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Tokyo 2020 today unveiled the official emblems of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, “Harmonized Chequered Emblems”. The design was highly acclaimed by the public and the Tokyo 2020 Emblems Selection Committee for exemplifying Japan and the city of Tokyo, and for its representation of the spirit of the Tokyo 2020 Vision.

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Birmingham’s Edgbaston Stadium has been officially recognised for having the best atmosphere of UK cricket venues in a study of all match days in 2015 undertaken by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The atmosphere on the third day of last summer’s Investec Ashes Test Match at Edgbaston received a score of 9.5 out of 10 by the spectators in attendance, which was the highest score of any international fixture or final played in the summer of 2015.

Gareth Roberts, Commercial Director at Warwickshire County Cricket Club, said:

The atmosphere at Edgbaston is world-renowned and differentiates the stadium from any other cricket venue in the country. We are very proud that the atmosphere is ranked by the spectators in attendance as the best in the country.

In recent years we have invested in all elements of our match day experience to ensure that our spectators have a memorable day out at Edgbaston. This has included operating shuttle buses from the city centre, improving parking facilities around the stadium, an increased food and drink offering and more entertainment around the bowl of stadium.

It’s fantastic to see this investment recognised in the scores given by spectators who attended our matches in 2015, and we hope that this will lead to many fans returning in the new season.

The ECB issues post-match surveys to ticket buyers of all UK international and NatWest T20 Blast games, with an opportunity to score 10 elements of the match day experience, including atmosphere, seating, public announcements and the food and drink offering.

Steve Elworthy, ECB’s Director of Events said:

Putting fans at the heart of the game is one of the ECB’s key priorities and the atmosphere at Edgbaston last summer shows how passionate people are about this sport.

The team at Edgbaston are to be congratulated on tapping into this passion and the needs of their community in order to deliver a great event for everyone involved.

It is vitally important for all sports fans to know they are going to be offered a fantastic experience when they come to a cricket match.

This summer, Edgbaston hosts England in the Royal London One-Day International (ODI) on Friday 24 June and the Investec Test Match against Pakistan from Wednesday 3 to Sunday 7 August. Edgbaston also hosts the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day on Saturday 20 August.

 

Image: Spectators in Edgbaston’s iconic Eric Hollies Stand during the Investec Ashes Test Match. BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JULY 30, 2015: During day two of the 3rd Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia.  (Photo by Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images)

 

Our forthcoming Q1 edition will include a special roundtable featuring a number of industry experts from global sports venues – including Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground and Twickenham – discussing the latest initiatives and solutions to optimise Fan Engagement and the Fan Experience.

 

Latest Q1 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management now available

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The latest Q1 (Spring) ’15 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine is now available in both digital and printed format, with ‘Venue in Focus’ features on Hungary’s Groupama Arena, the USA’s new Florida Citrus Bowl and England’s Derby Arena.

Other features in this issue include:

  • Looking Forward: highlighting a selection of the most eagerly-anticipated sports venue openings
  • Focus on the Middle East: illustrating developments in the region
  • Special Roundtable on Safety & Security: the key challenges for designers, operators and technology suppliers
  • Special Roundtable on Temporary Stadia & Major Sporting Events: the key design and operational considerations
  • Special Roundtable on Audio Solutions and how to ensure the most effective solution
  • CEO’s Roundtable: in which two key industry CEO’s discuss their role, the challenges they face and how they employ best-practice
  • Top 6 innovations to manage venues more efficiently

In addition, this edition includes a number of very interesting articles from architects, designers, consultants and technology suppliers, as well as our inaugural Playing Surfaces Buyers Guide: the industry’s first independent guide to the leading companies involved in all aspects of natural, hybrid and synthetic turf, from design and build to maintenance and protection.

Both our Q1 (Spring) ’15 edition and Playing Surfaces Buyers’ Guide can be viewed online at: http://www.psam.uk.com/contact/free-digital-issue

 

NB: Our next edition, the Q2/Summer ’15 issue, will be published in May and will include features on:

  • The growing use of LED technology
  • BIM in stadia design
  • UK country focus: focusing on the regions latest sports venue projects
  • Top 6 initiatives to increase your venues F&B revenues
  • Special Roundtable on the latest innovations in roofing design & engineering
  • Ticketing & Access Control
  • Fan Engagement & Enhancement strategies & solutions
  • Official preview of our ‘live’ event Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific
  • Supplement on Sports Venue Renovations
  • Q&A with Liverpool FC’s CCO, Billy Hogan
  • Special Roundtable with a selection of Stadium/Facility Directors
  • Venues in Focus will include: Baku National Stadium and France’s EURO 2016 host stadia

Should you wish to be considered for one of the Special Roundtables or to provide input for any of the above, then please contact the Editor, Katie McIntyre, via email at: katie@aladltd.co.uk or call her in the Irish office on Tel: +353 (0) 44 9335212.

