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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.

Ashton Gate Rebuild: Dolman roof lifted into place

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The Ashton Gate rebuild has today taken a big stride forward with the Dolman Stand roof truss successfully lifted into place.

Weighing 75 tonnes, the roof extension was built at ground level over the past few weeks before two large cranes and cherry pickers were used to lift it into place.

Bristol Sport Chairman, Martin Griffiths, said:

It’s been a big week for the stadium. Last Wednesday we saw the gap close in the South Stand and seating being fitted, now the lift of the Dolman roof truss. It was quite an incredible feat of engineering to see it slot seamlessly into place.

Fans coming to this weekend’s games at Ashton Gate will really start to get a sense of what this stadium is going to become.

The lifting of the roof truss was the most complicated part of the GBP£45m rebuild of Bristol City and Bristol Rugby’s ground so far.

Mike Henderson, Operations Manager for Barr Construction said:

Today has been a landmark event. The design has had to take in a lot of difficult parameters. From working with the existing Dolman roof to the new South Stand, we’ve had to work to tight tolerances of 10mm at each end of the truss. When you consider that it is 106 metres long and weighs 75 tonnes it’s not an easy piece of steel to slot in to place, but we are delighted to see that it has today.

Phase One consisted of the demolition and rebuild of the South Stand with Phase Two seeing the Dolman Stand remodelled to include an extended roof and new lower tier. Both phases will be complete in time for the start of the new 2015/16 season.

Phase Three will start this summer, and will see the Williams Stand demolished and replaced with a new two-tier stand that will hold 11,000 people.

Image: Panoramic general view as the huge steel truss that forms the Dolman Stand Roof Extension is hoisted into place as part of redevelopment works at Ashton Gate. Photo credit: Rogan Thomson/JMP – Mobile: 07966 386802 – 29/04/2015 – SPORT – Bristol, England – Ashton Gate Stadium.

For all the latest news on the Ashton Gate rebuild visit the Bristol Sport website.

You can also watch a video of Bristol Sport’s Chief Communications Officer, Lisa Knights, speaking to Bristol Sport Chairman, Martin Griffiths and Mike Henderson of Barr Construction, as they look around the new South Stand. Click here

University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium taking shape

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The University of Cincinnati (UC) athletic director, Mike Bohn, and coach, Tommy Tuberville, unveiled the newly renovated Nippert Stadium on April 23 to the media.

The stadium’s USD$86m renovation and expansion will increase seating from 35,000 to 40,000.

As Bill Koch reported on the team’s website (

It includes a structure on the west side that stretches for almost 130 yards and rises five storeys above the stadium concourse. It contains four levels: a press and operations suite with seating for 100 reporters, a suite level, patio suites level and scholarship club seats level.

Koch continued:

UC will go from having almost no premium seating options to the addition of 1,100 scholarship club suites and more than 50 indoor and outdoor suites of varying sizes. In addition, the concourses on both sides of the stadium have been widened and furnished with new restrooms and concession facilities.

Turner Construction is leading the build and have impressed Tuberville with their professionalism and work ethic, as he commented:

They’ve put together what’s going to be, and will be for a long time, the best on-campus and prettiest on-campus stadium that you’ll see. And I’ve been in most of them around the country.

Nippert Stadium is set to reopen on September 5.

Image: Aerial perspective of Nippert Stadium, courtesy: FRCH Design Worldwide.

Jason Hensel

Jason Hensel is IAVM’s Senior Editor.

Construction has started at the AUD$122m (USD$94m) Carrara Sports Precinct that is being built for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ (GC2018), taking place in Queensland, Australia.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones, joined Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate, to mark the beginning of the project’s initial phase, the redevelopment of Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

Palaszczuk said:

The Centre is a major piece of infrastructure for the Gold Coast and will accommodate a wide range of court sports, including basketball, netball, indoor soccer and badminton… [it] is a major piece of infrastructure for the Gold Coast and will accommodate a wide range of court sports.

As a GC2018 host venue, the project is expected to generate 400 jobs during its design and construction phases.

Jones advised:

The Commonwealth Games infrastructure programme is an important investment in the region that will not only generate 1,000 jobs during design and construction, but also ensure the local community, local business and local industry reap long-term benefits from the event.

Ahead of GC2018, AUD$320m (USD$245m) will be invested in venue infrastructure, including AUD$154m (USD$118m) in Commonwealth Government funding.

Carrara Sports Precinct: Redevelopment

Revitalisation of the Carrara Sports Precinct will provide new and upgraded facilities for a range of elite and community sporting groups on the Gold Coast. The vision for the precinct is to create a vibrant and engaging venue space that will attract community and sporting events long after the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ (GC2018).

A range of enhancements will occur throughout the Carrara Sports Precinct that are designed to create new world-class sporting facilities that will serve a range of community sporting needs and attract major sporting competitions to the precinct in the future. All permanent enhancements will be delivered by early 2017 in preparation for when it will become the signature venue precinct for GC2018, hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Athletics, Badminton, Weightlifting and Wrestling competitions.

The AUD$121m Carrara Sports Precinct redevelopment will cater for elite and community sporting groups, as well as provide a range of amenities for public use. The redevelopment will be delivered as four key projects including the new Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, upgrades to the Carrara Indoor Stadium, upgrades to Carrara Outdoor Stadium, and general precinct upgrades such as improvements to existing sports fields.

The redevelopment will be delivered as four key projects throughout the precinct and construction will take place from early 2015 to early 2017.

Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre

This new multi-purpose community facility will comprise of two mixed-use indoor halls connected by a pedestrian plaza. The new centre will support a range of sport and community facilities including function rooms, change rooms and administrative facilities. The mixed-use sports courts are designed to accommodate a wide range of court sports including basketball, netball, indoor soccer and badminton.

The Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre will provide world-class competition and training facilities on the Gold Coast capable of hosting international sporting events such as the badminton and wrestling competition during GC2018.

Carrara Stadium upgrade

Carrara Stadium is a world-class facility and will benefit from permanent lighting and technology upgrades ahead of GC2018. Construction is scheduled to commence in late 2016.

Carrara Indoor Stadium upgrade

Refurbishment of this multi-purpose indoor venue will extend community usage of this facility for the next 20 years and beyond. The project will deliver upgraded spectator seating, technology upgrades, new internal and external cladding, and a new roof. Construction is scheduled to take place from late 2016 to early 2017.

