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Host City 2019, the largest meeting of sports, business and cultural events, is delighted to welcome the European Broadcasting Union (EBU – the world’s leading alliance of public service media) and the European Stadium & Safety Management Association (ESSMA) as Strategic Partners. Read more

From August 30 to 31, 2016, the European Stadium & Safety Managers Association (ESSMA), which now also incorporates Head Grounds Managers, will bring together pitch experts from all over the world to gather in Paris, France, for two-days of intensive knowledge exchange. This year’s Workshop will focus on specific pitch management topics, including extreme weather conditions, multifunctional pitch management, the right machinery and training centre development.

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The second ESSMA Summit is taking place at the San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, Spain, from 19 to 20 January 2016.

The ESSMA Summit is the must-attend, two-day event organised by ESSMA (European Stadium & Safety Management Association), in partnership with the EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues), ECA (European Club Association) and ICSS (International Centre for Safety & Security).

During the Summit, keynote speakers will discuss many stadium industry topics and provide in-depth technical workshops on trending stadium issues, all of which will be combined with a technical and commercial stadium tour that will bring great insights into the new San Mamés Stadium. In conjunction with this, a Stadium Development Seminar will run on the first day of the event, which will inform attendees about the new stadium and renovation projects in Europe.

Keynote speakers include Sporting Kansas City’s Chris Wyche, Executive Vice President of the Club and General Manager of Sporting Park. He will compare the transatlantic versus European approach about how stadiums deal with Fan Experience and will also explain how much effect a stadium and its fan experience have on a club on match days.

The host club, Athletic Club de Bilbao, will also give a presentation entitled “A unique club with a different stadium”, during which it will talk about how the new stadium has become an icon for the city and how it has managed to transfer the old San Mamés traditions into the new stadium.

Other clubs and stadiums that are confirmed to speak include: FC Copenhagen, Aviva Stadium, Valencia CF, Legia Warsaw, Twickenham Stadium and many more.

This ESSMA Summit offers a fantastic opportunity to broaden your network in the stadium industry and link-up with European colleagues in a unique setting.


Please find all the information here at:




PanStadia & Arena Management magazine is proud to be an Official Media Partner to ESSMA and its members.

The European Stadium & Safety Managers Association (ESSMA) has organised a stadium tour to some of the EURO 2016 host venues in France, from 2-4 June 2015.

The focus of the tour will be on the specific topics relating to the strengths of the different stadiums. Attendees will visit the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux (home to Girondins de Bordeaux), Grand Stade Lyonnais (Olympique Lyonnais), Stade Vélodrome (Olympique Marseille) and Allianz Riviera (OGC Nice).

Tour Schedule

Day 1 – June 2: Visit to Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux – Girondins de Bordeaux

The New Bordeaux Stadium is a new generation multi-function venue dedicated to sports and culture. With a modular capacity of 42,000-seats, it is conceived to welcome a rich and diversified programming, from sports competitions, spectacles, concerts and corporate events. This mixed-use stadium includes a 9,500sqm VIP and media area and will host high-level sporting and cultural events, including 3,000 business seats and another 1,000 seats in VIP lodges.

The project includes retail and hospitality outlets and the commercial operation will be shared with Girondins de Bordeaux stadium. A true centre for social life, the stadium offers the spectator a complete experience centered on a spirit of conviviality and enjoyment for all. The only stadium of its size in the larger south west, it inscribes itself as a structuring element in the region, a unique venue for gatherings, sharing and partaking of emotions for all generations.

The first stone was laid in April 2013 and the stadium will be inaugurated this year. It will host the first match of FC Girondins de Bordeaux on May 23 and the semi-finals of the TOP 14 on June 5 and 6 June. As an official stadium of the EURO 2016 event, it will host 5 competition matches in June 2016.