 

 

Showcase Special edition of PanStadia & Arena Management now available in e-format

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Our latest Showcase Special edition of PanStadia & Arena Management is now available in digital format with over 200 pages of inspiration for your sports venue, including a North America Showcase special supplement, detailing the latest sports venue projects and innovations from the region.

Venues in Focus in this 204-page edition include:

Saint Petersburg Stadium, which, upon completion in 2016, will be home to FC Zenit and will take on the mantle of Europe’s most modern stadium, Eastern Europe’s biggest and Russia’s only multifunctional stadium. The venue’s instantly recognisable form – designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa – will make it an iconic backdrop for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

The US$1.3bn, 68,900-capacity Levi’s® Stadium, which after nearly 17 years of starts and stops, finally opened its doors on August 17, 2014, as the new home of the NFL San Francisco 49ers.

The 51,000-seat Estadio de Futbol Monterrey, which, when it opens in July 2015, will be the MX$2.6bn (US$200m) new home of Rayados FC in the Mexico Premiere League.

In addition, this edition features our advertisers’ extended editorial spreads in which they showcase their latest projects, products and services, covering everything from architecture, design and engineering, to rigging & temporary structure solutions, as well as Sports Turf installation, maintenance and protection, and everything in between!

Read the latest issues online at: www.psam.uk.com

PSAM NAS Winter 2014-15 COV 277

 

One Systems upgrades University of Indianapolis Key Stadium for football fans

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The University of Indianapolis (UIndy) – a private university located minutes from downtown Indianapolis – recently upgraded Key Stadium with a One Systems sound reinforcement system.

As a NCAA Division II school, UIndy is recognized for having one of the best athletic programs in the USA. The decision was made to upgrade the system in order to accommodate its expanding football fan base and game day experience.

The school administration tapped Tech Electronics of Indiana to assist in the design of a new system.

Bob Brubeck, Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities & Game Day Operations at UIndy, explained:

Having worked with Tech Electronics before, we knew they were the best fit for the job. Their project proposal provided exactly what we needed to improve the sound quality and game experience at Key Stadium.

Jeff Watson, Director at Tech Electronics of Indiana, headed up the project. The school was in need of a system that had enough power to overcome the crowd noise and cover the visitor sidelines, Alumni tent, the south parking lot and the home bleachers.

Watson said:

We put together a system that took their current and future needs into consideration. Our previous experience with One Systems direct weather loudspeakers made the decision an easy one. They aren’t just models with direct-weather capability, they are incredible, high-performance loudspeakers built for outdoor use.

Watson specified a total of nine One Systems loudspeakers to cover the complex. Five 112IM 12-inch, two-way full range loudspeakers were mounted to the home side press box to cover the home bleachers. Four 212CIM 12-inch, two-way loudspeakers were mounted 65 feet above the ground on the home side light poles to cover the entire football field and surrounding areas.

Watson added:

One Systems loudspeakers provide top performance sound quality while being impervious to the Midwest’s sporadic and hazardous weather conditions. The University is extremely pleased with the new system. It definitely takes the game day experience to a higher level.

Tech Electronics also supplied three Crown Audio CTS600 loudspeakers to power the system. The units are housed in a new lockable wall mounted equipment rack located in a storage area at the stadium. The rack is also home for a Biamp Systems Nexia SP digital signal processor used to EQ and fine tune the system.

Forest Academy scores with second 3G surface

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With English Championship soccer side, Nottingham Forest FC, not only looking to regain Premier League status after a 15-year absence, as well as striving for Category One status for its Academy, maintaining the best training facilities for its first team through to youngsters as young as eight is a top priority.

 

Faced with the challenge of attracting and developing the region’s most talented young footballers, the Club’s management took the decision to install a new state-of-the-art outdoor 3G playing surface at its Nigel Doughty Academy. The ultimate objective was not only to achieve playing consistency for every one of the club’s youngsters, but also to secure Category One academy status under the FA’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

 

Having already invested in an indoor synthetic training pitch last year, the Club contacted TigerTurf; a leading manufacturer of synthetic sports surfaces in the UK, who manufactured and supplied a 7,094m² surface, which was installed by Sleaford-based independent sports surfacing specialist, Smith Construction.

 

At the request of the academy coaching staff, the surface was manufactured with markings giving it the versatility to be divided from an FA regulation 11-a-side pitch into four smaller pitches to be used by younger academy age groups. With the academy hosting many talented youngsters aged 8 – 19 from across the club’s representative teams every week, an adaptable 3G area was essential.

 

Boasting FIFA 1 and 2 star accreditation, TigerTurf’s Soccer Real 60XQ is the result of breakthrough polymer processing that eradicates weak points which may occur in the yarns as a result of the shape, therefore producing unrivalled split resistance. This results in a surface which is durable enough to offer long-term elite level performance without compromising the aesthetics. The third generation synthetic turf system is 60mm in length and comprises two unique profiled fibres; part-filled with rubber and sand to enhance ball roll.

