Each venue manager will be implementing a 2019 plan of action but the industry as a whole in the UK has some common challenges and opportunities. Here are our top 5 for the coming year:
Fan engagement and education around behaviour
An increase in racist chanting at football has been widely condemned. But its return to the terraces shows that training staff to manage fan behaviour continues to be a priority. The organisations to help are available so venues should reach out to them for training and materials.
Cricket World Cup
The one-day version is in England this year and there are jobs and commercial opportunities to be taken up. Stadium capacities are in good shape and if ticket sales justify it, there will be extra temporary capacity to pencil in. The ECB will be ramping up its technical and operational teams and training up volunteers. Roll on the summer.
The government is on the cusp of bringing in a bottle deposit scheme for takeaway drinks so now is the time to benchmark your recycling systems against the best and to adjust for the coming legislation and change of behaviour amongst fans. And now you can buy green in so many departments, even the pitch. The latest synthetic pitches are being manufactured from CO2 so do your bit for carbon offset.
NFL and MLB in London
The influence of American sports on stadium design in London has been significant, at both Wembley and now White Hart Lane. The sell-out NFL games and fan villages at Wembley show us why. They give the NFL an international presence and wider fan base and the fans spend big at the host venues. The London Stadium hosting MLB is already a success in ticket terms. The venues’ staffs will get great learning experiences which they can take forward into their more regular seasons.
Rugby Premiership investment in facilities
If the Premiership sells a part share in its business, there are already commentators urging the spending of the income on facilities, not on players’ salaries. The wage cap will help. Venue managers need to be ready to get their bids in for training complexes, new non-matchday facilities and fan engagement innovations.