ESSMA presentation on the Stadium Construction Database highlighting the stadium tour venues by showing the construction phases following UEFA standards:
  • Conception: Stade Bordeaux Atlantique (Girondins de Bordeaux)
  • Definition: Allianz Riviera Nice (OGC Nice)
  • Design: Parc des Princes/Paris Saint-Germain
  • Preparation: Stade Vélodrome (Olympique de Marseille)
  • Realisation: Stades des Lumières (Olympique Lyon)
The Bordeaux stadium visit will be focused on:
  • General facts & figures such as construction & investment, structure and operational management
  • Sustainability of the implementation of the stadium in a green environment in Bordeaux
  • The hospitality approach of the new stadium
  • Integration of rugby games in the stadium, having the finals of the French Rugby taking place 

Bordeaux Training Centre (Château du Haillan)

Château du Haillan is located in the heart of the exceptional site of Plaine du Haillan and is the administrative headquarters of FC Girondins de Bordeaux. As the club’s International Centre, the facility includes 9 football pitches, 2 synthetic football pitches, a training centre and a football school on a total area of 11 hectares. In 1986, the proposed creation of a football centre was adopted by the Municipal Council and FC Girondins de Bordeaux became the supervisor.

The sports facilities are among the best in France: it’s a beautiful setting, surrounded by numerous football pitches and thus a real tool for optimisation. The presence of the administrative and commercial part of the club, as well as other departments, help maintain an excellent club spirit.

Finally, the centre is divided into several areas: for care and weight training, coaching and video sector. The care and training sector is designed in 3 parts. It includes a large weight room with direct access to the land and 30 machines of the last generation. The second room is devoted exclusively to stretching while the third is destined to physiotherapists care. These rooms communicate together and are largely glazed and equipped with a video circuit that can broadcast football images. Everything has been done for the welfare of the players to perfect preparation. Essential in the preparation of games, the club enjoys advanced equipment with a fully equipped screening room and complete digital video management.

Day 2 – June 3: Grand Stade – Olympique Lyonnais

Olympique Lyonnais’s Grand Stade is a multi-purpose stadium with 60,000-seats. It consists of three teers with seats no further than 15m from the pitch, designed by architecture firm Populous. The stadium will not only be used for football and rugby matches, but also for non-sportive events, such as concerts and expositions. The stadium will contain 46,865 regular seats, 6,000 VIP seats, 3,000 for the away team fans and also about 350 for disabled fans. The stadium will have an adaptable concert capacity, catering facilities, concessions, suites, corporate lounges and a new state-of-the-art training centre, for which the aim is to create a virtually carbon neutral building.

The club’s aim is to create financial stability by funding the development itself, so as to gain maximum benefit from the revenue generated.

The main goal of the stadium is to attract more people on a yearly basis. It has to be a venue for big spectacles, which was already shown with a huge light show during the inauguration. Home club Olympique Lyonnais wants to offer the fans a unique and comfortable experience. Therefore the stadium features two big screens, 300 smaller ones and a very strong Wi-Fi connection all around the stadium. One of the most remarkable features for the spectators is the ability to order food without leaving their seats, which allows them not to miss a second of the game.


The brand new Lyon stadium is in final ‘realisation stage’ of the construction process and fully privately invested by Olympique Lyonnais. The tour will mainly focus on the financing & investment approach of the club and how they will operate & manage the stadium as from January 2016. Xavier Pierrot, Stadium Manager and Chef de project Grand Stade, will welcome attendees.

Day 3 – June 4: Stade Vélodrome – Olympique Marseille

The Stade Velodrome has undertaken a three-year renovation that has completely transformed the image of the stadium. The main goal of the newly renovated venue is to increase ticket sales by creating an excellent fan experience. The capacity has been extended to 67,000, with 6,500 VIP seats. Works included the almost complete reconstruction of the two principal stands, minor works on the stands at both ends, and the construction of a roof, increasing capacity with another 7,000 seats. The works began in the spring of 2011 and were completed in the summer of 2014.