 

To enhance the overall standard of the playing area, the football club also invested in the installation of recessed goal areas to ensure that those goalposts not being used can be moved away from the pitch to avoid any safety risks. With goalposts constantly being moved to accommodate academy squads of different ages, this was deemed essential by the coaching staff.

 

Gary Brazil, Academy Manager at Nottingham Forest Football Club, commented:

When the Club took the decision to invest in a new 3G surface at its academy, the Chairman’s view was that the quality of the playing surface had to come first, which is certainly reflected in the quality of its performance to date.

From a coaching perspective, we couldn’t be happier with the new surface as it allows us to do the technical work that we need to do with the youngsters at the club – and do it with quality. The reception from the players has been equally positive as the new pitches create conditions very, very close to those of natural grass. The ball holds up better than on other synthetic pitches we’ve seen which gives a truer playing environment.

As we aim to achieve Category One status for our academy as soon as possible, it is essential that we offer a top-class facility with top-class surfaces. The new artificial training pitch is second to none and perfectly enhances our grass pitches and indoor surface, giving us everything we need to meet Category One criteria, which is the ultimate aim for us irrespective of the division our first team is playing in.

The new 3G area is great as it gives us a full-sized 11-a-side pitch which can be broken down into an 11 v 11 pitch, a 9 v 9 pitch and two 7 v 7 pitches, depending on what we need at any given time. This works extremely well for both competitive fixtures and training. I don’t think we’d do anything different even if we were asked to do it all again.

 

Ewan Hunter, the Club’s Head Groundsman added:

As well as being able to handle the demands of every team that trains at our academy, it was also important for us to have a pitch that would be simple to maintain. By running a charterhouse groomer and brush across the surface in a couple of different directions once a week, we can ensure the rubber infill on the surface is always evenly distributed.

The 3G surface is simple to maintain and by working closely with the coaching staff to monitor how much each pitch is used and in which areas, we can adjust our maintenance schedule accordingly.

Nottingham Forest FC has installed a new TigerTurf 3G pitch at its Nigel Doughty academy (2)

World’s first L-ACOUSTICS K2 Arena System installed at Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets

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Modern sports venues have to do it all – host major sports contests one night and top-selling music artists the next. That’s an economic imperative at a time when teams and promoters are competing for the consumer entertainment spend. The venue with great sound that can do it all wins, and that’s why Toyota Center, the arena home of the NBA Houston Rockets, comes out on top.

 

In October, the arena, which opened in September 2003 and seats 18,000 for basketball and over 19,000 for concerts, installed a new L-ACOUSTICS K2 sound system – the first K2 system permanently installed in a major professional sports arena. The cap to a two-year AV makeover that included new HD video scoreboards, the sound system, designed in SOUNDVISION by project consultant Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams and AV systems integrator LD Systems with support from the L-ACOUSTICS US Applications team, primarily comprises 72 K2 enclosures flown in six arrays.

 

The installation was completed and tuned just in time for the start of the 2014-2015 NBA season, when the Rockets hosted the Boston Celtics on November 1. Underscoring the exceptional flexibility and range of the K2, the new system is also potentially available to be tied into by a slate of top concert artists in the autumn/fall, including shows by the Black Keys, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Fleetwood Mac.

 

First making its stadium debut at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, K2 has proven to be the solution for myriad unique situations at installed-sound projects, and Toyota Center proved no exception.

 

LD Systems Sales Engineer Kevin Broussard commented:

Sound quality in an arena is always a challenge, but we had some additional challenges on the Toyota Center project. In addition to coming up with a line-source system design that would provide even and seamless sound coverage all the way around the arena, we were also instructed to use as many of the existing rigging points that had been used to support the old trap-box-style system as possible to keep the venue flexible for touring music shows. The K2 was the perfect solution for that thanks to its ten-degree inter-cabinet angling. That, combined with the K2’s power and throw, allowed us to use fewer boxes to achieve the same dispersion and SPL, so we didn’t need to use more rigging points than were already in place.

 

Toyota Center Manager of Audio and Video, Scott Foulkrod, highlighted how the result is unique to an arena:

It’s really unusual to look up and be able to see clearly across the entire top of the arena. You get a great sense of openness. It really was a nice, clean install.

 

The team’s ownership also wanted a sound system that would enhance the fan experience, and the K2 does exactly that. Configured with two pairs of arrays facing the north and south sides of the arena, and one each facing the longer-throw east and west ends, the 10-degree inter-element flexibility assures virtually seamless coverage over 360 degrees and in the horizontal plane as well.

 

Broussard added:

This feature allowed us to limit the box count per cluster to 12, which significantly helped keep the sightlines clear. A line array in an arena has the potential for serious horizontal overlap between arrays, with a nightmare of phase cancellation between clusters and the possibility of comb filtering. But with the K2, there is minimal horizontal overlap, and the sound is uniform from top to bottom. With this kind of pattern control, we can be very, very precise.

