The stadium is also the brand: “When a club modernizes its facilities and stadiums, it is also marketing and selling itself. It improves its brand, increases its prestige ”, says Hugo Amador, commercial director of Onddi in Mexico, a firm in charge of working on large structures based on modern and sustainable engineering that worked on the remodeling of the Anoeta Stadium in Spain: they lowered the field of game and moved the stands closer to give him a better view of the stadium.
The Latin American reality is very different. There are few stadiums at the height of these times, and most are in Mexico or Brazil. Going to a game in these latitudes can be an exhausting experience. It can take hours of traffic, a long walk after parking the car or getting off public transport, endless lines, invasive searches, to climb dozens of stairs and reach a seat occupied by another. The bathrooms looked better forty years ago. Buying something to eat is very expensive and the quality is usually not the best. With the wrong image, clubs cannot exploit their stadiums as they potentially could.
In any case, each club must find the right business model for its reality. “The stadium market had a boom in the last 10 years that turned and greatly evolved the business model and the product that is delivered to fans. They will never again think only of selling a ticket to the match: we sell complete experiences beyond the match, ”says Javier Doña, Stadium Consultant and Professor of the MBA in Sport Management at the Real Madrid University School. Part of that change is to stop thinking of the stadium as a space that turns on its lights once every fifteen days. There are no more spaces for the so-called White Elephants. “Not all stadiums have the conditions to be a leisure or commercial center, or to have a corporate profile, not all of them have a profile for ticketing (events, recitals). Maybe they have a profile, or two. Depending on the analysis you make of the market, you will determine the design of your stadium: if it is of one profile or another ”, adds the expert.
The big question is: is it business to remodel a stadium? Is it convenient to build a new one? The numbers are high. In Europe, a stadium for 40,000 people can be around 250 million euros. Others like the edgy So-Fi in Los Angeles cost 2.6 billion dollars. But it is possible to do reshuffles in stages to better focus the user experience. These amounts are lower, and can be done in steps and based on the economic reality of each club. What is clear, in conclusion, is that going through this process leads to the stadium becoming a constant and strong source of income for the institution.