The top 10 features of future stadiums Metlife

The top 10 basic features of future stadiums

Fans will be the driving force behind the future transformation of stadiums. Add-on services and tailored experiences will be of vital importance to attract these fans. We will discuss what future stadiums will look like

Old stadiums were creating great fan experiences

Imagine yourself two thousand years ago in ancient Rome. You are in the stands of the Colosseum. With your buddies you are enjoying the gladiator games. There is plenty of food nearby in the corridors. You notice that there are people making bets and that you can participate in lotteries. In the background you hear the crowd cheering and roaring. You realise that you are thoroughly enjoying this great experience.

New stadiums are not that different….

Fast forward to the present now. What has changed from the past? Nothing really, except for people no longer killing each other in the arena. For the remainder the purpose remains the same. It is ‘hosting a group of connected people that want to have a great time’. Wait a minute! What about the look and feel? You are right! The stadium of today is more modern as our demands as consumers have changed.

“Our requirements in what makes a great stadium experience have radically changed. Stadiums have to continuously adjust and innovate to deliver! ”

Jan Kees Mons

Investments are ever increasing

The drive towards innovation has increased the level of investments in stadiums. The number of EUR 1bln plus stadiums is ever increasing. This trend is unlikely to reverse anytime soon. You know what the world’s most expensive stadium is? It is the Metlife stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. Total investment? A whopping USD 1,6 bln!

Having been active in the banking business, the first question popping up is obvious! How in the hell can such a structure generate sufficient returns? Yes, Metlife has been paying USD 400 mln for bragging rights by naming the thing, but that far from covers the bill. No doubt the math has been done! The answer to this question is simple. It can be found in the fan. The fan is interested in experiences and is willing to pay a price for it! Not for the entrance ticket, but for the add-on services and experiences. See also my blog on future fanengagement, where I elaborate on this.

Also interesting to read: 10 striking predictions about the future of sports

Top 10 features of future stadiums

So what will future stadiums look like? Here are ten features that will enhance the experience of fans.

1. Stadiums will become technological fortresses

Connectivity and interactivity, those are the buzzwords here. New generations think, sleep and eat it! Without state-of-the-art technology, no deal and no experience! It means future stadiums cannot do without it. In the new recently build Tottenham stadium in London, 1200 kilometres of cable is being used. This means an astonishing 20 metres per seat! No doubt with 5G around the corner, newly build stadiums will facilitate for future technology changes.

Also interesting to read: 10 great technologies that will change sports

2. Stadiums will increasingly become multipurpose structures

With investments in stadiums skyrocketing and fan requirements ever increasing, it might be challenging to generate sufficient financial returns. Utilisation levels should improve in order to realize this. It should therefore be not surprising that stadiums will become multipurpose. For example, parking lots can be used during the week for city commuters. Office space can be rented within the stadium and museums and fairs on the stadium grounds can be visited all week long. Future stadiums could become small cities where people gather and meet and have a good time

3. Convenience all the way

The present fan wants convenience from beginning to the end! From ordering his ticket till arriving home after visiting the game. Expect blockchain ticketing to enter the stage rather sooner than later. This allows for fraud to be expelled and dynamic demand based pricing models. Imagine yourself on your way to the stadium in a self driving car with a smart navigation system. Your car is parked automatically after you have been dropped at the stadium. That should make your traveling experience an awful lot more pleasant.

Obviously when entering the stadium there will be no queuing. Smart flags and holographic images/guides, will provide you with the latest information. Once in the stadium you will be able to order your food and beverages and merchandise from your (heated) seat. Moreover, it will be equipped with USB ports. Just moments later your order will be delivered at your seat.

4. Security is key

Fans do want to feel safe and not worry about terrorist threats or hooligans. If they feel safe, they will stay longer at the venue and spend more money. Facial recognition, smart blockchain ticketing and crowd control systems are just a few examples of how fans might feel safer in the future.

Also interesting to read: How will the blockchain impact sports

5. Sustainability and no footprint

Generations Z and Alpha do not require anything less. They are environment addicts and much more concerned with the planet than older generations. Not surprisingly, they recognise the threat to their future existence. It means future stadiums should leave no footprint and should generate their own energy to start with. It’s not an option, it’s a must! Water should be re-used, rubbish recycled etc. Once a stadium becomes obsolete, the building materials should either be recycled or used in a different way.

Also interesting to read: Sports going green

6. Providers of experiences

Attendances are declining in many sports. Why should you visit a game if you can have the same experience with a virtual reality set at home with a couple of friends? Mind you, it is already there! Stadiums hence need to offer something special, something the fan cannot experience at home. Think about in-stadium exclusive social networking platforms, sweepstakes, live betting, holographic experiences with your favourite player, skywalks. Or what about augmented reality delivering you stats and add-on info on the game or a player? Or offering you great game-related interactive screenshots of yourself! Think about sensors, the possibilities are endless.

7. Social meeting places

Experiences are not the only reasons for new generations to go to a stadium. If there is one thing which is important for them, it is the chilling factor. They want to meet with friends and relax. Stadiums need to be creative in how to facilitate for this trend. Think about special seats etc.

Also interesting to read: How GenZ will change the world of sports

8. Stadiums will become ‘datatemples’

One of the ways stadiums and club owners will be able to earn back some of the investments will be data-gathering. Who is in the stands and what does that fan need? By doing this, the stadium can become a major content and data provider to many commercial parties.

9. Artificial Intelligence will alter stadiums into deep learning organic creatures

With future stadiums equipped with state-of-the-art technology Artificial Intelligence will kick in and change stadiums into small deep learning cities! This will be improving and optimising the (tailor-made) experience of each fan within the stadium

10. ??

I deliberately leave number 10 open as I have surely overlooked some features. Moreover, it is quite likely that reality will be much different. I would love to hear your opinion on how future stadiums might look like. So feel free to drop a comment so we can fill in number 10 (and 11). Thanks!

The top 10 features of future stadiums

Published by Jan Kees Mons

I am Jan Kees Mons. Just call me JK, that’s easier I guess. I am a Dutchman living in the heart of the city of Amsterdam. Right now I am living on my own. However, not for much longer, as I plan to live together with my lovely girlfriend.