Southern Sports Fields

Three new multi-sports fields will accommodate a range of community uses including soccer, football and school carnivals. Other facilities will include outdoor lighting, car parking, access roads, public amenities and a shared clubhouse facility. Construction is scheduled to take place from early 2015 to late 2015.


Register your interest as a supplier for this project


Architect: BVN Donovan Hill

Managing Contractor: Hansen Yuncken

Deliverables: New indoor sport facility and and upgrades to facilities throughout the precinct

Status: Construction phase

GC2018 sports: Opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, badminton, wrestling and weightlifting

Location: Carrara


Wasps announce planned improvements at the Ricoh Arena

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Wasps have announced a series of planned upgrades at the Ricoh Arena over the coming months, which will improve access, customer experience and increase footfall.

Located within two hours of 75% of the country, access to Wasps’ new home will be further enhanced in June 2015 when a railway station opens on-site at the Ricoh Arena with direct links to Coventry and Nuneaton railway stations.

The Club have also announced that Hilton Worldwide have agreed terms for the conversion of the Ricoh Arena Hotel into a DoubleTree by Hilton. The Franchisee agreement will be signed upon finalisation of the refurbishment plan and Hilton Worldwide Board Approval. It is the intention that work will start on the conversion in the second quarter of this year with the new hotel brand launching in early Autumn.

Further improvements will include upgrades to existing bars and restaurants. When finished, the Ricoh Arena will offer five great bars, three restaurants on-site and over 20 other food and beverage outlets to customers visiting the Arena.

As well as being home to Wasps, the Ricoh Arena is one of the UK’s leading multi-purpose venues for business, sport and entertainment. In addition to the 121-bedroom hotel onsite, the Arena also houses a Grosvenor Casino, 20,000sqm of flexible event space, 80 versatile suites, two restaurants, a Costa Coffee Lounge and the Jaguar Exhibition Hall, which can accommodate up to 12,000 for events, concerts and sporting occasions such as Davis Cup tennis, alongside the 32,600 seater stadium for rugby and football, which increases to a capacity of 40,500 for concerts within the stadium bowl.

David Armstrong, Group Chief Executive Officer of Wasps, said:

We are thrilled that another global brand has recognised the powerful potential created by the combination of the Wasps brand and the award-winning venue of the Ricoh Arena – one of the UK’s leading conference, exhibition and entertainment centres. Working with a high profile hotel partner is a key element in Wasps and the Ricoh Arena’s strategy to position itself as the UK’s leading multi-purpose venue.
Following Wasps’ transformational move to Coventry, we have not only seen the club’s match day attendances triple and hospitality increase by over 500%, but also ACL’s Conference & Exhibition business turnover increase by 50% in the first four months since Wasps purchased the Ricoh Arena. We are proud to have established a wide range of blue-chip partnerships since our move, including partnerships with two Fortune 500 companies in our Main Club Partner Land Rover and official partner EMC, with more exciting additions to our partner family to be announced in due course.

About the Ricoh Arena:

The Ricoh Arena is an award-winning venue which has a mix of state-of the-art conference, banqueting, exhibition, hotel, music and sports facilities. Visited by over 1 million people each year, it is a firm favourite in the UK for music promoters as well as business and sports event organisers. The facilities include:

  • 32,609 seater stadium
  • 121-bedroom hotel
  • One of the UK’s largest casinos
  • 20,000sqm of flexible event space across 80 rooms which can conference up to 7,000 delegates
  • Leading concert venue of 40,500 capacity – hosting concerts such as Bon Jovi, Oasis, Bruce Springsteen and Take That
  • 6,000 sqm Jaguar Exhibition Hall – accommodating 12,000 standing and hosting conferences such as Costa Coffee and indoor concerts such as Florence and the Machine, The Enemy, Britain’s Got Talent, Radio 1 Extra and the UKs biggest gaming festival – Multiplay
  • 650 retractable seated auditorium
  • Two on-site restaurants
  • 20+ retail, food and beverage outlets
  • 2,000 car parking spaces


London Mayor announces VINCI appointed as operator for former Olympic Stadium

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VINCI Stadium, operator of a network of venues including Stade de France, has been appointed to manage the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, UK.

The venue is currently being transformed into a multi-use stadium, which will host five Rugby World Cup 2015 matches before fully re-opening in 2016, when it will become ‘home’ to West Ham United FC and the national competition venue for UK Athletics.

VINCI Stadium, a subsidiary of VINCI Concessions, will be responsible for all aspects of running and managing the Stadium on day to day basis as well as bringing in new events and activity. They will work with the E20 Stadium Partnership (a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council) to ensure the Stadium is ready to host West Ham United and UK Athletics in 2016, as well as Rugby World Cup 2015, and the IAAF 2017 World Athletics Championships and 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships.

Alongside managing the Stadium, VINCI Stadium will also manage the London Marathon Charitable Trust Community Track and events on the south park lawn, below the ArcelorMittal Orbit. They will work with the E20 Stadium Partnership to promote sport and healthy living in the local area and deliver mass participation events such as the Great Newham London Run.

VINCI Stadium currently operates a network of stadia in France including the Stade de France in Paris, the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, the New Bordeaux Stadium and the MMArena in Le Mans. The contract to operate the former Olympic Stadium is for 25 years.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

This is more good news in our goal to deliver a long-lasting legacy from London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. VINCI is a world-class operator and set to be a key partner in the creation of a spectacular stadium offering a dynamic range of sport and attractions for Londoners to enjoy.

David Goldstone, Chief Executive London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), said:

This marks another step forward in the long-term future of the Stadium. VINCI have a great track record and a wealth of experience in managing world-class venues. We are looking forward to working with them and delivering a multi-use stadium capable of hosting a range of different sports and events, including this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said:

We look forward to working with VINCI to ensure the Stadium is a world class visitor attraction that delivers job opportunities, community benefits and increased sports participation that transforms the lives of those living in London’s East End, but especially the residents of Newham.

Pierre Coppey, Chief Operating Officer of VINCI said:

The E20 Stadium LLP awarded the contract to run the former Olympic Stadium to VINCI Stadium in recognition of VINCI’s expertise and the business model it has developed for the operation of multi-purpose arenas, including the Stade de France. In addition to broadening the range of events offered at this amazing venue, VINCI Stadium will work with the E20 Stadium Partnership to develop and revitalise East London for the benefit of citizens.

