From the field to the locker room, the just-opened, $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., was designed with customizable features to make fans of each of its resident football teams — the New York Giants and New York Jets — feel at home. The same theme was applied to the stadium store. Using a combination of modern architectural design and the latest innovations in digital technology and lighting, the 9,600-sq.-ft. space can be transformed to create a team-customized shopping experience for the teams’ respective home games.
“Our challenge was to create a store that could flex easily between the Giants and Jets, and also exist as a hybrid for non-game events and concerts. “And it had to be done without sacrificing operational efficiency,” explained Brian Shafley, president and chief creative director, Chute Gerdeman Retail, which collaborated on the project with Delaware North Companies, whose Sportservice division is the exclusive operator of food service and retail at the Meadowlands stadium.
The transformation of the store, whose official name is The Flagship Store Powered by Reebok (Reebok is the official equipment, uniform and footwear provider for the NFL), is made possible through colored lighting, digital signage, projected graphics and flexible fixturing. All of this plays out against a neutral, slightly futuristic background.
“The New York customer has access to a lot of sophisticated stores, so we wanted the store to feel cool, new and fresh,” Shafley explained. “Also, this is a brand new stadium, and we didn’t want to get caught up in old-style imagery. So we relied on more abstract graphics and stylized elements.”
From the fixturing to the architectural details, the space is mostly white, the only color the two teams have in common.
The powerful use of lines and striping in the stadium architecture provided inspiration for the store concept. The design features gleaming white floor-to-ceiling striped bands that soar into the ceiling area and dip back down into the sale area to define the spaces.
Above the architectural bands, the ceiling is washed with LED lighting that can shift with the flick of a switch from Giants blue to Jets green depending on which team is playing.
Digital signage, including a large LED video wall, is located throughout the space. Iconic imagery of logos and players in action is projected on the floors and walls at key locations. All the graphics are easily reprogrammed to complement the appropriate home team.
The center of the store features an interactive zone where guests can play a simulated football game on a digitally projected Giants or Jets home football field. Four gaming stations feature NFL-themed games, programmed to involve the home team. A reader board details scores of games, and video monitors broadcast live game feed.
“The digital technology is very user-friendly,” said Corey Dehus, creative director, Chute Gerdeman. “There are three buttons in the back storage room, with two representing the home teams and one when the store is in hybrid mode. The buttons control the lighting and digitally projected images.”
For quick merchandise changeovers, revolving perimeter display panels pivot to reveal the appropriate home team merchandise. A cap tower, topped with a replica of the Vince Lombardi trophy, allows for logo merchandise to be interchanged by flipping hinged cover panels. Some fixtures have hidden storage areas that allow employees to change out stocked goods right at the fixture, and on the floor itself.
“The floor fixtures can be changed out in three hours,” Shafley said.
Colored lighting accents the sleek-looking cashwrap area, which is highlighted with an oversized dimensional graphic to celebrate the store’s position on the 50-yard line. One line feeds into a long row of some 20 checkouts.
“It’s proven to be the fastest way to process a lot of people,” Shafley added.