Toyota_Center_arrays Toyota_Center_game

NBA arenas have also become famous for their low-frequency response, yet the Toyota Center setup uses only 18 subs. This is possible, says Broussard, because the K2’s enclosure is so wide-ranging that most of the bass in the system is coming from the speakers; the subs are there to simply extend them, as he explained:

The K1-SB subs reinforce the low end, adding power and punch, but most of the bass is coming from the K2s themselves. The system behaves very much like a touring concert system, yet it still maintains very high STI [Speech Transmission Index] readings.

 

These, says Broussard, range well above average, between 0.58 and 0.72 – “phenomenal,” in his words.

 

Foulkrod said the L-ACOUSTICS K2 succeeds in both roles:

We needed to have very high intelligibility for the PA announcers, so that the fans would really understand every word, and we wanted to be able to create some good thump for music, and this system does both. The sound is clear and powerful but without having to be overbearingly loud. We’re looking forward to a great basketball season and a great-sounding season, too.

 

Toyota Center’s equipment installation list comprised:

  • 72 K2 variable-curvature WST line-source enclosures divided into six clusters of 12 enclosures each
  • 18 K1-SB flyable high-power subs hung in arrays of three behind each cluster
  • Six ARCS WIDE constant-curvature WST line-source enclosures aimed at the court sidelines
  • Four 12XTi high-performance coaxial speakers used as center-court downfills
  • 29 LA8 and two LA4 amplified controllers

 

For more information on Toyota Center, visit www.houstontoyotacenter.com. WJHW and LD Systems can be found online at www.wjhw.com and www.ldsystems.com, respectively.

 

 

Images: Ryan Paulin

Image captions: Toyota Center’s new sound system primarily comprises 72 K2 loudspeakers and 18 K1-SB subs. The Houston Rockets take on the San Antonio Spurs at a home game on November 6 sonically reinforced via L-ACOUSTICS’ K2. The new L-ACOUSTICS system delivers high-impact and intelligible audio to every seat in the house.

MSU Spartans store for success with Banker Wire Mesh

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In 2013, Michigan State University’s football team won every single game played at Spartan Stadium. This year, the players will grab their gear from lockers featuring Banker Wire mesh before walking onto the field that saw so many victories.

 

Colleges and universities increasingly rely on state-of-the-art facilities to recruit athletes. In the past, however, Michigan State football coaches avoided showing recruits their outdated home locker room. Now, after a substantial addition, the Spartans have a locker room to be proud of. The new locker room was included in the addition of a 50,000sqft North End Zone Complex, which was designed by Integrated Design Solutions.

 

The 5,000sqft locker room, called the Rachel Fairman Adams Spartan Locker Room, after the late mother of former MSU and NFL offensive lineman Flozell Adams, leaves no question of the identity of its home team. A Spartans carpet covers its floor, photos of the team decorate its walls, and green accents are interspersed throughout the space. Every detail is tended to – including the lockers themselves, which are embellished with Banker Wire woven wire mesh.

 

Ann Green, senior associate with Integrated Design Solutions and the interior designer of the North End Zone Complex, said:

We looked at several materials to use as embellishments. Banker Wire mesh had an upscale look and was still durable enough to use in an athletic environment.

Banker_MSU-02

Integrated Design Solutions sought an alternative to traditional wood lockers. For that purpose, they turned to Banker Wire, eventually selecting the M44-2 weave. This pattern features groups of four wires that intersect in a plaid-like pattern, adding visual interest to the lockers, and allowing their users to place hangers and other items almost anywhere they choose. In stainless steel, it complements the Spartan green used throughout the facility.

 

The M44-2 weave used at Michigan State University is a lock crimp pattern. Lock crimps are characterized by straight sections of wire connected by a well-defined “bump” at their intersections. Thanks to these strong connection points, lock crimp offers strength essential for a facility used by some of the nation’s best college athletes. Before playing hard on the field, players can grab their gear from hard-working, durable Banker Wire mesh.

 

Adrian La Tona, architectural designer at Integrated Design Solutions, added:

The Banker Wire technical staff was very willing to work with us and find the best possible answers to our questions.

 

The USD$24.5m renovation was completed in August 2014. The project team included general contractor Barton Malow, headquartered in Southfield, MI, USA. Barton Malow’s CEO is a Michigan State graduate.

 

About Spartan Stadium

Spartan Stadium is in its 91st season as home to Michigan State football. Since its opening in 1923, Michigan State has won 70% of its games played in the Stadium. The Spartans hosted their 500th game at Spartan Stadium on Oct. 12, 2013, against Indiana on Homecoming.

Spartan Stadium represents a tribute to Michigan State’s football past and a vote of confidence in its future. In just the past two years, more than USD$34m has been committed to upgrading the 91-year-old facility to continually enhance the gameday atmosphere.

