The Transformative Power of Sports + Entertainment Design

This week, we are convening SEGD Sports + Entertainment, a groundbreaking gathering at the Circa Las Vegas, bringing together a community of world-class sports and entertainment clients—including illustrious names like the Raiders, Cowboys, Patriots, Clippers, Angel City FC, and KC Current—and some of the foremost design leaders in the field of experience, entertainment, and sports. Esteemed firms such as Populous, Moment Factory, Gensler, Elevate Creative, Dimensional Innovations, and more will share their insights and learnings, paving the way for future leadership in this rapidly expanding design field. This assembly is not just a meeting of minds but a forge for the future of sports and entertainment design, emphasizing the critical role these experiences play in shaping society, economy, and individual well-being.

The Transformative Power of Sports and Entertainment Design

In a world increasingly seeking connection and meaningful experiences, the realms of sports and entertainment emerge not just as sectors of leisure and recreation but as pivotal elements shaping society, economy, and individual well-being. Nelson Mandela’s profound observation that “sport has the power to change the world… to unite people in a way that little else does,” extends beyond the playing fields into all forms of entertainment, from concerts to immersive exhibitions, highlighting their unparalleled capacity to inspire, unite, and heal.

The World Economic Forum’s focus on “The uniquely unifying power of sports, and why it matters” underscores the significant role these industries play in political stability and the global economy. But beyond economic impacts, there’s a deeper, more personal resonance that sports and entertainment hold. Financial therapist Steven M. Hughes points out that experiential purchases significantly boost happiness, aligning with research suggesting that experiences—be they a live concert, a sports event, or an interactive exhibition—become integral to our identities and emotional welfare.

In this era, experiences have ascended to the forefront of economic offerings, challenging traditional business strategies and redefining success through personalization, engagement, and transformation. This shift is vividly illustrated in “The Staggering Economic Impact of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour” by Time Magazine, showcasing how entertainment experiences can have profound economic repercussions.

Designing these experiences, according to Preeti Rana, is akin to culinary art, requiring a deep understanding of the audience’s tastes to create something visually and emotionally compelling. This analogy beautifully captures the essence of sports and entertainment design: it’s about crafting experiences that resonate on a personal level, offering not just escapism but a canvas for identity and community.

Lynn Zubernis, a psychologist, emphasizes the human draw to fandom as a reflection of our desire for connection and reinforcement of our passions. The intensity of engagement with the things we love not only provides pleasure but fosters a sense of belonging and identity. This psychological insight underscores the transformative potential of sports and entertainment, highlighting their role in fulfilling deep-seated human needs for connection, joy, and community.

As Jesse Owens remarked, the essence of true victory in sports—and by extension, in entertainment—lies in love, fairness, and respect. These experiences transcend mere entertainment, embodying values that, even in the face of competition, remind us of our shared humanity and the unifying power of our passions.

In conclusion, the design of sports and entertainment experiences matters profoundly. They are not just about the economic impact but about creating moments that unite, inspire, and transform us, echoing the universal desire for connection and joy. Through these shared experiences, we find not only entertainment but a reflection of what it means to be human, highlighting the indispensable role of design in shaping the landscapes of sports and entertainment for generations to come.

About SEGD

We are designers of experiences connecting people to place. SEGD is a multidisciplinary community collectively shaping the future of experience design. We are a thought leader and an amplifier in the practice of experience design. Learn more at