Prior to the works, the Stade Vélodrome was completely open and despite the good weather in Marseille, fans were sometimes exposed to harsh wind and rain showers, whereas they are now protected from those elements. Underneath the stadium, a whole new space was created to allow free circulation for TV, players, technicians, etc. Overall facilities have also been upgraded for spectators, media, players and staff. The whole project had a cost of 3,5 million euros.


Cedric Dufoix (Development Director)Vincent Bobin (Stadium Manager) and Martin d’Argenlieu (Directeur General Arema Velodrome) will highlight their challenges in terms of marketing, hospitality, ticketing, safety in combination with the increased ARPU (Average Revenu Per User) in catering & hospitality, and the attraction of new fans across the region.

The visit to Marseille will be focused on:
  • General facts & figures such as construction & investment, structure and operational management
  • The organization of football games during the renovation process of the stadium
  • The actual result in terms of hospitality, marketing, ticketing and progress of the club

Allianz Riviera – OGC Nice

The multi-functional Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice is situated in the plain of the Var, at the heart of the “eco-valley” and a few kilometres from the Nice’s Côte d’Azur international airport. Construction works started August 1st, 2011, and the inauguration happened on September 22nd, 2013.

A real venue for living, participating and sharing, it hosts OGC Nice matches, football but also rugby, lawn tennis and motor sports, concerts, shows and large-scale events. One of the sites welcoming the UEFA EURO 2016, this “connected” stadium accommodates 35,000 to 45,000 spectators, while conforming to the principles of sustainable development. By the summer of 2015, Allianz Riviera will play host to a shopping centre. Offering a wide range of services, the centre will function as real place for living.

Allianz Riviera was born of a Public/Private Partnership (PPP). The public partners are the Town of Nice, the Métropole Côte d’Azur, General Council of the Alpes-Maritimes, Regional Council of Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur and the State. The private partners are VINCI Concessions, La Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, and South Europe Infrastructure Equity (SEIEF).

Connected Stadium


The aim of Allianz Arena in case of sustainable development is clear: to reduce its impact on the environment. Since its design phase and in its exploitation, the stadium is a model of ecological design and construction, a flagship positive-energy building in an eco-neighbourhood, which is part of the Operation of National Interest for the Plain of the Var.

A venue for other sports and shows

With its 131 x 73m pitch, the stadium is also officially approved to host rugby tournaments. It can also serve as a setting for motor sports and lawn tennis, on a surface faster than clay courts. Allianz Riviera is capable of accommodating up to 45,000 spectators for concerts, operas and large-scale shows.


The visit to Nice will be focused on:
  • General facts & figures such as construction & investment, structure and operational management
  • Sustainable implementation of the stadium in the region
  • Safety & security workshop from ESSMA Stadium Partners
  • Fan entertainment actions & tools from OGC Nice in the stadium

The ESSMA board of directors will join the technical visit to the Allianz Riviera stadium, prior to the ESSMA board meeting on June 5th.



Participation fee is €775, including

  • Stadium visits
  • Hotel nights in Lyon (2-3 June) & Marseille (3-4 June)
  • Internal flight Bordeaux – Lyon
  • Transfers: train & bus
  • Lunches

– Dinners are not included in the participation fee
– The event starts June 2nd at 13h00 in Bordeaux and ends June 4th at 16h30 in Nice

Final subscription date is May 26th.

*This event is only open to ESSMA Stadium Members, League/FA Members and Stadium Partners.

Our forthcoming Q2/Summer ’15 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management will include a feature highlighting the EURO 2016 host stadia. PanStadia & Arena Management is the official media partner of ESSMA and its members.

ESSMA Profile on Stadium Manager, Stephan Rehm of the BayArena

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On February 12, 2014, ESSMA staff visited the BayArena in Leverkusen to talk with Stephan Rehm to discuss the responsibilities of being the venue’s Stadium Manager. As PanStadia & Arena Management is the Official Media Partner to ESSMA and its members, we wanted to share this insightful Q&A with you.