West Ham United Vice-Chairman, Karren Brady, said:

Managing the basic day-to-day operations at a Premier League football stadium is a unique challenge, so we will be passing on our extensive experience and expertise to VINCI to ensure they provide the same high levels of service our supporters have become accustomed to at the Boleyn Ground.
While VINCI will manage the functional aspects of the matchday operation, we will still be overseeing the overall supporter experience to make sure watching West Ham remains one of the very best days out in the Premier League.

Ed Warner, Chairman of UK Athletics and London 2017 commented:

The Olympic Stadium will be the new home of British Athletics, staging a wide range of events from mass participation runs to elite track and field meetings. We look forward to working closely with VINCI to deliver all of these events, and in particular the twin World Championships in the summer of 2017, in London’s most iconic sporting venue.

The Stadium is owned by the E20 Stadium LLP, set up between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council, who have shared responsibility for the Stadium’s future as an all-round multi-use venue, delivering a lasting sporting, cultural and commercial legacy.

London's former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is currently being transformed into a multi-use stadium. It will host five matches of the Rugby World Cup 2015 before fully re-opening in 2016 when it will become 'home' to West Ham United FC and the national competition venue for UK Athletics.

London’s former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is currently being transformed into a multi-use stadium. It will host five matches of the Rugby World Cup 2015 before fully re-opening in 2016 when it will become ‘home’ to West Ham United FC and the national competition venue for UK Athletics.

Stadium Facts & Figures

  • A new floodlit 400m 6-lane (8 on the straights) community athletics track, which is being funded by the London Marathon Charitable Trust, will be built next to the main Stadium. This will be used by the local community, schools and will host a resident athletics club, the Newham & Essex Beagles. The facilities will also be used as a warm-up track for elite events being staged in the within the Stadium.
  • The Stadium will meet UEFA Category 4 classification and will be a fully compliant IAAF Category 1 athletics facility.
  • While building work is taking place, the running track is being protected by a 750mm deep mat of recycled concrete, which is designed to support all the transformation activities.
  • 5,500 tonnes of steel and 6km of cabling are being used in the transformation of the Stadium.
  • 5,000 people will have worked 2 million hours once the Stadium transformation is complete. The peak workforce is expected to reach 500 workers on site with over 30 apprentices also being recruited from the local area.
  • The Stadium’s 14 floodlight panels were removed in preparation for the new roof.
  • Work on the installation of the new roof is well advanced.

The new Stadium will include:

  • 21,000 retractable seats to allow closer pitch side football views while retaining an international class running track.
  • 428 wheelchair user accessible viewing spaces and 529 easy access seats in athletics mode (these are also the maximum numbers for concert mode which is dependent on stage layouts).
  • 253 wheelchair user accessible viewing spaces – more than double that available at West Ham’s current Boleyn Ground – and 540 easy access seats in football mode.
  • The Stadium was built in the shape of an ellipse with a long axis of 315m and a short axis of 256m, the perimeter is 860m.
  • The new Stadium capacity is 54,000 seats in football (soccer) mode, 60,000 in athletics and 80,000 for concerts.
  • The new football pitch will be 105m x 68m, which is equivalent to Wembley Stadium, the Emirates, the Etihad and Old Trafford.

Time-lapse photos of the Stadium construction works can be found online at:

Images courtesy: London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).

Winners of RDS Arena redevelopment competition announced

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A consortium of architecture firms, Dublin-based Newenham Mulligan Architects and London-based Grimshaw Architects, has won the international design competition for the multimillion-euro redevelopment of the RDS Arena.

The RDS, with Leinster Rugby, will work to complete the design of a world-class RDS Arena that will host professional rugby matches, equestrian sports, music concerts and other appropriate sporting opportunities as they arise.

Managed by the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI), the competition saw five designs anonymously shortlisted, with the winner chosen by a five person expert jury.

Speaking about the winning design, Michael Duffy, Chief Executive of the RDS said:

The jury was unanimous in their selection of the Newenham Mulligan/Grimshaw entry. Their winning concept represents an exciting design response to a complex brief. Entries had to accommodate professional rugby, world-class equestrianism and music concerts, in an already very busy events venue. These three elements were exceptionally well incorporated by the winning consortium who stood out for their understanding of the multi-faceted nature of the development and their vision for the RDS Arena.

Focusing on funding for the redevelopment, Duffy said:

Having secured our design team, the RDS’ focus is now on securing the necessary funding for this development. We have budgeted for an overall capital investment of at least €20m for the redevelopment. A number of potential funding streams are currently being explored, including naming rights.

Leinster Rugby will continue to play their home games as normal during the redevelopment of the RDS Arena, which is expected to begin in 2016.

Welcoming the announcement, Mick Dawson, Chief Executive, Leinster Rugby said:

This is a very exciting time for Leinster Rugby. We continue to make strides on the pitch with a home Champions Cup Quarter-Final against Bath to prepare for and we are naturally delighted to be making strides off the pitch and moving to the next stage of this project. Leinster Rugby has a loyal supporter base and the redeveloped capacity of 25,000 in a purpose-built venue will provide greater opportunities for our supporters and commercial operations.

Gate revenue is a significant feature of our current business model, and we are sure that this redevelopment will help with this, as well as allowing us to explore additional commercial revenue streams. At the moment we have a section of terrace for supporters and though the final plans are not yet complete, we hope to have a terraced section in the new stadium to accommodate people who prefer this. Though the majority of supporters will be seated.

Commenting on the significance for the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid, Dawson added:

A newly developed RDS Arena certainly has the potential to significantly add to the World Cup bid, and we hope to speak to the IRFU in due course.

Images courtesy: RDS/Leinster Rugby

Images courtesy: RDS/Leinster Rugby

Northview Rugbyside-onimage

Transformation of London Olympic Stadium continues

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The former Olympic Stadium took a huge step towards becoming the new home of West Ham United FC, as the first roof panel was lifted into place. When finished, it will be the longest cantilevered roof in the world; 45,000sqm in size, and 84m at its deepest point.

In order to preserve some of the Olympic Stadium’s identity, the iconic triangular lighting towers that used to stand over the old roof have been inverted and will now hang underneath the new larger roof.

Populous Principal Architect, Mark Craine, described how the roof has also been designed to improve acoustics and heighten the spectator experience:

This new roof design will create a much more focused noise and atmosphere in the seating bowl because it’s a solid roof. What this means is that it will focus and reflect all of the noise between the tier and the roof to really accentuate the crowd noise, particularly from the upper tier and project it forward towards the pitch and field of play.