In June 2013, the Michigan State Board of Trustees approved a USD$24.5m project to the north end of Spartan Stadium that opened in August 2014. The new structure features a two-storey, 50,000sqft addition, as well as an entrance plaza, renovated gates, and additional restrooms and concessions. The building includes new locker rooms for teams, coaches and officials, including a 4,500sqft home locker room and a 700sqft home training room, in addition to a 3,600sqft media centre and a 4,000sqft engagement centre for all varsity sports. Former All-America offensive lineman Flozell Adams provided a leadership gift of USD$1.5m for MSU’s new locker room, which is named in honour of his late mother, Rachel Adams.

Prior to the 2012 season, new high-def Panasonic video screens and scoreboards, as well as a new sound system were installed in Spartan Stadium. The new scoreboard/video screen in the south end zone is 5,300sqft, compared to its predecessor that measured just 567sqft (installed in 1998). The top of the new south end zone structure reaches 130 feet. In addition, two new video boards as well as an LED ribbon board were added to the north end zone. The LED ribbon board covers 4,500sqft (450ft long and 10ft high). Combined, the south and north video screens/scoreboards total 13,300sqft. The USD$10m project replaced a 14-year-old scoreboard, message board and audio system. In July 2014, ESPN named Spartan Stadium’s south end zone scoreboard among the Top 10 in the nation at No. 9.

A USD$64m expansion project completed prior to the start of the 2005 football season featured the addition of nearly 3,000 seats, including 24 suites and a 193-seat press box, bringing the current stadium capacity to 75,005. “The Spartan” statue was relocated to the atrium of the new structure. The 200,000sqft addition also houses the MSU Alumni Association, University Development and other units. The Michigan State Board of Trustees approved the major addition and expansion project of Spartan Stadium in September 2003. Barton Malow/Clark served as the construction manager for the Spartan Stadium expansion project, with HNTB providing architectural services.

Following the June 26, 2011, U2 “360º” concert, the entire playing surface in Spartan Stadium had to be replaced. The new playing surface, planted in April 2010 at Graff’s Turf Farms in Fort Morgan, Colorado, is comprised of a blend of four varieties of Kentucky bluegrass. The installation of the new sod, transported to Spartan Stadium in 26 refrigerator trucks, took three days (July 12-15).

Spartan Stadium, which officially opened in 1923 at its current location, featured a natural grass playing surface until artificial turf was installed in 1969. The stadium returned to natural grass for the 2002 season. In 2005, the natural grass playing surface in Spartan Stadium earned Field of the Year honours from the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA).

WRU unveils pitch perfect Millennium Stadium

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The new hybrid pitch at the Millennium Stadium will “transform the playing surface and enhance the worldwide reputation of the home of Welsh rugby”, the WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said this week.

The WRU officially unveiled the new surface in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday (8 November).

Roger Lewis was joined by double Grand Slam winning Welsh international Mike Phillips and the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates for the landmark unveiling of the new pitch.

The DESSO pitch installation, which intertwines grass turf with millions of artificial fibres, aims to strengthen the quality of the playing surface in line with the most advanced sports stadia in the world.

The £3.1 million venture also includes new state-of-the-art ‘plug and play’ facilities for media and a Terraplas covering to protect the surface during non-pitch events, such as rock concerts and motorsports.

The major investment has been fully supported and part-funded by the Welsh Government as part of their strategy to attract major events to Wales.

The pitch will provide the stage for Wales’ four autumn internationals against Australia, Fiji (15 Nov), New Zealand (22 Nov) and South Africa (29 Nov) – 45 weeks before the eyes of the world watch Rugby World Cup 2015 host eight games at the Millennium Stadium.

Roger Lewis said:

The installation of this fantastic new pitch is undoubtedly one of the most important transformations we have instigated since the Stadium opened in 1999. International rugby played at the Millennium Stadium is watched by hundreds of millions of people on television around the world and we must ensure the action takes place on a surface which can help create the best possible exhibition of top class sport. The fans who attend matches will undoubtedly benefit from being able to watch games they know will flow at speed with players running across top quality turf. The need to remove the palletised pitch to host non-sporting events is now confined to history so we have retained true flexibility for the venue as a multi-event stadium. The durability of the hybrid surface opens up exciting possibilities for a range of rugby to be played at the Millennium Stadium. This will undoubtedly enhance our legacy to the nation as both top class and community events can flourish on the surface we have installed. I want to thank the Welsh Government for realising the potential in this project for Wales and supporting the WRU in the project so enthusiastically.

Phillips, the 87 times capped Wales scrum half, has also hailed the new hybrid pitch at the Millennium Stadium as a game-changer for Wales:

Millennium Stadium is the greatest international rugby stadium in the world and with the brand new hybrid pitch there can be no doubt that Wales have the very best playing environment to rival all the other rugby nations. The Desso brand is highly-regarded across the industry, well-known to us players and is the best pitch for the stadium. As we prepare to take on Australia, the new playing surface and retractable roof at the Millennium means we can feel absolutely certain of the conditions underfoot and plan for a faster and more fluid style of play which is guaranteed to be a fantastic spectacle for the fans.

