- October 18, 2023
- Posted by: SportsV
- Categories: Case Studies, Event News, Featured Articles, Features, Home News, Industry News, News, Press Releases
Some 400+ venue professionals packed into The Etihad Stadium last week for the second day of the ALSD International 2023 Conference & Exhibition, organised and delivered by Sports Venue Business on behalf of the ALSD. The C-suite executives from all across the globe came together to share best practices from around the world, meet new people and learn from each other.
The second day of this high-octane conference opened with a panel session on “CAPEX Projects & Gaining a ROI: When & How Often Should you Invest in your Venue?”. Moderator Peter Filopoulos, Head of Marketing, Communications & Corporate Affairs, Football Australia took to the stage with speakers Andy Price, Commercial Director, Ticketing & Arenas, NEC Group; Nick Sautner, CEO, Eden Park Stadium; Javier Doña Viaña, Project Manager – Stadium, Real Betis Balompié; Tom Doyle, Vice President of Project Development, Legends International; and Andy O’Sullivan, Venue Director, Tottenham Hotspur.
Asked about investments in their venues over the next few years, Sautner told delegates:
For us it’s innovation and increased utilisation. People have been speaking about how you can sweat the asset outside of the event day. We shouldn’t be designing stadiums as stadiums, we should be designing them as public spaces that get used 365 days a year.
Outside of gameday Tottenham had introduced a roof walk and abseil, while a karting circuit is also set to open below the South Stand.
It’s about doing more with less. We need to be really smart with redeveloping rather than complete new builds.
While Price advised:
The NEC Group’s focus over the next few years will be on how to improve the guest experience.
Doña Viaña told attendees about Real Betis’ mission to deliver a new Benito Villamarín Stadium with a capacity for 60,379 spectators:
The new complex will multiply the revenue of the institution through a new stadium concept, open, modern, and that will allow to increase the commercial activity of Real Betis throughout the whole year thanks to different quality spaces.
The design will widen the entertainment and hospitality offer on match days, before, during and after the games, and also on days without sporting events. The Stadium will become a big leisure and events centre, with an auditorium of 450 seats, and also an important touristic site in the city.
The panellists were asked where they got their inspiration from as they assessed how to move their venues forward.
Allegiant Stadium and the Sphere are genuinely inspirational and are doing some really interesting things. We could look at things they are doing there and replicate them in Europe.
We scanned the high street for F&B ideas, looked at the airlines for membership inspiration, and at the car industry for marketing expertise.
We have to look at experiences across the wider industry and look at membership initiatives like Netflix. How do we get a membership that cuts in monthly, irrespective of people entering the stadium?
Speaking after the event, Doña Viaña said:
The ALSD International event is no doubt one of the best gathering places to catch up with stadium and arena industry colleagues, meeting with top professionals and sharing new ideas. It has been a very fruitful and high-value two days of networking at The Etihad Stadium, and really well organised. It would be great to host the event once our New Stadium opens.
Evolving Amazing Venues
The AO Arena came under the spotlight in a session on Evolving Amazing Venues with moderator Katie McIntyre, Executive Director, ALSD International & CEO, Sports Venue Business, joined by speakers Jon Lee, Creative Director, 20.20 Ltd; Jen Mitchell, GM, AO Arena; James Bradshaw, Real Estate Development Director, ASM Global; Tristan Evans, Founder & Managing Director, Motion Project Management; and Oliver Wright, Premium Hospitality Director, ASM Global.
Manchester’s 30-year-old AO Arena is currently undergoing a £50 million refurbishment project.
The mammoth redevelopment will see an expanded standing space on the arena floor, new lounges, the installation of additional VIP seating and an enhancement of the overall guest experience for all users. ALSD International exhibitor, Costudio, was also involved in the project.
Mitchell told delegates:
It’s about us refocusing and looking at the flexibility and opportunities we have within the building. We have to re-establish what our goals are for the arena, what the expectations of our clients and guests are. Everybody who walks through the door has different expectations, whether that’s F&B for the GA clients, the expectations of premium guests, the back of house spaces for the artists.
What we looked at when we made decisions on the AO Arena was twofold. You either add tangible benefits to the package – things like value-add, or you try to replicate the lifestyle choices our guests have outside of when they attend our venue. That was the key criteria when we made our decisions.
We started with our VIP entrance, which has no return on investment, but was necessary to enhance the guest experience. It’s somewhere they can decompress on arrival, they can avoid the crowds. It has really improved the access and egress from a VIP perspective.
He said an opportunity was spotted at the back of the seating bowl to create The Terrace:
That’s about adding those really tangible value-adds to the package. Guests can use the VIP entrance, they will have upgraded toilets and genuine instant F&B service, great seats with a panoramic view of the arena and space to party.
Opening soon, ‘The Mezz’ is a new premium, glamorous bar and restaurant that will serve up the best in modern British cuisine, champagne, fine wines, signature cocktails, and post-show entertainment.
The renovation work is being carried out while the arena remains open.
Sports Venue Business organises and delivers ALSD International – the leading event and 365 community for the Premium Seat & Hospitality sector – on behalf of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD).
Sustainability in Focus
A panel on Green Credentials: Focus on Sustainability sponsored by Elavon and hosted by moderator Rich Krezwick, Chairman, ALSD International/ALSD, featured speakers Scott Frisby, Head of Strategy, Elavon; Sara Tomkins, Marketing & CSR Director, Co-op Live; and Pete Bradshaw, Director of Sustainability, Manchester City Football Club.
Manchester City FC has big sustainability goals and is pushing to be net zero in carbon emissions by 2030. The Club is looking at a number of areas of focus for sustainable operations, including energy and water, waste and materials, travel and transport, biodiversity and ecology.
