London venues head Arup's fan survey

19 Apr 2012

By: Sport Industry Group

Wembley Stadium, The O2 Arena, Centre Court at Wimbledon and Lords Cricket Ground have been voted the most iconic UK sports and entertainment venues according to a survey of more than 2,000 sports and entertainment fans. 

Outside the UK, Madison Square Garden in New York, the Nou Camp in Barcelona, the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing and the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid are seen as the most iconic venues amongst spectators.  

The survey, commissioned by Arup, an independent firm of designers and engineers, also reveals the improvements the public would like to see in the future. This includes more comfortable, spacious seating (49%), better planning to make it easier to move around busy venues (32%) and safe standing room (27%).

Meanwhile, lengthy toilet queues have the most negative impact on visitor’s experiences of major stadia at 41%. 

Fans would also like to see more investment in technology to show replays and different camera angles (30%) and improved access at venues through faster ticket checks as well as better venue design to allow entertainment to take place in all weather conditions. 

'The UK is aiming to attract 80 international sporting events by 2015 and with the 2012 Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee this year, it is critical to look at the expectations and experiences of the tens of thousands of spectators who’ll visit our venues,' said Nic Merridew, Sports Leader, Arup UK, Middle East & Africa. 'Ergonomics, usability and accessibility play a huge role in shaping visitor’s enjoyment of events and innovation in modern stadia design is incredibly sophisticated.'

Arup is currently involved in projects exploring how enhanced mobile networks, near-field communications and in-venue Wi-Fi are enabling fans to interact with players, performers and each other. High definition and 3D footage are playing a major role as modern stadia cater for the demands of 24-hour media and fans’ use of social media. The firm is also using advanced software modelling and usage analysis to find ways of reducing queues at turnstiles and congestion around venues.  

Ben Williams, marketing director of venue management company SMG, which is implementing many of Arup's innovations, added: 'There is increasing demand for bandwidth as more performers seek to engage more closely with fans during live events. Often graphics and video content have to be downloaded by the artists’ production team just hours before a performance, so at Manchester Arena we installed a high speed broadband fibre network using wireless connectivity throughout the venue. This enables us to innovate with the event experience and create a more engaging spectacle for fans to enjoy.'