The noise that will be created should be quite dramatic. We always intended the seating bowl to be a very intimate space, and it was for the Olympics, even with a fabric roof design. But now that the rear part of the roof is designed as a solid surface the noise will be accentuated far more than it previously was.

Populous’ first-team trio of Mark Noble, Andy Carroll and Adrian, recently visited the new Stadium site to see the transformation work for themselves, and they were hugely impressed by what they saw. Noble said:

To see the roof, the size that it’s going to be – I’m told it’s going to be the biggest in the world by square footage – it’s quite incredible. It’s going to be amazing when it’s done.

I’ve been here every step of the way and it looks incredible to see the work that’s being done. It’s an amazing Stadium and it’s only two years away, so it’s something to look forward to. The boys are buzzing about it.

Work on the stadium will be completed in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with West Ham moving into their new home in 2016.

Original story reported on

The Stadium Design

The Club will work closely with the E20 partnership on the developments that will see the Olympic Stadium upgraded to a 54,000 all-seater UEFA category 4 soccer stadium – the highest category of football stadium possible in the world.

Developments will include the installation of an innovative retractable seating solution on all four sides of the ground bringing fans closer to the action and the atmospheric, transparent roof that, at 84m, will become the largest-spanning tensile roof in the world.

The ambitious proposals also include first-class hospitality suites, the relocation inside the turnstile line of key facilities such as the concessions and toilets (as at other traditional football stadia), landscaping and a distinctive new building that is set to become the Hammers’ exclusive Ticket Office and flagship Club Store. The presence of these buildings will ensure that supporters continue to enjoy their direct relationship with the Club in new and enhanced facilities in the surrounds of the stunning Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Images courtesy: West Ham United FC




Permission granted for Páirc Uí Chaoimh redevelopment work

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In the Republic of Ireland, Cork GAA have been granted planning permission for the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the development of a centre of excellence by An Bórd Pleanála, it has been confirmed by the county board.


The redevelopment of the stadium has been desired by the county board for years and the granting of planning permission was the final hurdle, with work expected to begin in February 2015. The €70m project is expected to create up to 400 jobs.


Cork GAA Chairman Bob Ryan released the following statement on Monday:

Cork County Board is delighted with An Bórd Pleanála’s decision and the completion of the appeals process. This is a really welcome decision for all those with an interest in Gaelic Games and sport. The redevelopment of Pairc Ui Chaoimh will provide top class facilities and meet present day expectations of players and spectators. It will ensure that Cork has a proper home to showcase Gaelic games and an infrastructure to develop young players into the future.

Today’s decision is also a very important moment for Cork as it allows us to progress a project that holds out so many economic, recreational and community positives for the city and county. This is a €70 million project that will create some 400 direct and indirect construction jobs. The new development will also address a deficit in Cork’s business and tourism infrastructure and create an ongoing economic dividend for Cork.

It should be remembered that a major fixture or public event at at Páirc Uí Chaoimh converts into tangible benefits for businesses in Cork, particularly for those in the hospitality sector.

Our aim is to commence the construction phase from February next, in consultation with our neighbours with whom we want to work closely in the years ahead. We look forward to working with them to ensure the stadium’s operations work smoothly and can be a resource for the local community.


For further information go to:

Image caption & credit: 6 July 2014; A general view of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork. Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final, Cork v Kerry, Páirc Ui Chaoimh, Cork. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE


Leading-edge audio system for Bialystok’s world-class stadium

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Białystok City Stadium is located in the largest city in Northeastern Poland and the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship. The stadium has undergone major redevelopment and substantial new construction and now meets the highest world standards for modern sports facilities. The new 360 degree grandstand boasts a capacity of 22,400 and the venue also incorporates conference rooms, a VIP room, a restaurant area and a shop for fans of the local football team.


The sound system was designed by Tommex Żebrowscy Sp. J. and installed by Zeto S.A. The system is based on Community loudspeakers and Dynacord electronics. Białystok-based integrator Zeto S.A. completed the installation in time for the opening of the modernised venue, which took place in July 2014. Zeto’s Zbigniew Kaczmarczyk was project manager for the installation.


The main system is housed in the commentary room and linked to four separate amplifier rooms. The audio signal is transmitted over the stadium’s network using the DANTE protocol and is triple redundant, with two fiber rings and a turbo function ring. It is the largest system based on the DANTE protocol operating in any stadium in Poland.


The system uses a Dynacord CMS 2200-3 audio mixer, 16 x 16 DSP equipped digital control matrix and a DPM 8016 digital matrix manager. The audio matrix is 32 × 32 and handled by Dynacord’s P 64 digital audio matrix units. By using the IRIS-Net network, each element of the system is continuously monitored and all operations are controlled via a Dell all-in-one touch-screen PC.


A DPC 8015 microphone, located on the Events Security Commander desk, has full priority over other audio signals, enabling the effective communication of voice messages in the event of non-standard events.


The main loudspeaker system comprises forty-eight Community R2-474’s and three R2-52’s. The combination provides the dispersion patterns required for complete coverage of the stadium’s 360-degree grandstand. In addition, thirty-eight R.25-94’s and forty-one R.5-99’s provide audio for the stadium’s internal promenades and public areas around the building.


Twenty Dynacord DSA 8410 4-channel amplifiers provide a total of 80kW to power the Community loudspeaker systems.


Marcin Zimny of Tommex commented:

Visitors to Białystok City Stadium will not only enjoy their sports with great audio quality, but they can also be assured that their safety is our primary concern with reliability being a fundamental consideration in the design and every component of the system.

Image credits: Michal Janucik

Image credits: Michal Janucik

USD$120m BMO Field renovation officially underway

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Over the next two years, BMO Field will be getting a major upgrade that not only offers Toronto FC and its fans one of the top stadiums in Major League Soccer (MLS), but also gives the seven-year old facility the ability to host additional events outside of soccer. The renovation project began at the end of September and was marked with a ceremonial groundbreaking event featuring MLSE ownership and management, City of Toronto officials and players from Toronto FC.

Larry Tanebaum, MLSE Chairman, said:

Renovating BMO Field to provide a world-class stadium experience for Toronto FC and its fans has been a top priority for MLSE over the past year and we’re very happy to see it officially underway. We’re very grateful to our many partners, including the City of Toronto and other levels of government for their support as we look to build on our city’s standing as one of the top sports and entertainment markets in the world. This new BMO Field will provide us with a stadium that can host other major sporting events, including the Pan Am Games in 2015, as well as help us to attract other top events in the future.

