iSportconnect and Populous Stage Successful Stadium Masterclass

By iSportconnect | October 8, 2014

The iSportconnect Stadium Masterclass on future trends in hospitality, in partnership with Populous, was a huge success yesterday, with Arsenal’s wonderful Emirates Stadium being a fitting venue for the occasion.

Delegates who attended the event included organisations such as FC Barcelona, Arsenal FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC, AS Roma, Wembley Stadium, RFU, England Rugby 2015, French Rugby Federation (FFR), London Irish Rugby Club, World Olympic Association, UK Athletics, Durham County Cricket Club, Euroleague Basketball, The O2, Sky, Allianz Park and many more.

The panellists for the Stadium Masterclass were Alistair Spiers, Director of Hospitality at Paris St. Germain, Bill Mannarelli, Project Manager at FC Barcelona, Charles Allen, Head of Marketing at Arsenal FC, Felicity Black-Roberts, Senior Director at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Paul De Keerle, Director of Finances and Administration at FFR and Steve Brice, Head of Premium Seating at AEG.

They were also joined on stage by Nicholas Reynolds and Christopher Lee from Populous and together they discussed the current and future trends of stadia hospitality within the sporting sector.

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Topics covered included providing greater choice for all attendees; location and areas of a venue that may remain unexplored or provide a unique opportunity such as sky decks or pitch-side hospitality; flexibility and how venues can be used 365 days a year; sponsor and brand activation that adds real value to the fan experience; and ways to extend the experiential journey for fans, building in new options for hospitality and activities before and after the event actually begins.

The experts also focused on how the hospitality industry will grow through the emergence and rapid development of technology and how this will have an impact on the fan experience.

Speaking after the event Alistair Spiers said: “Today’s event was fantastic, it was really useful to have some input from people from different venues, different sports and the interaction with the audience this evening was fantastic as well, the questions were very intelligent, very difficult to answer on occasions, but that’s all part of it, all part of sharing the information, it was fantastic.

“We all have different ideas, different challenges and to be able to sit down today with no distractions and to talk to people about exactly what their challenges are in the hospitality world and in stadia as well, was really worthwhile.”

Bill Mannarelli was impressed with the platform the event created for interaction between professionals.

“I thought the event was very interesting, I thought it was a fantastic forum for people to respond to ideas and to have a creative interaction with architects and operators and various development people and I thought we were successful in maybe not identifying all the solutions but perhaps features that we need to solve together in the future,” he said.

Charles Allen was pleased to have been given the opportunity to share ideas with colleagues within the industry.

He said: “Today’s event has been really useful, often it’s very easy just to keep your head down and focus on your own problems, objectives and issues and rarely do we get the opportunity to lift our heads above the parapet and talk to other people in the industry and understand where our similarities lie, where our differences may lie and actually debate some issues that may affect all of us to a greater or lesser extent so it’s been incredibly useful.”

Steve Brice shared Charles’ sentiment and was also happy to share the occasion with his peers.

He said: “Today’s been a great event, for me to actually meet colleagues and my peers and share our experiences in hospitality and equally some of the innovations we’ve discussed today and what we consider to be the trends going forward, I find it of great value.

“In terms of this event I find it really valuable, without doubt I’ll be looking at the future events. I think it’s a great networking environment and I think there’s a lot of value in these types of events.

The Stadium Masterclass was moderated by iSportconnect Chairman Michael Cunnah and he added: “We got into some very real topics and we got a vision of what might happen in the future, but also I thought particularly in the question and answers session, we got some very practical solutions to some of the questions that were asked and problems that our attendees had.”

For further information or to receive a copy of the Populous Activate e-brochure, please visit media@populous.com

iSportconnect will host an inaugural Sponsorship Brands Masterclass on 22nd October, for more information visit the website here.

More Pictures Below

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iSportconnect Chairman Michael Cunnah and Populous Senior Principal Ben Vickery introducing the Populous workshop

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Panellists at the workshop

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Delegates at the Stadium Masterclass

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UK Athletics Charman Ed Warner posing a question to the panellists

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Tottenham Hostpur’s Director of Hospitality Andy O’Sullivan had a question for the panel

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Networking in full flow at the Masterclass

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Charles Allen (Head of Marketing at Arsenal FC)

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Eric Solem (Head of Ticketing at AS Roma, centre)

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Heath Harvey (Wembley Stadium, centre), Didier De Baere (Belgian FA, right)

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