Q: Can you describe a perfect ‘day at the office’ on a matchday?
A: The best would be that you have nothing to do on a matchday. It’s a big organisation here at Leverkusen; we have around 1,200 people working here on matchday for the club (e.g. security, other staff, volunteers, catering, etc.), so everything has to be well organised. It’s not a one-man show. At the end there must be one responsible and that’s where I come in. I know that normally everything is done 1 day prior to matchday. On matchday I need to be there to control everything by talking with my colleagues, to get a feeling about the event and also to show them they can rely on me if needed. In the best case, a perfect event/match is when you can watch the game without any interruption. Unfortunately it’s not every time that you have this possibility, but that’s part of the job of course.

Q: Is there one thing that you would do different as stadium manager?
A: Of course there is always room for improvement. I believe the organisation here is quite good and normally we don’t have any problems. However, tonight there was a small incident with pyrotechnics. We find a lot of things before the games thanks to body searches and the things we can’t see, we would expect to be noticed by security. Afterwards, we always find the people responsible thanks to good security and Dallmeier’s CCTV camera system that we’ve had in use since last year. Normally, German law states that we have to pay the fine, but when we find the people responsible, the away team also have to pay a fine to the DFB. This because it’s impossible to find everything the fans are hiding.

Q: What’s the accomplishment you are most proud of?
A: I think ‘proud’ is not the right word. It’s very important that we have a lot of employees and this is the reason why the system here at Leverkusen works well. Most of the people are at the club the whole week and we know each other well. We have our own security staff here and technical workers at the club so everybody is working together and this is crucial.

Q: What are the biggest challenges in the stadium industry?
A: The technological part is a big challenge for sure. We have to think about all the novelties available on the market and choose which investments can be most effective for us. As a club we want to be in the front row concerning technology implementations. That’s why we have to follow-up the market every day to keep track of newest technology. We at Bayer 04 Leverkusen would like to be a trendsetter by giving the good example with new things, like we did well with our new roof, Stadium Vision, and the ice lab for the team. Even NBA-players came here to make use of our infrastructure. We’re really proud that we can offer this setting to our players and these things are really important to us. Our upcoming renewals are the counters, concessions and some other things. Through this we want to provide other clubs with the knowledge we have and this is where ESSMA could help the clubs get in contact with us should they like to know more about our systems.

Q: Would you agree with the statement ‘In future stadiums there is more than just football needed to be profitable’?
A: When I started in 1999, we had a VIP area for 400 people, no meeting rooms, no conference rooms; nothing like that. After our expansion and renovation, we now have space for around 2,500 VIP’s, for conferences, and 12 meeting rooms so we can cater to a wide range of events. This is the way to bring more people to the stadium during the week and to get more profit from your stadium. You don’t need live concerts to be multifunctional. Concentrating on the neighborhood is more important for us than to make little money out of one or two concerts a year. Our focus on the pitch is on football.

Q: What has changed the most in the last five years in stadium management?
A: I especially think about IT, because five years ago there was almost nothing controlled by IT. Five years ago there was no automatic ticketing control, cashless payment system and Wi-Fi in the BayArena. Almost everything changed the last years. IT is good for different kind of reasons, but sometimes the system (internet connection) can be down so you have other problems than five years ago. I think the next five years there will be a lot of changes again, even in two years: everything goes faster and faster.

