Moments That Matter: Why Live Events Make Memorable Experiences

Hi. I’m new to Medium. Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve spent my career building connections. At the NYSE, I helped oversee the world’s largest financial marketplace, connecting companies, employees, and investors around the world to capital. Now, at StubHub, I’m leading a $4+ billion business and connecting people to the excitement of experiences.

I’m also a dad. And one of my favorite things to do is to connect my kids with the joy of live events.

This spring, my sons and I celebrated opening night with the L.A. Galaxy, and everything at the stadium — the roar of the crowd, the feel of a warm L.A. night, the excitement in the air — was enhanced by seeing it through their eyes. And I know that no matter where life takes them, they’ll look back with joy on the moment the confetti rained down to commemorate that night with the Galaxy.

I’ll always remember cheering on the L.A. Galaxy with my sons.

Most people look back at their memories of live events with this same nostalgia. It doesn’t matter that Guns N Roses took a two-decades break — I was only one of 50,000 people who broke out the bandanas to see them live this year. Live events are where memories are made, across the world and throughout our lives.

That’s what StubHub does — we connect people to the experiences that inspire them. You may know us as a place to find tickets to sold out shows. Or you may think of us as a way to offload your season tickets when you can’t make every game.

Yes and yes.

But even more than that, we are a group of fans — more than 1,000 strong — who want to connect our customers with the joys of live events.

Why does this matter? Because in this day and age of always-on technology, when people can be more attached to their phones than to their friends, experiencing the world live is more important than ever. It’s easy to stay in and watch any movie, any show, anytime — but the memories that matter are created when we get out and live life live.

To prove this, StubHub recently asked people what they thought about live experiences and the impact they had on their lives. Our study examined consumer attitudes and behaviors about going to events, in the U.S. and worldwide. From Metro New York and San Francisco, all the way to Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro, StubHub found that across demographics and locations, people rated experiences as one of the most fulfilling way to enrich their lives.

Live Experiences as Memorable Moments

StubHub found that all around the world, consumers rank their first concert as their most memorable experience.

In the mid 80’s, I saw The Cult and Billy Idol — my first concert, and a memory I’ll always treasure.

I’m not alone. Our study showed that the number one memory that people have is their first concert — over their first job and even their first kiss. I’ll stipulate that it’s the emotion in a concert — especially your first one — that creates those lifelong memories and brings you back in time whenever you hear those songs played again.

At my first concert, I didn’t even have a camera. I just have the memories. Now, however, I see more people snapping the show than actually watching it.

They’re in good company. Our study showed that around the world, people find it increasingly important to share their live event experiences with friends — more than three-fourths (78%) of the people who responded to our survey said they would rather tell their friends about something they did instead of something they bought.

And with social media playing such an important role in our everyday lives (just follow @cutlerscott on Twitter, for example), it comes as no surprise that event attendees want to share their experiences with friends on their social channels as well. Why post to Facebook about what you had for dinner when you could instead share the moment that you were this close to Adele walking to her second stage? (One of the best shows ever, by the way.)

Why Live Matters

Bragging rights aside, live experiences, especially music, are powerful because they have a direct impact on human emotion and happiness.

More than 60% of people in our study said that going to a concert makes them happy, and more than half of 18-to-24-year-olds associated music festivals with happiness. Sports are great, too — 49% of people said that live sporting events contribute to happiness and social connection. And with all due respect to the upcoming election, 54% of survey respondents would rather see their favorite sports team win a championship than see their preferred presidential candidate win the election.

Most of the Americans we polled would rather meet their favorite singer than meet the next president.

Going a bit too far?

As great as live experiences are, I’m not sure I’d go as far as some of our study participants to see live events — and I run an experiences company!

We asked people what they would sacrifice to meet their favorite artist or musician live, or to see their sports team win a championship.

Technology was a no-brainer: our study showed people would give up their phones, delete social media and go without Wi-Fi. The more surprising — and concerning? — piece was hygienic. Some die-hard fans would skip showers and go without toilet paper to create incredible memories. I applaud those fans — and hope that I don’t run into them!

We found that consumers would give up A LOT for VIP tickets.

I was crushed when the San Francisco Giants ended their even-year streak. But as of this writing, I’m excited for Cubs fans and the end of a 108-year drought. These memories — and more — give the tens of millions of fans and event enthusiasts around the world their own powerful memories.

Live events connect us, and everyone feels that adrenaline rush when we watch a grand slam soar out of the park or hear our favorite song performed live. So our next survey question is, what memories will you make?