Cost model: Making sports stadiums fit for purpose

AELTC_Joe Toth_496339

Source: AELTC / Joe Toth

Today’s sports stadiums face new challenges and require redeveloping for audiences in a diverse and sustainable way. Will Goring of Turner & Townsend Alinea and Philip Johnson of Populous outline the issues.

01 / Introduction

There are many venues that host major sports events in the UK and beyond, and those who own and operate these venues often feel pressured to expand and develop them to respond to changing dynamics in their sport and across their audiences. Sports venues are naturally competitive with each other, as events are often hosted by the venue with the best facilities. Sometimes governing bodies encourage this by making them bid against each other for matches in international championships.

Complete redevelopment of a venue is difficult and therefore quite rare, usually happening only when there is no other way to achieve the objectives. Refurbishment, enhancement and partial development of a venue is more common, for several reasons. Obviously the investment required is much more modest, but just as important is that it typically allows the venue to continue to function almost as normal, with the added advantage of the spirit of the place remaining – and income ongoing.

The pressure to enhance a venue with improved facilities is prompted by a few things. Many stadiums have incrementally developed over an extended period, leaving older facilities that are often no longer fit for modern purposes. There is normally a commercial drive to increase revenue, and the aspiration to do so is usually – but not always – linked to an increase in venue capacity. More prestigious venues and those located within wealthier cities can increase revenues by broadening their offering to spectators. The expectations of spectators rise each year, and venues that respond to this changing demand can take full advantage.

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