Frisby, from payments company Elavon, told delegates:
We view sustainability as two sides of a coin. On one side there’s a question about not using excessive energy, but the other side is about keeping business running, sustaining small businesses, big businesses and keeping the economy going. From that perspective the payment system is the grease on the wheel.
We’re [Co-op Live] part of Oak View Group and our leaders are passionate about the planet and doing things differently. We’re not going to achieve our ambitions without everyone buying into it, so working with Oak View Group, I get the opportunity to work with the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle who are doing amazing things and are doing really well when we talk about waste and the consumer journey and what we can all do differently to make that greener. We can share each other’s stories.
Other sessions included:
Major League: Bringing an All-American MLB Experience to Europe
Sponsored by Freemans Event Partners, moderator Robyn Black, Head of Content, Fleet Street Communications, discussed the intricacies of bringing Major League Baseball to London Stadium with speakers Gary Bell, Commercial Director, London Stadium, Elliott Moore, General Manager, Delaware North and Stephen Freeman, CEO, Freemans Event Partners.
Maximising Demand & Growing Revenue
Moderator Giles Bayliss, of FutureTicketing, discussed the ways in which demand can be maximised and revenue can be optimised through strategic sales strategies to help protect during recessions, and deliver more contractually obligated revenues with speakers James Bradshaw, Real Estate Development Director, ASM Global; Hayley Wood, Senior Commercial Director, Formula 1; Matt Seu, Director, Premium Sales, Milwaukee Bucks & Fiserv Forum; Andy O’Sullivan, Venue Director, Tottenham Hotspur; and Ted Glick, Senior Vice President, Legends Global Sales.
The Science Behind Wayfinding & Brand Activation
Simon Borg, Head of Brand Activation, Populous, took delegates on a whirlwind tour of the science behind way finding and brand activation.
A How-To When it Comes to Optimising Sponsorships & Partnerships. Moderator Rich Krezwick, discussed the ways in which partnerships and sponsorships can be optimised, whilst also delivering a next-level in hospitality, with industry experts Nic Bee, Ticketing & Hospitality Director, Formula E; Maxwell Fenton, Director of Sales – Formula 1®, Elevate; and Vicki Donlon, Commercial Manager, HRI Racecourses.
From Venue to Vision
In this candid conversation with Sodexo Live! UK & IE CEO, Rebecca Kane Burton discussed navigating the journey from Venue Operations to Catering Provider Excellence with moderator Katie McIntyre, Executive Director, ALSD International & CEO, Sports Venue Business.
Creating Loyalty: How to Deliver Customer & Staff Loyalty
Delivering authentic experiences through your front-line staff was the topic of conversation for two former Disney alumni, Candy Fuzesy, VP of Team & Venue Partnerships, Suite Experience Group, and Matt Lynch, Managing Director, MoonShot, with moderator Jessica Gaffney, of Wavework.
In the lunchtime keynote, Harry Hynekamp, Vice President of Guest Experiences, AMB Sports + Entertainment and IIFX Distinguished Fellow discussed the topic “Passion, Purpose & Profits. The Blank Family of Businesses Core Values are Lead by Example, Put People First, Innovate Continuously, Giveback to Others, Listen & Respond and Include Everyone”.
“Shaping Fan Behaviour for a Premium Experience” was the topic delivered by Professor Chris Kemp – an IIFX advisor – for the closing keynote.
An additional session entitled “Powering Optimised Sales & Service” with speakers Ciaran O’Morain, Managing Director, Qualflow and Michael Tansey, Head of Bar & Cellar Operations, Fabulous Fan Fare (F3) at The Etihad Stadium, will be available in early December.
As for the inaugural Tech Symposium, there was a wealth of industry expert speakers tackling a wide range of subjects, including:
The Customer Journey: Twickenham’s Digital Approach to the Customer Journey. Moderator: Roy Yaoz, CCO, Triple Jump Technologies. Speakers: Nils Braude, Managing Director, Twickenham Experience Ltd; and Laura Jefferies, Head of Marketing, Twickenham Experience Limited.
Revolutionising Sports Ticketing Sales: Harnessing AI & Automation to Super Power Your Sales Team. Speakers: Scott Kornfield, Co-Founder, WolfCycle and Joe Redmon, Senior Director – Membership and Hospitality, New York City Football Club.
How is Technology Enabling Clubs & Venues to Achieve Operational Excellence? Moderator: Cassandra Calleja, Head of Membership & Client Services, ALSD International. Speakers: Chris Bergs, Sales & Partnerships Director, be•at venues; Vincent Steinmann, Vice President, Operations & Communications Director, FC Lausanne Sport; and Gordon Kaye, Director, RESULT Sports.
Emerging Technologies: From Wearables to IoT and Smart Stadia. Moderator: Cassandra Calleja, Head of Membership & Client Services, ALSD International. Speakers: Angela Davies, Head of Partnerships, DIGISEQ; and Ilan Frank, NINA LABS.
Data-Driven Strategies for Enhancing Customer Experiences and Revenue Generation. Moderator: Jessica Gaffney, VP, Tech Division & Founder/CEO, ALSD and Wavework. Speakers: David Garth, Vice President of Commercial Revenue, Legends International; Catherine Downes, Co-Founder & COO, usheru Live; and Barrie Hill, UK Development Director, JT Tech.
Innovations in Sports Sales & Service Enablement Technology. Moderator: Candy Fuzesy, Vice President of Team & Venue Partnerships, Suite Experience Group. Speakers: Jessica Gaffney, VP, Tech Division & Founder/CEO, ALSD and Wavework.
Author’s credits: John Sheehan: firstname.lastname@example.org