The BMO Field renovations will be implemented in phases over the next two years. The first phase, beginning now and finishing in May 2015, will see the stadium expanded to a seating capacity of 30,000 with 8,400 new seats in the East grandstands, additional washrooms and concession stands. It will also include new suites, private clubs and the expansion of the Rogers Club, as well as a new concourse on the second level connecting the stadium.

The first phase of renovations will also feature a new larger HD video board to replace the existing video board in the North end. Plans for the renovated BMO Field will also include temporary seating for a total capacity of 40,000.

The second phase of renovations, taking place from September 2015 to May 2016, will see the addition of a full-size canopy covering all seats with the exception of the North grandstand and a new sound and lighting system.

A potential third phase has been factored in, with completion for May 2017, that would enable BMO Field to accommodate a CFL field if required.

Toronto’s Deputy Mayor, Norm Kelly, commented:

The BMO Field renovation project is a great example of what can be accomplished when we work together with a strong community partner like MLSE. The improved stadium will become an incredible sport destination that will be enjoyed by fans from across Toronto and beyond.

Originally opened in April 2007, BMO Field is home to Toronto FC and in 2008 hosted the MLS All Star Game. In 2010, the stadium became the first venue outside of the United States to host the MLS Cup, where the Colorado Rapids defeated FC Dallas 2-1. BMO Field is also ‘home’ to Canada Men’s national soccer team

Councillor Mark Grimes, Chair of the Exhibition Place Board of Governors, added:

An expanded and improved BMO Field will be of great benefit to Exhibition Place and all of Toronto. This is a project that will generate millions of dollars in economic impact over the years with increased business and tourism in the area. We’re thankful for all of those who worked together to make it a reality.

ICON Venue Group was selected to oversee the design and construction of the stadium renovations. ICON has served as project manager/owner’s representative for ten of the thirteen MLS Stadiums that have been constructed or renovated in the last eleven years. Gensler* has been selected as Architect of Record and will design the stadium renovations. The stadium construction will be run by Toronto-based PCL Construction.

*Gensler’s Director of Sports & Entertainment, Ron Turner, was one of the industry-elite speakers that took part in the Closing Keynote Debate on “Major Sporting Events: Challenges, Lessons Learnt and Considerations for upcoming Sporting Event Organisers” during last month’s Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2014 event, which is basically a ‘live’ version of PanStadia & Arena Management.

Suite_View02 BMO-Slide4 BMO-Slide3 BMO-Slide2

Further information is available on Toronto FC’s website at:

Cleveland Indians partner with DNC on major ballpark renovations at Progressive Field

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The Cleveland Indians are partnering with concessionnaire Delaware North Companies Sportservice on a series of major enhancements to Progressive Field, the Indians’ home ballpark.

The enhancements, slated to be completed during this off-season, are designed to create new attractions targeting multiple fan segments and celebrate the club’s history and heritage throughout the ballpark. (The above image shows one of the DNC Sportservice concepts at Progressive Field.)

The project will include:
• Expanded Kids Clubhouse to two levels and the mezzanine concourse area will also be renovated, with new, improved attractions for families
• A climate-controlled, two-storey bar in right field with a dramatic view of Cleveland
• A renovated entrance at ‘Gate C’ with visual connection to the field from the exterior and views of the Cleveland skyline from inside the ballpark
• Redesigned bullpens in centre field
• The incorporation of popular city neighbourhoods like Ohio City and Tremont into the new ‘Gate C’ concourse space
• More of the franchise’s storied history will be incorporated throughout the ballpark, including a new statue of former Indian Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League
• New terraced decks for group outings with sweeping views of the playing field

Mark Shapiro, Indians’ President commented:

Fans have changed the way they interact with baseball and other forms of entertainment. As a result, we have to adapt by creating new, compelling experiences to evolve our ballpark to align with fans’ interests. We’re proud to provide targeted, new experiences that enhance the connection between Progressive Field and revitalizing the city around us.


DNC was the title sponsor of Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2014’s evening networking reception, which was held at the Singapore Sports Hub’s indoor arena. A full article on the company’s reemergence into the Asian marketplace will appear in our Showcase Special edition of PanStadia & Arena Management to be published in December.

Bids requested for the fit-out of hospitality areas at London Olympic Stadium

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The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has posted a request for tenders (RFT) for the ‘Stadium Fit-Out of Hospitality Areas (Works Contractor)’ at the revamped Olympic Stadium. The full RFT can be viewed on the CompeteFor website by entering the reference code: 33Y33K6Y2Z.

The procurement is for the construction of the fit-out elements of the new hospitality areas within the Stadium that was used to host the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The fit-out works are part of the overall transformation programme to convert the Stadium to the new home of West Ham United Football Club, UK Athletics and to host major sport and non-sporting events.

The project will comprise of the fit-out to four floors of the West Stand of the Stadium. The hospitality areas include 8,501m² of interior space, comprising approximately 3,101m² of lounges, 400m² of private boxes, 1,800m² of hospitality concourse, 3,200m² of circulation, toilets and ancillary areas.

The Works include, but are not limited to, the supply and installation of wall, floor and ceilings finishes, bar joinery, second fix building engineering services, fixtures, fittings, graphics and signage, working within the Stadium Contractor’s working area. The successful contractor will be required to liaise with other contractors on-site for the location and detail of second fix services and interfacing programme of works.

Full details of the pre-qualification and evaluation criteria are provided in the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) and the invitation to tender documents, copies of which are available from the Supplying London portal. A full list of these criteria are at

The successful contractor will carry out the work in two phases, with part of the work to be completed in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The final phase of fit-out works will then resume in November 2015, with West Ham United FC to commence their tenancy from the 2016/17 football season.

Firms have until 14 October 2014 to complete PQQs.

Contracting Authority:
London Legacy Development Corporation
Level Ten, 1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road, London, E20 1EJ, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)203 2881800, Email:, URL:

Contact: Procurement, Attn: Suzanne Wightwick
Electronic Access & Submission URL:

Full details of the RFT can be found online at:

Image: London Olympic Stadium. Courtesy:

Demolition work underway at Ashton Gate Stadium

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Work demolishing the historic Wedlock Stand began on July 28, 2014, as Barr Construction commenced the rebuild of the Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol.

The scheme to redevelop Ashton Gate consists of three separate phases to the Wedlock, Dolman and Williams Stands. The existing 86-year-old Wedlock Stand is being demolished and completely rebuilt, with new conference facilities, administration offices, sports bar, cafe and shops created.

