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March 12, 2024

7 Challenges for Stadiums & Arenas

Stadiums and arenas, the bastions of large-scale events, encounter a myriad of challenges that need help.

Aside from the operational challenges of managing large-scale events, there are several external factors that make managing these spaces difficult.  

For that reason, it’s important to pause for a moment and reflect on the biggest challenges your stadium or arena is facing. Why? It will help you discover where your biggest opportunities remain.

Identifying Top Venue Challenges for Stadiums & Arenas

In the dynamic stadium and arena management realm, many challenges unfold, requiring astute navigation to secure sustained success. Let’s break them down.  

1. Inconsistent Revenue

High-profile concerts performed by iconic musicians and bands or major sporting events like the Super Bowl do not happen every day, nor do these provide a steady revenue stream. As a result, you must capitalize on these single instance events by maximizing the profits generated from primary revenue streams on event days, including:

  • Membership
  • Tickets/admissions
  • Concessions
  • Merchandise
  • Parking
  • Corporate suites, boxes and VIP Areas
  • Stadium tours and other behind-the-scenes experiences
  • In-app purchases

2. Competition

New venues alongside the refurbishment of existing stadiums and arenas worldwide are a costly business. For example, Tennessee Titans hired a design firm that estimated upgrades to Nissan Stadium would cost USD $500-600 million in 2019; just two years later, amid COVID-19 disruption, the predicted renovations were re-estimated at USD $900 million. In Australia, stadium rebuild projects in preparation for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics were estimated at AUD $7 billion.

An aging arena or venue can struggle to compete with new or newly refurbished venues, in addition to bidding for private or corporate events. Beyond new venue and refurbishment pressure, there is also the pressure and competition of securing the best bookings.  

3. Labor Shortages  

Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, coined the term "The Great Resignation" in Bloomberg Businessweek. In the article, he predicted mass resignations prompted by the global pandemic. The hospitality and events industry has been and continues to be widely affected by this trend. Onboarding and sourcing staff from a smaller pool of skilled candidates in addition to navigating the significant loss of human business intelligence continues to remain a heavy burden across the industry.  

4. Rising Costs

Stadiums and arenas worldwide are struggling to maintain profitability while simultaneously experiencing increased costs of goods and services, supply chain issues and consumers who have less disposable income due to considerable increases in the cost of living. Finding ways to minimize costs and maximize profitability is challenging when you need to also ensure a first-class experience for fans and corporate partners.

5. Severe Weather

With many stadiums being outdoor venues or having an outdoor component, weather can significantly impact the success of events. From winter storms impacting NFL games in the U.S. to poor weather delaying multiple Premier League football matches to extreme heat threatening event-goer safety, venue managers must continue to improve their responses to severe weather to ensure a safe and successful event delivery.

6. Consumer Expectations and Event Technology

Consumer expectations and those of fans and corporate partners are constantly increasing, just as we predicted in our 2024 event trends. Finding and implementing the right digital and self-service solutions to meet new consumer expectations and improve the buyer’s journey in the lead-up to and during events can be an overwhelming challenge for many stadiums and arenas. Choices today include offerings such as online booking platforms, e-ticket solutions, digital signage, “in-app” mobile purchases, contactless payments and more.

7. Risk Management

With today’s challenges ranging from a global pandemic, natural disasters and political unrest, your venues must continuously evaluate and improve risk management protocols addressing whatever challenges arise. Now more than ever, risk assessments cannot be approached as a “set-and-forget” mentality. It brings to the forefront the need to constantly evolve and improve existing protocols for risks alongside identifying new potential risks, with quantitative values.

Make a Game-Winning Decision

In response to these challenges, innovative technologies offer a game-winning solution. End-to-end software solutions streamline venue management complexities, empowering stakeholders to explore new possibilities. By adopting advanced strategies and technological solutions, stadiums and arenas can not only weather the current challenges but also ensure sustained revenue growth, cost reduction, heightened productivity, and long-term profitability. 


Adam Enloe

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