What is the future for Sports Stadiums?
If you’re a bit long in the tooth like me, you may remember standing on the terraces of a floodlit pitch on a Wednesday evening watching the semi-professional elites competing for their place in the rankings.
TMOs hadn’t been invented, scrums were not complicated, and the grass was certainly not as green and lush as what you see today.
In just over decade, most major sports have changed massively, so it stands to reason that the stadiums need to do likewise in order to keep up.
Taking a closer look at the challenges sports stadiums face
Perhaps the biggest threat to sports stadiums in the 21st century is how easy it is for fans to watch from the comfort of their home or local pub. Sponsors can just as easily get TV coverage instead of physical banners and advertising boards.
This means that you now need to deliver an experience on multiple levels.
Sure, having a team at the top of their game is bound to draw in the crowds, but you also need to provide an environment that the players, fans and sponsors can be proud of.
Offering a high level of comfort is no longer considered a luxury, but a necessity.
What is a comfortable environment for a sport stadium?
Now replacing all your seating with sofas is out of the question but updating what you have shouldn’t be.
Fans expect to sit in comfortable, modern seats that won’t give them pins and needles by half time and more leg room so that passing each other doesn’t cause logistical nightmares.
They want options for premium hospitality and if they’re paying for that then they expect uninterrupted views and to be waited on hand and foot.
But what everyone seems to want is a seat that just that little bit closer to the pitch.
Some stadiums are already making changes to ensure that they’re offering the best possible experience.
For example, West Ham United, playing at The London Stadium, are undergoing redevelopment to get their spectators closer to the action – resulting in the longest cantilevered roof in the world! Similarly, Tottenham Hotspurs’ new stadium boasts a 17,500 single tier home southern end – a feature designed to generate a wall of sound.
Now, that’s the kind of thing you buy tickets for, right?
Bringing in technology and data
What about one of the biggest changes in recent years, not just to sport, but to life as we know it?
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and with it so is the data that we have access to. This allows us to make clever, thought out changes that deliver a positive impact.
Edgbaston Cricket Stadium, home to Warwickshire Cricket Club, is already utilising technology and data in their mission to become the most sustainable cricket stadium in the UK. Working with amber energy, we’re looking to phase in an energy reduction project to enhance the comfort and environment for their stakeholders, while working to impact their long-term bottom line by optimising their controls and on-site systems.
Building in longevity
Unfortunately, the reality is that as the industry moves so fast that new measures can quickly become obsolete. In order to stay ahead of the curve, stadiums need to be both flexible and accessible to make the most of these multi-million-pound assets.
One stadium that’s paving the way here is the Emirates, home of Arsenal Football Club, who now utilise on-site battery storage and load shifting in order to avoid higher pricing at peak times. By relying less on the grid for power, they’re effectively future proofing the stadium as an asset.
In order to effectively do this, you need accurate financial forecasts and a clear schedule of events – easy the pressure and highlighting both the operational and capital expenditure available. By understanding how technology can be built into the operating procedures of a sports stadium, you can effectively deliver a tangible benefit to the bottom line – removing manual processes and improving the customer’s experience.
What can you take from this?
At the moment, plenty of stadiums are taking up the points above – if I was to rewrite this next year, I’m sure I’d be able to find even more success stories, many of which amber would be leading on.
Lots of stadiums are starting to take this very seriously, looking to keep up with the times and enhance their stakeholder experience by using technology and new innovations.
Want to know more about how amber is partnering and helping the Sport and Leisure Sector future proof their assets?
Drop me a message at Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll happily discuss things further.