Demolition company the Wring Group – based in the south west – has been appointed by Barr as subcontractors on the demolition work of the Wedlock Stand.

Barclay Chalmers, Managing Director of Barr Construction said:

By appointing a local company like Wring to undertake the initial demolition work, we are underlining our commitment to giving opportunities to businesses in the south west wherever possible.

This is a high profile project for Barr and I’m sure rugby and football supporters in Bristol will share our pleasure in seeing this first tangible sign of the creation of a new state-of-the-art sporting stadium for the city taking place.

Wring Group directors, John and Dean Wring, are avid sports fans, with Dean Wring even a former Bristol Rugby player.

John Wring said:

Being raised in South Bristol, I have followed the stadium plans avidly and to have secured the opportunity to bring our technical knowledge and capability to this landmark project is a privilege.

Martin Griffiths, Chairman of Bristol Sport, said:

It is great to finally see the demolition work begin. For months, indeed years, we have been preparing for this moment. A moment when it becomes visibly real, that Bristol will have a fantastic new 27,000-capacity stadium.

Over the next two years Ashton Gate will be transformed into a multi-use venue. The new pitch has been laid over the summer and looks fantastic – ready to welcome Bristol City and Bristol Rugby for the new season.

Since the end of the football season work has been underway at Ashton Gate to prepare for the rebuild and install a new artificial playing surface. The Desso pitch, which has under soil heating, will enable both rugby and football to be played throughout the winter months on a first class surface.

Watch the demolition works online here

Oldham Athletic FC secures lucrative stadium naming rights deal with

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Oldham Athletic FC have agreed a record five-year sponsorship deal with Sports Direct and kit suppliers Sondico, which will see their Boundary Park home ground re-named Park, with the retail giant also to be the new name on the front of the team’s shirts.


Top image: courtesy FWP Group.


In addition, a new 2,000sqft SportsDirect club shop will open within the 10,638-capacity stadium’s new North Stand.


No financial terms were released but the deal is said to be the biggest in the Club’s history, with the Manchester Evening News reporting it could have a value approaching seven figures.


Commenting on the deal on the Club’s website, Chairman, Simon Corney, said:

This is a landmark day for the football club. We are delighted to enter into a partnership of this magnitude with Sports Direct.

A lot of work has gone into this deal which see’s Sports Direct become our front of shirt partner and Sondico become our technical kit partner for the next five seasons, as well as the renaming of Boundary Park to Park.

There is a lot going on at the club, with the construction of the new stand and the opportunities this affords us. We have a dynamic young manager who is looking to assemble a squad to build upon the excellent finish we enjoyed to last season.


In regards to the stadium development, FWP Architects have been working with the Club to establish a long term redevelopment master plan. The scheme comprises a state-of-the-art 16,500-seater venue including three new stands, a 4-star hotel, conference facilities, office space and 776 new houses and apartments.


On the Club’s website, the latest blog states:

As work continues on the construction of the new North Stand, lead contractor Paul Whitehead gives supporters an update regarding the build.

Since the last blog, the majority of the steel frame has been completed and the Verlin Stand end of the frame is fully complete with end panels and staircases in place.
As is typical with this type of development, it appears on the face to be stop-start in terms of what you see happening over a period of time. When the ground works phase was on-going it appeared little was happening, then with the steel frame going up there was a spurt of obvious progression followed by another period where not much visible progress has been apparent. However, as the cladding and windows work starts over the coming weeks progress will once again be obvious.
Last week saw the announcement of the Sports Direct deal and the store that will be opening in the new stand. Plans to accommodate the store and indeed the gym have been worked up over the last few months and work has been ongoing on the ground floor during the last month to complete the necessary alterations and infrastructure required.
This has included encasing the bases of the steel columns, completing the below ground brick and block work, bringing up the ground levels to a sand blinding ready to take the gas vents required under the slab. The installation of the gas venting and membrane works have commenced this week meaning that we are able to commence the last bay of steelwork today. Work is also ongoing to the apron between the front of the seats and the blue track around the pitch with final drainage being installed before the concrete is put down.
In terms of spend the scheme is probably now some 40% complete and the main infrastructure is substantially complete. Once the building becomes virtually watertight as the cladding and windows are installed then progress can speed up as more trades, particularly internally, start their elements of the scheme.
The final steelwork will be complete before the end of the month and the cladding to the roof will commence during the week after the game against Melbourne.
The design teams attention is now turning to the internal fit out including the executive boxes etc. at first floor. Regular meetings are taking place with the club’s representatives as we look to finalise smaller details such as layouts for kitchens, bars and colour choices.
The time lapse video on the club website has enabled supporters to see the stand develop. Unfortunately as the majority of the recent works have been under the stand and out of view of the camera, it has not been possible to record much of the works. We therefore added some photographs to the website last week. We will be looking to start the time lapse camera again this week and continue the weekly update that will show the steel frame, cladding and windows works as they progress.


Internal View of the new North Stand. Image by: Gordon Lawton

Internal View of the new North Stand.
Image by: Gordon Lawton


Hungary’s new eco-friendly Football Stadium of Nagyerdo

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An eco-friendly 20,000-capacity stadium has opened its doors as the centrepiece of an environmentally-focused regeneration project in Debrecen.


Built on the site of the original football stadium, which was built in the 1930’s, Bord Architectural Studio was the firm responsbile for creating the re-designed Nagyerdo Stadium.