Phillips will join the rest of the squad for a training session on the new pitch this afternoon. He added:

The squad are chomping at the bit to get out on the new pitch and show the fans, the Welsh Rugby Union and Welsh Government how much their continued support means to us. “The four Autumn games are huge for us in terms of World Cup preparation and we’ll be holding nothing back when we face Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa over the coming weeks.

The Deputy Minister for Sport added:

It’s so important that the Millennium Stadium continues to strive to develop and improve in order to compete with the best stadiums in the world. This latest enhancement will be a major boost for the stadium in attracting more events and supporters. We were pleased to back this important investment with £1.7m as part of our commitment to bring major events to Wales and raise our profile around the world. The flexibility provided by this new pitch means Wales can look forward to hosting more international sporting, music and cultural events. I am very much looking forward to seeing it in action this weekend!

The 15-week installation project was carried out by Hewitt Sportsturf, who won the bid to replace the removable palletised pitch with the fixed Desso surface.

Managing Director at Hewitt Sportsturf John Hewitt said:

Hewitt Sportsturf were delighted and honoured to be chosen as the main contractor for the design and construction of the prestigious Millennium Stadium pitch and inner bowl design and construction project. The new pitch design includes state of the art technology and monitoring including high performance pop-up irrigation to enable the entire pitch to be watered at the same time. The pitch also includes hot water undersoil heating and Desso Grassmaster stabilisation. The pitch surround now includes synthetic grass surfaces including complete service channel containment for permanent media access. 

CEO at Desso, Alexander Collot d’Escury, added:

Supplying the pitch for the Millennium Stadium is a prestigious project for our company and hopefully an inspiration to other multi-functional stadiums.  Desso GrassMaster enables stadiums to combine sports and events in the same location, without compromising on the grass pitch. With the Desso GrassMaster pitch at the Millennium Stadium, we hope to contribute to high level, attractive rugby when Wales take on Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa.

Since its official opening in 1999, the home of Welsh rugby has staged 100 Welsh rugby internationals and continues to improve its facilities for the 770,000 paying visitors it attracts, on average, per year.

This season will also see the launch of a revamped Wales Team changing room, a state-of-the-art medical centre, new studio facilities for rights-holding broadcasters and improved internet facilities for the all media.

Rugby supporters can see Wales in action against Australia on the brand new pitch this weekend with tickets available now from £60 via wru.co.uk/tickets. Tickets can be purchased from £10 for children and £20 for adults for Wales versus Fiji on Saturday 15 November while a limited number of tickets are available for games against the All Blacks and the Springboks.

About Millennium Stadium:

Millennium Stadium is wholly owned and operated by the Welsh Rugby Union and is the home of the Wales rugby team. More than 6.25 million rugby supporters have cheered on the national side at 100 home Test matches, including three Grand Slams and four RBS 6 Nations Championship titles.

The venue opened to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup and has since attracted RWC organisers back to Cardiff for the 2007 tournament and for 2015 brings a total of eight games including two of Wales’ pool matches and two quarter finals.

Situated in the city-centre of Cardiff, the venue can hold up to 74,500 spectators and welcomes around 1.3 million visitors per year to Cardiff. The stadium has the UK’s largest fully-retractable roof, which takes just 20 minutes to open or close, at the touch of a button. With the roof closed, the Millennium Stadium is Europe’s largest indoor arena.

The Millennium Stadium has hosted over 350 major sporting and entertainment events within its multi-event arena. On the live music scene, the stadium has staged an impressive line-up of international stars such as Madonna, the Rolling Stones, Take That and U2.

In football, the Millennium Stadium boasts a UEFA 5-Star rating and staged six showpiece FA Cup Finals during the construction of Wembley Stadium. Thereafter the stadium opened London 2012 Olympics Games with the very first event in the women’s football tournament on July 25th, two days ahead of London’s opening ceremony. And during the Games a total of 11 games were played across the men’s and women’s competitions, culminating with the men’s Bronze Medal Final.

Events at the stadium deliver an approximate £130m boost to the local economy and help to sustain more than 2,500 jobs in Wales.

 

Issued on behalf of Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) by Gemma Rowe

Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena deploys the latest POS solution

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Manchester’s Phones 4u Arena (pictured above & below) has completed the final piece of the jigsaw for SMG Europe with the upgrade of payment technology in Europe’s largest indoor arena thanks to the deployment of the latest POS solution from Verteda, AURES and Barclaycard for integrated Chip & PIN and contactless card processing across its food & beverage operations.

 

A trio of payment technology specialists: AURES Technologies, incorporating J2 Retail Systems; its solutions partner Verteda (formerly Agilysys Europe) Ltd; and Barclaycard, have provided venue operator SMG Europe with the first rollouts of a new integrated POS solution.

 

The 21,000-capacity Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, one of the busiest live entertainment venues in the world, is now benefiting from support for integrated Chip & PIN payments and contactless credit and debit card processing across its food & beverage services.

The 21,000-capacity Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, one of the busiest live entertainment venues in the world, is now benefiting from support for integrated Chip & PIN payments and contactless credit and debit card processing across its food & beverage services.

