There will always be stadium fans, but owners and managers face significant challenges to overcome the following pitfalls and adapt to the growing demand for a better, more sustainable experience of the future.
Every passionate sports fan knows that the design and capacity of stadiums are vital for the teams' performances and I'm sure many of us have sat in at least one uncomfortable seat in our lifetime of frequenting the stadiums to see our favourites play. Almost every month there is an announcement of a new stadium being built somewhere around the globe, but more often than not there is an unfortunate follow-up to the story of the projects being abandoned or doomed to failure. Apart from the poor design of some of these projects, there is a whole another secret world that takes place throughout the lifetime of the stadium, and even before its opening. How can anyone expect that going to see the games will continue to be part of our culture if these brainchildren of modern architecture continue to suffer from poor behind-the-scenes decisions? The truth is that there will always be stadium fans, but owners and managers face significant challenges to overcome the following pitfalls and adapt to the growing demand for a better, more sustainable experience of the future.
The Politics & Economics of Stadiums
For the occasional sports fan, stadiums are associated with the exciting atmosphere of the matches, but you'd definitely think differently about the whole experience if you know what happens when all the fans leave. The truth is that the reality of high-profile tournaments such as the European League, the World Cup or FIFA requires that all stadiums are private franchises which can solely sustain the life of the stadium. Thus, today’s stadiums are not just a pitch surrounded by seats in all corners. They also accommodate whole malls of restaurants and entertainment venues to make sure that this investment will pay off in the long term. In the meantime, decisions on which team is granted to play and train on the stadium are made behind the scenes. Shareholders and coaches lead discussions worth billions to decide the fate of the competing teams long before the season has even started. Bookmakers are also involved from the very beginning, as the stadiums gather fans who bet on the game and bookmakers in one place. Aside from that, slots casino sites are another place to visit for more interactive gaming with real money prizes. In a similar manner to the different legal obligations on gambling for each country, the life of stadiums depends on which side can win more supporters and what incentives they can offer them. Some stadiums fail for this very reason because above these interested parties sit the vested political and financial interests of the authorities who either give the green light on the construction or make it impossible for the franchisers to ever start building the stadiums. However, today many franchises have found ways to gain more political clout inevitably leading to more prolonged negotiations. Luckily, as Wilbur Rich claims in his book ‘The Economics and Politics of Sports Facilities’, often on top of this chain of different co-dependent parties are the local elites and businessmen who would never miss an opportunity to grab such a big-ticket project as the stadium. They are those who have the last say and usually make it happen. Apart from behind-the-scenes power games, the following three stadiums have many other more visible problems.
Famous Stadium Failures
Size is not everything: Barcelona’s Nou Camp
Architecture plays the most important role in a stadium’s success and should really be a proof of this initial investment made with the effort of all the parties involved. Barcelona’s Nou Camp is hardly an architectural masterpiece to that respect. Its almost always empty seats prove that comfort or at least the bare minimum of being close enough to the pitch to be able to enjoy the game are a must for any good stadium. We can easily forgive Barcelona for this mishap, as Nou Camp is a dinosaur from a past era.
You must be surprised to read about Wembley in this section, but the truth is that in this case, architecture is not everything. Wembley is truly magnificent from the inside out, but its reputation has been tarnished by the huge corporate area of usually empty seats and dull atmosphere. On top of this, transportation its certainly not Tottenham’s first priority, as it takes an hour to the closest Tube station, so fans must come prepared.
What to Expect from the Stadiums of the Future
To remain compatible, stadiums have to future-proof from such poor architectural and political choices. Like many traditional industries, sports facilities have recently entered a new era of more advanced development. The most successful plans are those that best have incorporated technology, sustainable design and finance to create the stadiums of the future that we’ve all been waiting for. However, due to the rise of eSports and virtual sports entertainment, stadiums not only face financial and design difficulties but also the threat of becoming obsolete. For this reason, we should expect that future stadiums will become much more flexible in accommodating fans by using mobile technology to increase connectivity and the ways of following and sharing the game experience. For example, smartphones will become the centre of attention of the franchises that want to diversify and modernise, with mobile apps being offered as an upgrade to season ticket holders that provide more video streaming and betting opportunities are already in development. Speaking of sports betting, SlotsWebsites.org also has a vast list of sports betting sites, supporting the best live sports odds. Luxury and preferential treatment of these high-end fans will also find its way to the heart of the stadium. Also, security will become paramount, as we start to see security areas extending farther away from the pitch to incorporate the whole leisure complex attached to it. With the advance of technology, it will become trickier for stadium owners to predict which technological perks to adopt first, but a safe bet that everybody is going for is to create multipurpose stadiums for less money, but with sturdier materials of smaller carbon footprint. The importance of environmental sustainability is expected to naturally lead to larger green recreational areas, electric charging points and a state of the art energy-saving systems mounted on the stadiums’ rooftops. We might be a long way from such futuristic masterpieces, but it is not hard to believe that in several years to a decade, stadiums will utterly change for better.