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Ashton Gate Stadium redevelopment: Williams Stand demolition begins

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Demolition of the near sixty-year old Williams Stand started this week, as the third and most complex phase begins of Bristol Sport’s GBP£45m rebuild of Ashton Gate Stadium.

Three phases of work are now underway simultaneously at the home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby:

  • Phase 1 – demolition of the Wedlock Stand, replaced with the new 6,000-seater South Stand
  • Phase 2 – complete remodelling of the Dolman Stand, including complete new lower seating tier and Dolman Conference & Exhibition Hall
  • Phase 3 – demolition of Williams Stand and construction of new 11,000-seater, two-tier, West Stand

Bristol Sport Chairman, Martin Griffiths, said:

The redevelopment of Ashton Gate has been a complex project, and just to get to this stage, has been very challenging. As we now enter the final weeks of the construction of the South Stand and the complete refurbishment and modification of the Dolman Stand, demolition of the Williams begins.

We thank supporters for their patience and really look forward to welcoming everyone back to the new Ashton Gate Stadium at the start of the football and rugby seasons. Given there has been so much change it is going to take a short while for all to get used to their new surroundings, but it remains an exciting time both on and off the pitch.

Mike Henderson, project manager for Barr Construction admitted it is the busiest part of the build:

We’ve started on the main demolition of the old Williams Stand by taking away the concrete front deck using a hydraulic breaker. Starting at the Atyeo end, we will work along the old Williams Stand and work towards the new South Stand.

Once that’s completed we will bring in a large ninety-tonne demolition machine, which will remove the roof structure and basically take the stand down piece-by-piece to the ground.

All the external buildings around the old Williams have now been removed, including the Megastore and Hire Rite building. We will need all of that space to construct this new two-tier stand, which is far bigger than anything else in the stadium. I think everyone will be quite surprised by the actual size of it.

Fans will be greeted with the new South and Dolman Stands come the start of this 2015/16 season. The Williams Stand will be completely removed, with new foundations for the West Stand being laid ready for overall completion in July 2016.

Once finished, Ashton Gate Stadium will become the largest conference and events venue in the south-west.


Images courtesy: JMPUK / Rogan Thomson 


Our latest Q2/Summer ’15 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine includes an in-depth Q&A with Bristol Sport’s Chief Stadium Operations Officer, Mark Kelly, on the redevelopment of Ashton Gate Stadium and the fans first initiatives that will be employed in the new venue.


Bristol Sport innovates in hospitality with award-winning technology acquisition

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Bristol Sport has awarded Verteda Ltd a wide-ranging contract for a new fully automated hospitality solution as part of its rebuild of Ashton Gate Stadium, which is home to Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby. Following a hugely successful season, which saw City promoted to the Championship and Bristol Rugby finish top of its Championship in regular season, this is Ashton Gate’s first fully integrated automated solution specifically designed to meet all hospitality requirements for both clubs.

Bristol Sport manages the commercial interests of its group of sporting clubs, working across rugby; football; basketball and motor racing in Bristol, and aims to replicate the successful approach adopted in other cities such as Barcelona to benefit sports fans.

Frazer Halliday, Chief Technology Officer at Bristol Sport, the company managing the £45m rebuild, said:

Previously, the approach was mostly manual and outsourced, which could obviously have an impact on speed, accuracy and customer service. However, the new stadium released investments to revamp that approach; implementing an automated solution to improve service to fans; to streamline operations; build revenues and manage back-of-house operations.

Halliday added that the stadium will gain far greater control of its operations in real-time, from stock control to workforce management, with faster transactions at the front-end, as he explained:

We can also serve fans better through innovations like the Qjacker app.

Verteda’s integrated solution with Bristol Sport includes:

  • InfoGenesis™ POS software from Agilysys, Inc. for Food & Beverage and Retail operations: Greater accuracy, improved customer service, faster transactions and customer throughput
  • Qjacker – Verteda’s mobile ordering and queue-busting solution means fans can pre-order in advance or from their seat, then quickly collect fulfilled orders from dedicated lanes in the stadium
  • VSS – the Verteda Stock Solution for dynamic real-time stock monitoring and management through InfoGenesis POS, supporting venues, food concessions and bars across the stadium
  • Contactless payment capabilities integrated with POS – improving speed of service and reducing cash held onsite, the stadium aims to achieve 30% of all transactions via contactless
  • WMx – Verteda’s workforce management solution to ensure the right staff are targeted in the right locations at the right time, easing scheduling and management
  • Ecommerce for Retail solution – a cost-effective platform powered by the Magento content management system to improve customer service and drive increased sales, linked to the Retail stock system for inventory to provide a holistic view of the business
  • Events500 – intuitive Conference & Events Management system for meticulous planning and flawless execution, supporting more efficient, guest-focused and profitable events at the stadium

Bristol Sports’ Halliday advised:

It was an extremely rigorous selection process, with the contract awarded to Verteda based on the quality and performance of its technology, and the company’s huge experience in this sector. We wanted to move to the next step in food and beverages and retail, with a more integrated and automated approach, and we had confidence Verteda would deliver.

Work is underway to transform Ashton Gate into a state-of-the-art 27,000-capacity stadium, which will also see it become the largest conference and events facility in the south-west of England. The 86-year-old Wedlock Stand has been demolished and replaced with a new 6,000-seater South Stand, housing new conference facilities, administration offices, sports bar, café and shops. The Dolman Stand has been completely remodelled with a roof extension and lower-tier replacement. Both stands will be open in time for the 2015-16 season. The third and final phase of the project sees the demolition of the Williams Stand, which will be replaced with a two-tier 11,000-seater stand, which includes a dining hospitality area capable of seating almost a thousand people, 18 corporate boxes and a media centre.

Following an outstanding season, Bristol City’s Manager, Steve Cotterill, was named the League Managers’ Association League One Manager of the Year in May, recognising his contribution to a double-winning season: the Sky Bet League One title and a record-breaking third Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Trevor Roberts, Sales Director, Verteda Ltd, said:

We have proven our abilities to deliver stadia-centric solutions, and are thrilled to bring those solutions to Bristol Sport. We’ve delivered more than 50 similar stadium projects in the last few years, which meant Bristol Sport could talk to our customers across the UK and gain insights into the benefits we deliver with integrated solutions.

This solution, he says, will see Bristol Sport and its group of sporting clubs achieve a raft of benefits, “including the complete removal of manual processes in key areas such as cash handling while seeing new opportunities for ordering and service, plus new operational insights for retail operations and improved workforce allocation across permanent, casual and temporary staff.”


Our forthcoming Q2/Summer ’15 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management includes an in-depth Q&A with Bristol Sport’s Chief Stadium Operations Officer, Mark Kelly, in which he speaks about the stadium rebuild and the fans first initiatives that will be employed in the new venue.