As you consider the feel of your new stadium, plan to transfer the heritage of teams and fans and to engage with all aspects of the community. You’ll need the community’s support through planning, construction and operational phases and, of course, members of the community will be your main customers at the new venue.
Recreate iconic spaces, such as boardrooms. Store and re-use memorabilia, not just in a club museum but in premium areas to bolster exclusivity. Plan an area for foundation stones or tiles and sell them to fans to put their names on and show their support. The front façade is an opportunity to feature player graphics and space can be set aside for statues of famous players.
Engage with potential paying tenants such as the council’s sports development department, sponsor businesses that are expanding and need office space, men’s health practices, especially sport medicine and physiotherapy.
Work with the local education authority or education trusts to house academy schools, college departments or study centres, perhaps as part of a sport campus. The classroom space in the day can be used to run (sport-related) adult education courses in the evenings. You’ll need accommodation for people working in the stadium every day outside of the tenant team.
There may be an opportunity for the new stadium to become a hub of sporting excellence for its region, attracting sport charity and local authority funding. Can the stadium footprint be extended to encompass separate facilities – pitches under the grandstands, synthetic surfaces in the concourses on non-matchdays, rolled up for matchday?
Floodlit training pitches can be club and community facilities and an indoor training barn can be rented out to professional and student teams during the day and be the home of evening leisure sport. There’s a trend towards individual sports and X sports rather than team sports so plan spaces and partnerships to bring these revenue earners to your venue.
A new stadium is the time to provide a modern retail offering. The club shop should be able to open seven days a week, perhaps doubling up as a ticket office. An under grandstand row of shops can provide ongoing rental income from retail brands that want to be associated with a tenant team e.g. sportswear, automotive.
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