Top Trends in Stadium and Arena Management in 2022 | Ungerboeck

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Stadium and Arena Management in 2022
4 Min Read

Top Trends in Stadium and Arena Management in 2022

Stadiums and arenas host some of the world’s biggest and best events, such as live performances, concerts, and sporting events. From ticketing to security, catering, logistics, and more, these events are complex to manage as there are so many moving parts.

Over the past two years, stadiums and arenas worldwide have had to review every aspect of their operations in response to the global pandemic, subsequent changes to consumer expectations, and advancements in technology and the impacts of COVID are far from over. So, as the industry gets back on its feet, there will need to be a period of re-education.

Firstly, venue management teams will need to rethink how they manage their events, especially how they deliver services and manage new risks by adopting new systems and processes. Secondly, after two years of lockdowns and social distancing, while some people are eager to reconnect in person, others are hesitant about attending major events. With that in mind, venues need to reengage the market, educate them about new safety measures that are in place, and remind them about the magic of attending live events.

Here is a list of some of the key trends that will impact stadiums and arenas in 2022:

  1. Take advantage of Anchor Tenants and Returning Touring Content

    Stadiums and arenas typically host two main types of bookings: anchor tenants and one-off, major events like music concerts and sporting events. Typically, anchor tenants are seasonal bookings that host a given number of events each year and represent a consistent and reliable revenue stream. In addition to anchor events, stadiums and arenas look to maximise their number of event days by securing additional content, including one-off bookings for major events, as these high-profile events yield a higher income.

    With international borders shut and restrictions on mass gatherings, there has been a significant lack of national and international touring content and fewer major event bookings. While touring content is starting to rise again (i.e. major sporting events like football, rugby and the Olympic games have recommenced and several world tours have been announced for 2022), there is still significantly less content than there was pre-COVID. As a result, venue teams need to continue to maximise potential revenue from anchor tenants by reviewing venue booking agreements and food and beverage offerings to meet market expectations and new health and safety requirements. In addition, they also need to proactively seek opportunities by working with promoters to secure as many major events as possible from the limited pool of content.

  2. Leveraging Corporate Partnerships and enhancing VIP Experiences

    After two years of social distancing measures, corporate companies are seeking opportunities to entertain and build relationships with their clients face-to-face. As a result, corporate partnerships and premium hospitality solutions in corporate suites and VIP boxes will become a primary focus for stadiums and arenas throughout 2022.

    Stadiums and arenas are focusing on two main areas to maximise the potential revenue generated from corporate sponsorships and VIP experiences. Firstly, management teams are investing in improving their online booking processes to enhance the patron experience and ensure it is as easy and seamless as possible for corporate partners to book events to entertain guests on and outside of major events and matchdays/gamedays.

    Secondly, venues are focusing on reviewing and improving their hospitality packages and introducing innovative upsell opportunities to increase the overall spend. Online booking platforms allow upsell opportunities to be promoted and purchased at the time of booking or in the lead up to an event while arranging tickets and guestlists, making it easier for venue teams to prepare and plan for events.

  3. Digital Transformation and Covid-Safe Services

    Prompted by COVID19, stadiums and arenas have revisited their existing processes to provide exceptional and safe experiences for their guests. From purchasing tickets to travelling to the venue, entering the venue, accessing seats, and purchasing merchandise or food and beverage, every customer touchpoint has to be “Covid-safe.”

    As part of this process, stadiums and arenas are turning towards digital “touchless” solutions to meet new consumer expectations and respond to government and public health advice. Throughout 2022, this trend will continue, and things like digital tickets, digital signage, and contactless payments for merchandise, food and drink will become the new norm.

  4. Adopting Agile Protocols for Risk Management

    For stadiums and arenas, risk management involves three key areas. Firstly, venue teams must provide a safe environment for staff, suppliers, and guests. Secondly, they must have policies and procedures to make decisions fairly when an issue occurs. Finally, they also need to take responsibility for caring for and protecting assets and resources.

    If the past two years have taught venue managers anything, it’s that we never know what the future holds. From global pandemics to natural disasters, political unrest and more, throughout 2022, stadium management teams will need to continuously review and improve risk management protocols to ensure they are agile enough to address whatever challenges arise. Now more than ever, risk assessments cannot be approached “set and forget” mentality. Instead, they should constantly be evolving to improve existing protocols for existing risks and identify new potential risks and how to tackle them if and when they occur.

  5. Catering for Diverse Dietary Needs

    While traditionally, visitors were primarily concerned with the event, sporting match, performance, or concert they were attending, nowadays, patrons expect more from the overall experience at a stadium or arena, especially when it comes to food and beverage offerings. So, whether stadiums run catering in-house or contract it out to an external provider, catering plays a big part in the experience delivered to patrons at events and will need to be a primary focus throughout 2022.

    Over the years, customers’ expectations have become more refined, mainly driven by the food and beverage trends experienced elsewhere in the community. For example, stadiums and arenas are now competing with surrounding restaurants. As a result, they need to explore new ways to drive their food and beverage offerings forward to remain competitive and maximise revenue. In addition, with the rise of intolerances and various dietary requirements, a big focus of venue teams in 2022 will be on extending their menu offerings to accommodate customer preferences.

Want to learn more? If you manage a sports venue, football stadium, arena or live event venue, let's schedule a quick chat to see how Ungerboeck’s world-class solution can improve your online booking and event management processes.