Stadium Design Summit

12 March, 2024
Stadium Design Summit

Stadium Business Design & Development Summit

In case you missed it, the annual Stadium Business Design & Development Summit took place a few months ago at the Emirates Old Trafford stadium in Manchester.

The event is the world’s leading expo, gathering professions from not only across the globe, but multiple sectors involved in the finance, design, delivery, refurbishment, and operation of sports and entertainment venues.

For its 12th edition, the Summit brought together a host of C suite international project delegations from new stadium, arena and entertainment destinations, alongside leading architects, engineers, consultants, advisors, and the full supply chain to the sector.

This year, our own Client Services Director, Peter Crawley and Chief Customer Service Officer, Gavin McMurray, attended this high-level networking and knowledge exchange event.

Who attended the Summit?

Peter: There was a wide range of delegates in attendance this year from design agencies and architects, stadium and arena representatives, to build and procurement roles and suppliers ranging from signage, furniture, audio & visual and technology.

Gavin: With such a diverse range of attendees, it was great to connect with so many people interested in our extensive signage and digital signage work at the new Tottenham Stadium. We connected with people from every stadium-related role imaginable and what stood out about event was how open everyone was to discussing their needs or how they fulfilled the needs of others. The right mix of delegates and positive atmosphere meant it felt like a group of like-minded people with a common cause – creating the best stadium and event spaces possible – who were happy to talk and share ideas.

Peter: We connected with design agencies, architects and technology integrators that we have worked with before or only just met, about stadium signage, sharing our expertise and sector experiences. We had conversations with a range of stadium and arena owners and operators ranging from Premier League football clubs to leading entertainment arenas, as well as fan experience agencies.

Why was the Summit important?

G: Meeting stadium operators first-hand and getting greater insight into what is important to them was incredibly useful, the same applying to stadium architects. It also made clear to us what a busy space this is and how much technology is being used to enhance stadium operations and the customer experience.

Digtial signage is clearly very popular and important because it can contribute to the fan experience in so many ways – including dynamic wayfinding, information, safety and entertainment.

Sustainability was also a big topic and something that Merson is looking to push even further on with in the near future. We prefer to work in sectors where this is important to our customers so we have shared values and vision.

P: We are heavily involved in this sector having worked on wayfinding, digital signage and cladding projects at the likes of AO Arena, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Chelsea FC and Everton FC so it was great to share some of this experience with individuals looking to learn more about the benefits of what we offer, as well as learning about the current trends, requirements and ambitions of the sector.

Were there any key themes or speakers?

P: The event is a highly targeted with no more than 400 exhibitors and delegates, who are all working in the sector and offer or are looking for high-quality products services. The intimate nature of the event, with a varied list of speakers and a curated breakout area meant the event was collaborative and conversation led.

G: The key premise was Stadium Design & Development and there were quite a number of exhibitors with a wide array of products and services. There were a number of talks on key subjects, such as the design process, cost management, managing complexity, safety & regulatory compliance, innovation, LED screens, AI analytics and much more!

Panel discussion on topics such as the move towards more organic forms in design, women’s sport and venue operations were held, creating great engagement between the various delegates and suppliers.

What key learnings did you take away?

G: Stadiums and venues are now very complex, high-tech buildings – incredibly so. It’s a growing market, with each operator trying to out-do the next when it comes to event experience, whether it’s sports or live music.

On-site hotels play a big part as do all the F&B offers and the large number of high-value revenue streams from events means there is significant investment being made in creating state-of-the-art venues. There were awards for a host of categories, including: Destination, Industry Partner, Fan Experience, Community Project and Sustainability.

P: The sector is fast paced and demanding – the fan experience was at the heart of everything the attendees were focused on. This is critical and helps to shape our focus on how to support stadium and arena client with well-designed and manufactured wayfinding and digital signage solutions that improve the fan experience, remove friction and create lasting memories.

Merson Group are always keen to share their knowledge and learn from other experts within our industry. Meeting fellow sector enthusiasts is one of the highlights of their job so the team already have the 13th Summit in their diaries for 2025.

Want to envision how your stadium or venue could look with the help of Merson? Book a conversation and Virtual Reality Design demo at today.