it decides to expand the program.

The fans are not the only winner here.  Uber also generates new revenue directly from this partnership because it is now able to transport fans that were likely going to stay home, while also having an exclusive area not available to other ride-sharing services. By enabling Uber to immediately monetize its relationship with the team, the Dolphins have a deal that is clearly beneficial for both organizations.  This may not be exactly what Billy Ocean had in mind with his song lyrics, but it is exactly what Dolphins fans and Uber want from the team.