Fields of Dreams – 6 Stadia that Love EventProfs
Sporting stadia can offer #eventprofs great and often inspiring venues for meetings and events of all sizes. Here are 6 stadia that do events with power and panache.
On a weekly basis, massive scale events take place at stadia around the world. While stadia, on average, cater for about 50,000, a whopping 150,000 attend games and political manifestations at Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. (Although, on second thoughts, this may just be a rumour as no-one that I or you know has actually ever been there!)
Most stadia include dedicated events spaces in their architectural and design specifications and offer #eventprofs a great alternative to the beige wall sterility of the average hotel ballroom for meetings and events of all sizes. For planners and their attendees stadia offer iconic architecture and extensive, flexible spaces all within a unique and unusual context. But they often offer much more than this: for many attendees, going to an event in a stadium is highly motivational, just like holding that meeting in their field of dreams. Here are 6 stadia around the world to inspire event planners..
Readers who know my premiership preference will accuse me of outrageous partiality when I include the relatively new Arsenal stadium on this list. I do so without blushing as the meetings and events space there is almost peerless. Opened only 10 years ago in 2006 The Emirates Stadium was definitely built with #eventprofs in mind. While its extensive spaces, halls and suites primarily support the stadium on match days, they’re perfectly fit for any meetings or event purpose irrespective of whether or not you’re an Arsenal fan. Team branding is decidedly dialed down in some areas maximizing their flexibility and appeal to all users. Broadband and digital infrastructure throughout the stadium is cutting edge and you can view all spaces on a brilliant website chock-full of great content.
Photo Credit: Camp Nou
Now Europe’s largest stadium with a matchday capacity of just under 100,000, Barcelona’s Camp Nou is a full scale campus facility with meetings and events spaces throughout the site particularly at the purpose built Auditorium 1899. The meetings and events team at the Camp Nou has a full menu of products aimed at the corporate meeting planner including such high ticket items as transfers organised in the first team motorcoach and penalty shoot outs on the sacred pitch itself. What jaded suit in his mid thirties doesn’t imagine himself as Lionel Messi as he lines up at the Camp Nou to blast one past the goalie?
Europe’s third most capacious stadium (83,400) is located in Dublin and is home to the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) whose Gaelic football and hurling championship is staged annually before full houses at the venue. Its purpose built meetings and events spaces are super – extensive and equipped with best-in-breed digital infrastructure. Approx 650 events from 10 to 2,000 attendees are staged there each year along with high profile, sell-out shows by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce. Signature events for Dublin city such as the Eucharistic Congress and the Special Olympics have taken place at Croke Park. Event attendees can also avail of an entertaining stadium tour, a visit to the award winning GAA Museum and an exhilarating and unique bird’s eye view of Dublin City from the Etihad Skyline, a rooftop walkway around the circumference of the facility.
Photo Credit: MetLife Stadium
Opened in 2010 at a cost of $1.6 billion, MetLife Stadium hosts both the New York Jets and Giants and accommodates 82,500 for games. It’s perfect for private meetings and events too with a host of distinct spaces ranging from the decidedly high-end sophistication of the Commissioners Club – all dark woods and plush leather – to the voluminous, light filled Chase and Toyota Clubs that can accommodate just under 2,000 attendees for a reception. You can also install temporary structures and rent the field itself for super-large weddings or pan-company team building activities, atop the same turf that America’s greatest sporting heroes do battle upon. Field of dreams, you betcha!
Photo Credit: BC Place Stadium
BC Place Stadium in Vancouver hosted the final of the soccer world cup for women in 2015 but styles itself as a multi-purpose facility. Interestingly, it also positions itself as an economic generator for British Columbia quoting an annual revenue figure of $100 million as its net contribution. Located somewhat spectacularly in Vancouver’s city centre, BC Place has a fully retractable roof enabling it to serve citizens and visitors 12 months of the year. As a recently renovated facility BC Place has top spec technology with 800 WiFi ports, 1,100 digital screens and an energy efficient LED lighting display that greatly facilitates branding. Like other stadia mentioned here, most notably Croke Park, BC Place has impeccable sustainability credentials including a comprehensive recycling programme, use of biodegradable cleaning products and locally sourced food.
Soldier Field in Chicago is a stadium the truly merits the appellation “iconic”. Opened initially in 1924 as the Grant Park Municipal Stadium, it became “Soldier Field” two years later in commemoration of US soldiers killed in the First World War. Soldier Field is the architects Holibird and Roche’s response to the brief to create a stadium that would serve as a showcase “for events and a playground for the people”. It has served its function well for almost 100 years and allows private rental of its indoor, outdoor and pitch spaces for #eventprofs. Indoor spaces include the First Floor United Club with period detail, lake views and 6m vaulted ceilings. You can do a sit down dinner there for 900 or a stand-up function for 1,500.
With their large scale outdoor and indoor spaces and the huge footprint of their playing surfaces, stadia offer #eventprofs great scope for events of all sizes. Uniquely, they bring to attendees that extra frisson of excitement and motivation as the frazzled attendee is afforded the chance to network and meet in an unconventional location that might actually be their field of dreams.