6th January 2017
New mega-stadiums helping to drive London clubs to a new future
London is seeing an explosion in brand new state-of-the-art stadia like no other city in the world.
In August West Ham United moved into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford after over a century at their famous Upton Park home. The controversial move came a decade after the opening of the new Wembley Stadium, home to UCFB Wembley, and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur are currently building a new 61,000 seater stadium and hope to be in it by 2018, and in West London Chelsea have submitted ambitious plans for a similar size stadium.
A recent visitor to UCFB Wembley was Mark Gonnella, the Director of Communications at Arsenal. After an insightful talk with students about PR and marketing, Mark sat with UCFB and discussed the importance of the club’s new stadium to its future, namely increased revenues and the opportunity for the Emirates Stadium to be used as a multi-purpose arena.
Since the stadium opened in 2006 Arsenal has nearly doubled their home match-day attendance compared to Highbury, but significantly it’s the increase in revenues from hospitality and corporate guests that has made a huge difference.
Mark said: “The build was primarily about getting to a place where we could increase our revenues to compete more effectively. I think moving forward the impact financially of the build is not as significant as it was ten years ago, because obviously we’ve seen the explosion of things like broadcast revenue which has changed the game entirely for everybody, but it’s still significant and makes a difference for us every year.”
He added: “The primary thing was that we knew we needed to grow because we knew the financial demands on the club were going to increase and that was the primary driver.”
Modern stadia are now increasingly becoming multi-purpose venues as clubs look to make their investment an everyday working space. On top of football matches, live concerts and now NFL at the likes of Wembley and the new White Hart Lane, holding conferences and similar events is also worth big money to clubs. With London soon to have five stadiums with a capacity of 60,000 or more, competition will be bigger and tougher than ever.
The Emirates Stadium was built with such facilities in mind. Mark said: “We’re so fortunate to sell the stadium out, but what we were able to do was build a facility which is able to host extraordinary meetings, events and conferences. We were able to develop a business working within the football industry, so there’s something happening at the stadium every single day of the week, from football to charity to corporate. That has opened up another opportunity.”
— UCFB (@ucfbuk) November 10, 2016