The design combines the woodland site with the city, providing easy access to this multi-purpose events centre, while maintaining the region’s natural beauty, Peter Bordas, lead architect on the project, explains:
Debrecen, the second biggest city in Hungary, is characterised by its expanded, loose urban tissue, wide, sunny streets, spacious squares and green areas. Nagyerdo is a wild forest in the heart of the city, where a lot of protected oak trees were waiting to be rescued in the neglected environment. As part of a complex development, the city decided to provide a large-scale reconstruction of Nagyerdo. The aim was to preserve the protectable genres in Nagyerdo and at the same time to draw the area in the city’s circulation as a city park providing a new, liveable, green environment. To encourage healthier life, the city decided to create new sport and recreational facilities in the forest and to refurbish the existing old football stadium in the heart of Nagyerdo that was built in the 1930’s.
In regards to designing a stadium to meet the demands of modern life, the architect first had to decide how the fans would access the stadium securely and how to set an industrial-like building complex in this woodlands setting. To solve these problems, Bordas’ stadium concept concentrates not only on the building itself but also on its wider environment, as he describes:
The access route for the spectators has to be clearly divided. To achieve this, a promenade lifted to the level of the tree canopies encloses the mass of the stadium like a ribbon. This architectural element defines the border of the most frequently utilised component of the park, thus creating a transition zone among the untouched nature and the artificial, man-made world. The up and down arched promenade serves as a running and cycling track, and it joins to an open air occasion square [plaza] and to other facilities in the park which are waiting for the citizens all through the year, even when there are no football matches in the stadium.
The transitional promenade leads fans from the woodlands into a man-made world, which features the stadium with its bars, restaurants, exhibition areas, fitness and wellness facilities. One stand-out feature is the stadium’s corporate/sky boxes, which afford views not only of the action on the football pitch, but also of the surrounding woodlands, as Bordas outlines:
The new stadium seeks to attract the atmosphere of the surrounding nature as much as possible, preserving the memory of the old stadium. Lounge areas for VIP guests are set above the access level, beneath the western stand, while the 24 sky boxes are located on the top of the building. Due to the special, asymmetric design of the stadium the sky boxes open up a panoramic view not only to the playing field, but also to the forest above the roof of the opposite stand.

To provide the highest level of comfort and experience for the spectators, the stands are formed as a perfect bowl. The stadium features numerous innovations, such as the unique steel skeleton of the roof structure, inspired by Andrea Chiner’s opera ‘La mamma morta’. White membrane sheeting is used for the skin of the double curvature roof,  which provides a particularly energetic, flowing appearance. On the nights when matches are played, the ‘balloon’ is illuminated with the colours of the home team and the stadium comes to life.

After 27-months of hard work on the design, planning and construction procedure, the stadium – one of the most modern in Middle Europe – finally became a reality this year, with the new Football Stadium of Nagyerdo opening its doors.
Image credits:

Main image (top of page): © Tibor Olah

Below (top & middle): © Tamas Bujnovszky
Bottom: BORD Architectural Studio
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Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium modernisation plan approved

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The Miami-Dade County Commission approved Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s plan for bonus payments to the Miami Dolphins for hosting marquee events in exchange for Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross being financially responsible for the US$350m renovation of the stadium without county assistance.


Ross said in a statement:

I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners and Mayor Gimenez for approving this unique and creative plan to bring Super Bowls and other marquee events to Miami-Dade County. We have one of the world’s most aspirational cities and, as such, deserve a stadium that will provide significant economic impact to Miami-Dade County. This will not only secure the future of the Dolphins, but will ensure that Miami has one of the world’s best venues to host events of this magnitude going forward.


The resolution, which was co-sponsored by District Commissioner Barbara Jordan, was approved around 1 p.m. on Tuesday after approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes of discussion.


Dolphins President and CEO, Tom Garfinkel, added:

I’m just excited that we can break ground and get started on creating a world-class facility for a world-class community. Now the hard work really begins. We’ve got to get the renovation plans finalised, start construction and get it done.


Garfinkel told the Herald that the renovation would include the addition of a partial roof and would bring Sun Life Stadium’s capacity down from 76,000 to 65,000, adding seats closer to the field and removing a number in the upper-level to make it a more soccer-friendly venue. However, this does not open the way to a collaboration with David Beckham’s proposed Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise in Miami at this stage, with the former England international and his consortium committed to building a soccer-specific facility at around a third of Sun Life’s capacity.


Garfinkel spoke before the county commission and the Dolphins delegation in downtown Miami included Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Larry Little, along with former Dolphins greats Jason Taylor, Dick Anderson and Nat Moore.


Taylor said it was important for former players to show their support:

We are the Miami Dolphins. All the former players, guys that live in this community still and make this home, we are the Miami Dolphins. It’s not just an owner or the players or the staff, it’s all of us included and it’s important for us to come out and support and do what we can to help. There’s plenty of politicians and lobbyists and all that that do the dirty work. We lend a hand where we can.


Marino pointed out he played in the first-ever game at Sun Life Stadium back in the 1987 pre-season and he’s thrilled it’s about to get a facelift:

I think it’s great for the community. I’m a Dophins fan. It’s part of my life, playing there so many years. I’m excited that it’s going to be around and get a new look.


With the agreement with Miami-Dade County in place, Garfinkel said the Dolphins intend to bid for the next available Super Bowl, SB LIII, next spring, to crown a champion in the 2018 season.


Garfinkel explained:

That was part of the intent of trying to get it done. We want to bring in as many marquee events as we can as soon as we can.


Garfinkel said the modernisation of the stadium would be done in two stages and construction could begin within a few weeks. The goal is to have all of the work done before the start of the 2016 season.


The new deal was reached under what was termed a Performance-Based Marquee Event Grant Agreement, which is designed to help bring marquee events such as Super Bowls, college football championships, college football semifinals, World Cup soccer matches, as well as other international soccer events, and is for a period of 20 years.


The key points of the agreement:

  • Stephen Ross and the stadium owners will finance and construct the US$350m’s worth of modernisation improvements to Sun Life Stadium that will make the venue state-of-the-art and extend its ability to attract marquee events for the next 25 years
  • The owners of Sun Life Stadium will earn a Performance-Based Marquee Event (PBME) Grant after each of the following type of events are secured for the community and hosted at the stadium in accordance with the following schedule: Super Bowl and World Cup final: US$4m; college football championship and World Cup soccer match: US$3m; college football semifinal: US$2m; international soccer: US$750,000 (under the agreement, the stadium owner can get credit for no more than two international soccer events, other than World Cup matches, per year)
  • The stadium owners are eligible for PBME Grants after the stadium is awarded a Tier One Event or on Oct. 1, 2016, whichever is later
  • PBME Grant Payments shall only be made from the county’s portion of available Convention Development Tax (CDT) funds. The county is not obligated to make such payments until Dec. 31, 2024. At its sole discretion, the county may make payments earlier if CDT funds are available
  • In each year of the PBME Grant Agreement, there is an annual earning and payment cap of US$5m, meaning no matter how many marquee events have been secured for the community and hosted by the stadium, no more than US$5m can be earned during each year and the stadium shall not receive any more than US$5m in marquee grant payments in any given year
  • In the event CDT funds are not available to fund PBME Grants previously earned and due to the stadium owners, then the amount owed will be rolled over and eligible for payment in future years subject to the payment cap of US$5m per year. Such unfunded PBME Grant amounts shall be rolled over for nine years on events earned prior to 2024 and five years for events earned after 2024
  • Prior to 2024, the stadium owners may not earn more than a total of US$30m in PBME Grants
  • The county may set aside additional operating funds from the CDT for its new museums (Art and Science) and the cultural facilities the county operates prior to making PBME Grant payments to the stadium owners
  • The county has an obligation to pay unfunded amounts existing at the end of the agreement term in accordance with the five-year rollover provision and the US$5m annual cap in PBME Grant payments. This provision is important as an incentive for the stadium owners to continue securing marquee events for the community in the last five years of the agreement


