On 22nd September 2020, IAKS members met online for the kick-off meeting of the new Stadia and Arenas Expert Circle.
Initiated by Javier Dávila de Eusebio (IDOM, Spain) and Mike Trice (Populous, UK), twelve experts from eight countries met to discuss “How will Covid-19 affect stadium designs?”.
During the round of introductions, participants presented themselves and informed about the current lockdown situation of stadia and arenas in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Many countries have allowed professional football leagues to restart their season, but mostly without any spectators. Only few countries are allowing spectators to return to the event, with Australia being currently at the forefront.
Javier Dávila de Eusebio offered IDOM’s ideas to develop stadium infrastructure for better access to the venue. Javier sees the current pandemic situation as a great occasion for renovating stadia and for bringing more sustainability to public infrastructure. He believes that venues in inner-city locations will gain more importance, as they offer environmental benefits and support the shift of individual mobility towards more cycling and less car use.
Javier’s key takeaways are:
- Consider your new stadium location within the city and with the city
- Consider sustainable renovations of existing stadiums
- Assess your existing conditions with crowd simulations
- Partial renovations will play a big role
Mike Trice explained Populous’ insights about seating bowl capacities, crowd management and back-of-house arrangements. He explained the typical spectator journey from arrival, entry, venue experiences and venue exit, and compared the pre-pandemic with the current pandemic situation that requires modifications in most operational steps. New spectator touchpoints may include medical testing and health screening as well as touchless concourses and catering, cleaning and social distancing measures.
Mike’s key takeaways are:
- Every venue needs multiple layers of defence
- The venue needs a social contract with its spectators
The next Expert Circle online meeting will be held with the aim to compile information about re-opening spectator facilities.