Topgolf Crush in stadiums.
With beverages flowing and a DJ pumping music, golfers can compete with friends as they crush golf balls off the third deck of Seattle’s Safeco Field toward targets peppering the outfield.
But this is more than just an opportunity to smash golf balls in one of the more unique locations. Seattle-area golfers have swung the club—although it is a unique experience. Topgolf also aims to create a golfing experience that merges the social aspect of food, drinks and music with its tech-heavy application that creates gameplay with its proprietary pro-tracer technology that can track each shot off the Safeco Field concourse.
Erik Anderson, Topgolf CEO, said the first-ever Topgolf Crush event, will launch at Safeco Field Feb. 17-20, but he hopes to have anywhere from 20 to 50 stadiums and arenas booked for 2017 (Topgolf was not able to announce any further bookings at press time). “Topgolf Crush is bringing social, entertainment and a sport experience to world class venues,” he said. “We wrap music, food and video content around the experience.”
An international company that has tied technology to the golf swing at its retail locations wants to bring the show on the road. Visitors will still get an “authentic golf experience” as they aim for targets. And by putting values to the shots, visitors can compete with friends in golf gameplay. But Anderson said the music, food and stadium location create something that spills beyond golf.
In Seattle, Topgolf will set up a 24-bay tee line in the grandstands facing targets ranging from 40 to 150 yards away in the outfield. Topgolf — catering to its largely Millennial customer base — will use video to track the flight of each shot, even having the ability to tie into the stadium’s big screen to further digitize the event.
“We are very excited about this,” said Rebecca Hale, Seattle Mariners spokesperson. “It is a unique event and a unique setting for it. We are always looking for interesting ways to keep the ballpark occupied throughout the year, especially in the offseason.”
Anderson said that wherever you find a big venue, you have a large fan base there to support it. He hopes to bring through 8,000 visitors over four days through a partnership with the Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field that brings folks to the ballpark at times it would otherwise not be in use.
While Topgolf declined to give financial details, they said the partnership between Topgolf and the Mariners comes with a multifaceted approach, predicated on a combination of venue fees, performance incentives, and marketing collaboration. Moving forward, Topgolf expects local and national corporate partners to play a larger role in future stadium experiences.
By partnering with the Mariners, Topgolf can attract a specific fan base, reaching fans looking to gain a new stadium experience, those wanting a new golf experience or those interested in a unique social experience. With a bar and two concession stands open from 9 a.m. to midnight, ticket holders can also gain access to a VIP lounge. A live DJ will be on site from 5 p.m. to midnight. Tee times are sold in pairs and reserved in one-hour increments at $65 for general admission and $125 for VIP packages.
Hale said they hope to expose the ballpark to people who haven’t yet come to a game at Safeco Field. “People around here love golf, and we drew 2.3 million fans to the ballpark last year, so there are chances there is a lot of crossover between Mariners fans and golf fans to experience Safeco in a very different way,” Hale said. “We’ve done a lot of nontraditional events at the ballpark, but this is certainly very different than anything we have ever done.”
Tim Newcomb covers arenas and stadiums. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.