 

Other SMG venues, such as Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena, the 13,000-capacity £60m new-build First Direct Arena in Leeds (pictured below) and Manchester’s The Bridgewater Hall, have also completed rollout of the solution.

First Direct Arena

Impressed by the providers’ pedigree in the stadium and arena sector, all four SMG Europe venues became Verteda clients two years ago. All venues are now seasoned users of both Verteda software and hardware from its partner J2 Retail Systems.

 

Trevor Roberts, Sales Director, Verteda Ltd, said:

The SMG Europe venues use our award-winning Agilysys InfoGenesis™ POS software and Eatec® inventory and procurement software.  Additionally, the Manchester and Newcastle operations equip staff who service corporate boxes with our Normandy mobile POS solution on iTouch devices, integrated with InfoGenesis™.

 

All public concessions at Phones 4u Arena initially accepted cash only, before moving to EPoS with Verteda. This latest move to more sophisticated card processing technology (and to the latest version of InfoGenesis™ to support it) is part of SMG Europe’s evolution of its technology provision.

 

Roberts added:

At Verteda, we’ve observed how the market is changing and we’ve integrated contactless payment into InfoGenesis™ POS to give our users a streamlined solution and distinct business advantage.  Contactless payment offers benefits all round.

 

Tony Sagar, Group Food and Beverage Director for SMG Europe, explained:

I was initially concerned that customers entering PIN numbers would lead to longer queues. I was also wary of card processing costs. However, having visited The NEC (a Verteda client), I was reassured and could see that the commercial case was strong. Customers clearly want to use contactless and traditional cards to pay for their purchases.  We’re confident of the return on our investment of moving to these new payment technologies.

 

Within three months of upgrading, the Phones 4u Arena has started to see an increased spend per head across its public food and beverage operations. With over 1 million visitors a year, food & beverage is a significant contributor to Phones 4u Arena’s profitability. There are operational benefits too, such as faster transaction times and quicker reconciliation of transactions after an event.

 

Sagar added:

The new payment solution is adding to customer service and convenience and we’re having no difficulty keeping queues moving quickly at pinch points such as intervals. Customers have taken to it like a duck to water.

 

Verteda’s Roberts continued:

We work closely with Barclaycard so were able to bring them to the table and introduce them to SMG Europe. Our tight relationship and the integration of our two solutions helped Tony Sagar to make his decision.

 

The two linked software solutions introduce efficiencies in both the front-of-house and back-office. They provide SMG Europe management with real-time business visibility, enabling them to analyse sales and trends both during and after an event. This knowledge leads to more accurate recording of waste and management of stock, all of which adds up to sound gross profits.

 

For the Phones 4u Arena and other SMG Europe venues, Verteda recommended one of the market’s most compact PC-based touchscreen terminals. Previously branded as the J2 225, this is now marketed as the Ninô More than 230 of these terminals are deployed across the four locations.

 

As Trevor Roberts observed, the J2 225 is a space-efficient machine with a small, neat footprint:

When it comes to future-proofing its investment, SMG also liked the fact you can attach a secondary screen to the units in the future for promotional purposes.

 

With its spill-proof and dust-resistant casing, the J2 225 is well suited to a busy food & beverage environment such as the Phones 4u Arena concessions. SMG is finding the machines very reliable and has the added reassurance of the manufacturer’s 3-year warranty.

 

As regards hardware to support card processing, Barclaycard has supplied its Fixed Connect Ingenico iPP350 Series PINpad terminal). This contactless-enabled unit processes transactions of £20 and less in an average transaction time of under 2 seconds.

 

The Barclaycard terminal is linked to SMG’s EPoS system, obviating the need re-key amounts twice through the till and the terminal. This is not only faster, but reduces the likelihood of mis-keying or of fraud. Because no customer cardholder data is stored, processed or transmitted via the till system, the Barclaycard technology limits PCI compliance to the local processes and controls needed for the physical management of the terminal. This gives SMG the confidence of addressing PCI DSS compliance easily.

 

SMG Europe’s Tony Sagar concluded:

We are now getting real revenue and service benefits from having integrated Chip & PIN payments and contactless credit and debit card processing.

 

Inaugural Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event heralded a huge success

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Last week’s inaugural Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event, which was held at the Singapore Sports Hub, has been heralded as a HUGE success by all who attended.

The 50+ industry-leading exhibitors and sponsors were able to network with the 500+ high-ranking attendees, which included a top-level delegation from the Qatar Supreme Committee. Mike Tod RAIA, PMC Design Manager, CH2MHill, working for Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Legacy & Delivery, commented:

Thank you for organising such a well-run and interesting event.