Q: How do you keep updated with all the latest technologies and best-practices?
A: ESSMA, for example, is one partner where we find new things because there are so many people in the association, so we can hear what they are doing in Ukraine, Portugal or in France for the Euro 2016. We are not in competition with other clubs, except on the pitch of course. It’s important for everyone to understand that we aren’t in competition with the stadium management of other clubs. There are expert groups for IT in Germany and they meet a couple of times a year to discuss all the new things. This is important for everyone to improve everything like the security system. We are also establishing an Expert Group for the head of event management for the entire first and second German league because all this knowledge is really important. It’s important to have safe stadiums. ESSMA could maybe do the same in Europe, so the clubs can compare all different kinds of systems to choose the system that suits them best. For our new chair system (standing vs. seating) we did the same: we went to Stuttgart and Düsseldorf and afterwards we decided to choose the Stuttgart system and adapted it to our facilities. Thanks to ESSMA, clubs can easily get in contact to exchange information about their management. The Turkish market is also a really interesting one because they are in a huge growing phase. I hope we can get some good ideas there. With Wi-Fi, everything is possible, but we won’t abuse it to know everything of our fans, because then they won’t use it. It’s important to make a selection of the information that you can use to improve the fan experience and don’t try to gather everything in your data that is useless. In this case ‘less is more’!

Q: Which skills are the most important as a stadium manager?

A: You need good employees, without them you are lost. So, the team skills are important. But you also need confidence in the policemen, fire brigades, the city: all the actors involved. This is very important to avoid problems during an event. This is one of the reasons why we think our stadium is doing good. It is also important not to forget all of the volunteers: that’s why we organise things for them to show our appreciation for their good work. So in my opinion the most important skills are confidence and good knowledge of your people in the club. Being a good ‘people’ manager can make you a better stadium manager.



Diary date: ESSMA general assembly 3 September

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ESSMA has announced a general assembly which will focus on the financial, administration and members status, followed by future actions and events. ESSMA President John Beattie (pictured) said:

We are looking forward to our first general assembly in quite some time, having all members together and running practical workshops with our members on very tangible issues today in our stadium business.

The general assembly will highlight the French stadium situation, discussing stadium projects with business model, financing, operating and current status.

There will also be several workshops on stadium and safety management, defined by the topics that have been set by ESSMA’s expert group members such as wi-fi, lifecycle management, digital signage, public catering and multifunctional venues. Those workshops will be run by ESSMA board members.

Stadia & Arena Istanbul focuses on industry issues

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The Stadia & Arena 2013 conference completed a successful three days 22-24 May in Istanbul.

Ebru Koksal, Advisor to the President of Galatasaray Sports Club, told the conference how a Turkish Superleague could help Turkish soccer clubs end an over-reliance on TV rights money. Alan Belsoeur, Chairman Stadia Strategic Committee French Football League, identified the same problem in the French League and proposed adoption of best practices in stadium operation to achieve increased attendances and matchday revenues. Agusti Benedito from Barcelona explained the club’s opportunities to develop its arena and stadium in a sustainable manner, a decision made once a century.

The Turkish market for new stadiums and arenas, their finance, design and operation was discussed on day two, including the ownership structure split between government and municipalities and how Turkey is managing its rapid economic growth and bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The event opened with a tour of host venue Ulker Sports Arena, during which designers, suppliers and AEG, the operator, revealed the trade secrets which make the difference between commercial success and failure.

Technical workshops on topics such as revenue maximisation, architecture, pitches and engineering, completed the picture for delegates who visited from as far away as Australia, USA and Nigeria.

The Brazil country focus revealed why the Maracana has taken so long to renovate and how extraordinary the resulting new stadium actually is. Brazilian developers revealed that they are already planning a second wave of stadium building after the FIFA World Cup.

ESSMA members from around Europe, including Turkey, contributed their front-line knowledge of operating stadiums on a day-to-day basis. Disney Institute kept the conference on its toes right up to the last session with interactive sessions to demonstrate its world-leading quality service programme.


Disney Institute shared the principles behind its world-leading customer service.

Disney Institute shared the principles behind its world-leading customer service.


ESSMA appoints new board members

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ESSMA has appointed two new board members, Cenk Cem from the Turkish Football Federation and Kees Klein from Philips.. The appointments follow the departure of board members due to career changes.