There is no easy way of saying this, but 2020 has been a disaster for the stadium sector. Any business that relies on mass gatherings of people has been hit particularly hard, and the future looks uncertain as we look forward over the next 12 months.
In the English Premier League alone, it is estimated that clubs will be set for a collective £500m loss caused by COVID-19 and the absence of mathday and TV revenue.
The Europe, the losses are similar, with even the most optimistic forecasters expecting a drop of €700m in revenue for 2020.
Stadiums will need to maximise revenue over the coming 12-18 months if they have any hope of ofsetting the losses experienced thus far, and this will pose its own challenges.
Sport relies on its fans for survival, and the prospect of playing professional sports in empty stadiums, is an odd experience for all involved.
The sooner that stadiums can get back to ‘normal’, the better for all involved, but this raises a huge number of questions. How can stadiums balance attendance and safety? How can fans be safely ushered from entrance to exit with the minimum level of contact? How can staff be protected? What protocols need to be in place for frontline staff? How can these measures be communicated quickly, and how can managers ensure that staff have understood the guidance?
The stakes are extremely high. In Italy, where the first major contagion in the West took place, Atalanta hosted Valencia at the San Siro in which the mayor of Bergamo called a ‘biological bomb’. 35% of the Valencia team tested positive for COVID-19 as well as many journalists and fans who travelled to Milan. As the world looks to recover, policies are being updated rapidly from top level at governing sports bodies right down to local authorities and individual clubs. The penalties for not following guidelines are severe and it is now more important than ever to ensure the right tools are in place to ensure 100% compliance by fans and staff.
In a recent survey carried out by ESSMA, the European Stadium & Safety Management Association, 7/10 clubs do not believe there will be an impact on full-time staff numbers in the longer term, likely due to the fact that 100% of clubs suggested the importance of staff and stewarding was very high.
In order to promote staff retention, incentives may be required for staff who will be on the ‘front line’ in ensuring fans are safe and that events are as successful and enjoyable as possible. Some forward-thinking European stadiums have already started to implement staff loyalty schemes, where ‘points’ can be earned by staff for delivering good frontline service, and spent on a variety of items either in the stadium itself, or in everyday shops and restaurants.
Safety and compliance – digital tools to communicate new policies and guidance, ensuring staff have understood and responded, and providing instant digital guidance to staff on the front line.
Inspections & defect reporting – instant reporting of any incidents, defects, or routine maintenance logs, all from an easy-to-use mobile app.
Employee engagement – providing the information needed for staff and fans to stay safe, encouraging open dialogue for staff at all levels, reward staff with loyalty schemes or goal based incentives from a single app.
Lost property – we offer an app-based lost property solution which allows fans to easily liase with staff about lost items, and arrange return, without the need to meet in person or wait at a lost property office.
We are working closely with ESSMA, the European Stadium & Safety Management Association on COVID-19 solutions that can be quickly deployed for European stadiums. The areas we are looking at include:
Allowing staff to limit movement & contact – sharing of matchday documents, escalate and record incidents, resolve lost property and resolve fan queries instantly.
Preparing for a phased return of fans – deploy solutions that can help to manage capacity, and movement of fans in the safest possible manner.
Helping staff to deal with entrance testing, and escalations – allowing staff to act quickly and decisively without unncessary physical contact, and keep real-time auditable records.
If your business is currently being affected by any of these areas, or you would like to share a challenge you are facing specifically where you believe the perfect mobile app or web based software would help, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.
Also please take a look at Opinsta’s ‘kick-up challenge’ which was recorded durng lockdown during lockdown.
Stats, figures and industry conversations have been attained by collaborative partners ESSMA, the largest Stadium industry network who bring together experts across Europe in Stadium & Safety Management.