Delegates also benefitted from a comprehensive conference programme, during which they heard invaluable insights from over 60 industry-elite speakers, including Ronnie Hurst, Western Australia Department of Sport & Recreation, who, as Project Director on the new Perth Stadium, detailed the venue’s recently unveiled design and timelines; Philippe Collin Delavaud, CEO, SportsHub Pte Ltd., (former CEO of Stade de France), shared his experiences during the “Revenue Generation: maximising returns for your sporting venue or event”; Brian Morris, CEO, Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust, shared his insights during the Closing Keynote on “Major Sporting Events: challenges, lessons learnt and considerations for upcoming event organisers”; and Yoshihiro Kizawa, Vice President & Executive Director, Japan Sport Council, detailed the centrepiece of Japan’s huge venue development programme, the new National Stadium, which is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Many of the major sports architects present also shared details on their latest stand-out projects, including Populous, who spoke about Philippine Arena and the changing face of arenas; Cox Architecture detailed Sydney Cricket & Sports Grounds’ redevelopment; KSS outlined Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium redevelopment; and 360 Architecture highlighted the new Atlanta Falcons NFL stadium.

Eoin Billings, Partner at Billings Jackson Design, who sat on the “Safety & Security considerations in sporting venues: from design to operation” roundtable, commented post-show:

Thank you for an excellent event and for driving what was a very interesting discussion. It is clear that the design community needs to be much closer to the operational teams…much, much closer…in meeting their needs. This discussion could be the basis for a whole event.

A large number of attendees took advantage of the special behind-the-scenes tour of Singapore’s new National Stadium, which boasts the world’s largest free-spanning domed roof, along with an innovative air-cooling system across all 55,000-seats, as Arup Principal, Mike King, and Arup Associates’ Director, Clive Lewis explained. Other contractors involved in the project, including AECOM, DP Architects, and NCR also shared their insights, along with Tour Sponsors, Dallmeier’s Roland Meier and Vector Foiltec’s Matthew Penrose and Angus Macleod.

Highlighting the success of this year’s show is the fact that a significant number of exhibitors have already confirmed their stands for next year’s Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event and, of all the delegates that completed end-of-show questionnaires, every single one confirmed that they will also be returning for next year’s event, which will once again be held at the Singapore Sports Hub, September 28-30 2015.

Speaking about Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2014, Roger Hooker, Senior Director at Integrated Security Consultants (ISC) – who also sat on the “Safety & Security considerations in sporting venues: from design to operation” roundtable – commented:

Firstly, congratulations on your inaugural event here in Singapore. It was an interesting few days and great to see so many international delegates here – and only yards from our new office! I thought it really proved how there is a healthy thirst to discuss and explore opportunities in Asia, so I’m delighted you are returning next year. Thank you for the very kind invitation to join the panel, and share some of our experience with your delegates. There are lessons to be shared when you step off a plane and set up to trade overseas – and particular lessons to be learnt in Asia.

Myself and all the team, including all the crew at our local event partner, MP International/Pico, would like to thank our sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and attendees for making Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2014 such a great success, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming you all back to Singapore next year, along with many new faces!

To enquire about speaker, exhibitor, attendee or sponsor opportunities, please email: katie@aladltd.co.uk

FYI: A full post-show review, including details on those who took part, will appear in our forthcoming Showcase Special edition of PanStadia & Arena Management, with attendee stats and further information to be published in this Friday’s digest.

‘World first’ witnessed at SportsVMT Summit

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Goodison Park, home of Everton FC, was the location for a ‘world first’ on Monday, as ADI ran a live demo from its HQ in Preston during the SportsVMT Summit.

 

The conference audience of club media managers and sport broadcasters witnessed the first use of Adobe Anywhere. With an ADI editor at Goodison Park and an Adobe editor at the conference, both worked on assets stored on the Adobe Anywhere server at ADI, and both contributed to the clip, including a live interview from pitchside along with selected archived footage. The end result was played out to the big screen in the corner of Goodison and viewed back at the summit, receiving plaudits from all.

 

This revolutionary system means all the assets – from high quality video and graphics to sponsor content – are stored in one place, allowing video journalists and editors to access the files they need. Under the bonnet, there’s a lot of clever stuff to allow transmission of files to various devices, including tablets for sign-off by execs, without losing quality. Users of ADI’s LiveVenue can use Adobe Anywhere simply by buying an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

 

ADI has also developed LiveVenue with the help of technical partners like Nevion and EVS, and the VMT summit was packed with demos and best-practice information from these companies’ working around the globe. IMG Studios is a content partner which is offering clubs a secure and searchable video content archival service on ADI’s servers, both for in-house retrieval and for licensing to an international audience.

 

A discussion panel on commercialising content brought out the complexity of managing the marketing and monetising of video assets but also the potential for achieving fan engagement in and beyond the venue. During the panel session, Mark Ellis, COO at Middlesbrough FC, advised:

LiveVenue impacts a lot of people. Make sure roles and accountabilities are clear from the start.

 

Ellis also told PanStadia & Arena Management that stadiums need to carefully assess the wide ramifications of HD video production in the bowl, especially in relation to UEFA’s floodlighting requirements for the top divisions in Europe.

by Mark Webb

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