Source & images:

Ulster Rugby agrees stadium naming rights deal with Kingspan

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Ulster Rugby has signed a 10-year agreement with the Kingspan Group – the world’s leading provider of sustainable building materials – for the naming rights to Ravenhill, which will now be called Kingspan Stadium. The agreement will result in significant investment for the game of rugby at all levels within the Province.
Kingspan, whose global headquarters are in Kingscourt, County Cavan, Republic of Ireland, has been a sponsor of Ulster Rugby since 1999.
Commenting on the landmark deal, Chief Executive of Ulster Rugby, Shane Logan, said:
We are delighted to have extended our partnership with Kingspan, one of Ulster’s most successful international companies, and to have secured a stadium naming rights partner for the first time.  
This is a landmark deal and one that will have considerable benefits for all of rugby in Ulster. 

I want to thank Kingspan for its long-term commitment to the Province and I look forward to many more special rugby occasions, from school and club finals to European match nights, at Kingspan Stadium in the future.

Pat Freeman, Managing Director of Kingspan Environmental said:
Both Ulster Rugby and Kingspan are successful globally recognised brands within their respective fields. 

We have been a partner of Ulster Rugby for 15 years and have witnessed the tremendous growth of rugby in the Province. We have also had extensive input into the redevelopment of the stadium through our high performance technologies. We are delighted to significantly extend our already strong association with Ulster Rugby by putting our name to such a wonderful sporting venue and are proud that the home of Ulster Rugby will be now known as Kingspan Stadium.



John Robinson, President, IRFU (Ulster Branch), warmly welcomed the new association when he said:

This long-term deal, with a leading Ulster company, will result in a highly significant investment for rugby in the Province and is a contract of which all involved can be very proud. Rugby has never been stronger in Ulster and partnerships such as this will enable us to continue to grow the game at club and schools level and to remain competitive both in Europe and the PRO12.



Kingspan Stadium: Phased Redevelopment

Ravenhill Rugby Ground or Kingspan Stadium as it is now known, is owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and is located in South East Belfast. It houses the administration centre for the game of rugby football in the province of Ulster.


The stadium is the home of Ulster Rugby, but also hosts finals of Club and School competitions, from Under 10 Mini Rugby to the Senior Clubs Final. In August 2007, the venue hosted its first senior Ireland international match in 53 years when Ireland took on Italy in a Rugby World Cup warm-up game on 24th August.


While the ground has been maintained over the years, 2008 saw the first major modernisation of the stadium when foundations were laid for a new high-spec corporate stand on the terrace side of the ground; Phase 1 of a re-development programme. Built at a cost of GB£5.5m, the stand opened for business in September 2009, boasting 20 high-spec corporate boxes, 532 premier seats and a full bar and restaurant facilities.


In 2010, Ulster Rugby submitted a business case to government, requesting funding from the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure to modernise the rest of the grounds by building new stands at the Aquinas and car park ends and to replace the existing grandstand. In 2011, Minister Nelson McCausland confirmed that the request would be granted and GB£14.7m of funding was secured in November 2012. Construction work started immediately and will be complete this summer. Three new stands will be built at the ground in a phased approach that will see capacity rise from 11,400 to 18,000.


Ulster Rugby has appointed Northern Ireland based general building contractor, Gilbert-Ash NI Ltd., to carry out the construction work. The first phase of the redevelopment ran from November 2012 until June 2013, and saw new stands built at both the Memorial and Aquinas ends of the ground. The new Memorial End stand provides covered seating for approximately 2,400 people with terracing for a further 1,350 fans. It houses a ticket office, a shop, a bar/catering facilities and a new educational facility that promotes the benefits of nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and the values of sport.


The new Aquinas stand is the new family area of the ground. It provides covered seating for 2,100 people with terracing for a further 1,300 fans. It houses new team changing facilities, treatment rooms, an indoor training surface, as well as match day media facilities. It is also the Ulster Rugby Senior squad’s new training base with a state-of-the-art gym, meeting rooms and facilities.


Once the Memorial and Aquinas ends of the ground were complete, the second phase of construction began. This will run from July 2013 until August 2014, and will see the demolition of the existing main stand and the construction of a replacement grandstand built to accommodate 3,450 seated spectators with the new promenade providing standing for approximately 3,400 fans. This stand will also have bar and restaurant facilities. The existing promenade will also be upgraded.


With the increased number of spectators that the new-look ground will be able to hold, Kingspan Stadium will be capable of hosting a RaboDirect PRO12 Final or a Heineken Cup Quarter Final.




Source & image credit: Ulster Rugby

Barr tipped to secure £40m Bristol City FC stadium revamp

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Contractor Barr is tipped to seal the deal to redevelop Bristol City FC’s Ashton Gate stadium.


The firm is one of several contractors that have been involved in talks including the Buckingham Group and Sir Robert McAlpine. But, according to sources, Barr is the frontrunner to be selected by the Club to redevelop the stadium over the next three years.


Under the plan, the Club’s Williams and Wedlock stands will be rebuilt, expanding the ground’s capacity from 21,500 to 27,000.


Capita Symonds have already been contracted to handle project and cost management, with KKA Architecture the designers on the project.


As well as the stadium redevelopment, the Club also intends to build a new conference, exhibition and entertainment centre for the city.


Phased Plan:

  • Phase 1: Demolition of the Wedlock Stand and construction of a new Wedlock Stand
  • Phase 2: Demolition of Dolman front seating tier, modification of the Dolman Stand seating, concourse and roof
  • Phase 3: Demolition of Williams Stand, Hire-Rite Building and No.65 Ashton Road; construct new DESSO pitch
  • Phase 4: Construct new Williams Stand and complete all site works


Completion is expected by Q3 of 2016.


Bristol City FC's Williams and Wedlock stands will be rebuilt as part of the stadium redevelopment.

Bristol City FC’s Williams and Wedlock stands will be rebuilt as part of the stadium redevelopment.


Source: Construction Enquirer