TRACTEBEL is ESSMA’s newest acquisition as Stadium Partner. The leading international engineering company offers state-of-the-art engineering and consulting solutions and its experience in different stadium projects will definitely benefit the association. 

Non-match day revenue: Leif Bjorn – FC Copenhagen

When there's no football at Telia Parken

Leif Bjorn is Head of Security at FC Copenhagen. Telia Parken, which is the home ground of the club, can be seen as a real example of a multifunctional stadium. Besides FC Copenhagen, PSE (Parken Sport & Entertainment A/S) is also owner of and Lalandia. 

Telia Parken includes 2 fan shops, a training facility, youth development center and has an annual turnover of around 175 million euros. One of the most important components of the stadium are the 4 office towers, with more than 40,000 square meters of office space.

In 2009, Telia Parken invested 1,1 million euros in a retractable stand. This retractable stand works completely mechanical. The installation only takes half an hour while the previous retractable stand took 3 days with 20 people. The stand has a capacity of 4,000 seats.

Another important element of this multifunctional stadium is the retractable roof, which has been installed in order to be able to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2001. The roof is 12,000 square meters and enables the stadium to be heated up from -7 to 15 degrees. 

The importance of a good team, combined with fluent organization is vital for successful management of the stadium.


Food & beverage - hospitality: Julien Lepron – Paris Saint-Germain

In-venue experience: building a new operating framework to set loyalty & boost match day revenues

Julien Lepron, the Stadium Guest Services Manager of Paris Saint-Germain, introduced the participants a new type of customer experience. A unique guest services policy would enhance the convertion from satisfaction to increased revenues. Supporting the renewed facility and sales operations, the 'Guest Services policy' would come to enhance and convert all effort into business value.

Paris Saint-Germain invested 75 million euros over 3 years, without ever closing the stadium. Structural enhancements (back-end + front-end) as well as VIP areas were overhauled. This refurbishment led to new VIP facilities, lounges and business seats (4,378 business on a total of 47,929).

Another task was to operate a cultural shift within the organization and set up a new organization policy: one from a straight “security vision” to a dual vision adopting a “customer/safety” approach, where the customers are at the heart of the programs. Key factors of success here are a compulsory support from the top management and a long term strategical plan.

As guest services, PSG stands for a high level of services embracing fields of:
customer relationship -> welcome -> services.

Julien explained us the principles of customer journey management at PSG and the 4 steps in the customer experience: intent to buy -> ticket holder -> stadium -> post match. A relevant mix of elements should build sustainable revenues, combining skills & assets. An example of the 2014/15 half-season customer satisfaction assessment was shown, with different items of experience.

For making a sporting event accessible to anyone a roll out of 3 steps is required:

  1. Access to Parc des Princes: making sure everyone is seated on time within the safety and quality norms
  2. Enhancement of the experience: assisting customers all the way
  3. Development of new major services: ambassador teams, integration of a stadium app, services in the concourse areas & branding of the concourse, new 3D pre-order platform and creation of exclusive services areas

Julien closed his presentation with 5 upcoming challenges at the club.

Workshop sponsor



Evolutionary stadium development: Neil Theuma – RFU/Twickenham 

Setting new standards in the sign of the Rugby World Cup 2015

Neil Theuma, Head of Venue Facilities of the largest dedicated rugby union stadium in the world, started his presentation with a brief introduction on the evolution the stadium underwent. The first game was played in 1909 and since then Twickenham Stadium has undergone many redevelopments. Within the renovation of the South Stand, a hotel, conference centre, health & leisure club, rugby retail shop and HQ offices for the RFU were integrated into the stadium.

During the years, expectations of fans changed and became more challenging to meet. After winning the bid for the 2015 World Cup Rugby, Twickenham Stadium required some significant investments. In 2011, the RFU board and council approved to invest £76 million in the upgrade of the stadium. A benchmark study of the stadium -comparing several attributes- was commissioned to compare Twickenham to similar stadia in the UK and Europe. In total, 36 projects were redeveloped in only 36 months! 74 events were to be delivered including 5 concerts.

A lot of upgrades were done on fan engagement & technology: bigger screens by Daktronics ensured more visibility, are flexible for advertising, increase the seating capacity by 500 seats (old ones took up valuable seating) and are now integral part of the stadium entertainment. Mid-Tier LED was installed for more engagement and it is now easy to change the 'look' of the stadium. A new sports lighting system was installed: LED solution with outstanding results and feedback from broadcasters & spectators. 350 Cisco Wi-Fi access points provide free and fast Wi-Fi to all customers. A new fully integrated CRM platform allows the RFU to communicate more effective and personalised and commercial opportunities are also maximised: this enables the RFU to market the sport and products more effectively.

Twickenham was the first national rugby stadium to install a Desso Grassmaster surface with 20 million plastic strands. Undersoil heating and new irrigation system were also needed.

The 20-year old infrastructure didn't meet the current needs of the stadium anymore. Therefore a lot of investments were made to modernize the stadium. The hospitality upgrades the stadium underwent are really amazing. The stadium did not have a corporate area identity, the difference in standards were too big and it was difficult to sell on long term leases. Boxes have been refurbished and have a consistent high quality. Other hospitality areas were given a modern look and feel with retained rugby themes and history: rooms are now easier to sell on non-match days. The facility now really has an 'England branding' throughout the whole site.

Twickenham Stadium hosted 10 World Cup matches with in total over 800,000 spectators. During the tournament, 46,000 staff members were working on the site. However, during the World Cup, sustainability was of major importance: of 319 tonnes of waste generated, 64% was recycled.

Even after the World Cup Rugby the development of Twickenham Stadium continues. In December 2015, the redevelopment of the East stand was approved. This makes sure that Twickenham Stadium is already 107 years old but still going strong.


Workshop sponsor


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The ESSMA Summit took place from 19-20 January in San Mamés stadium Bilbao, with 305 participants from 29 countries around the world. 

On January 19th before the official start of the ESSMA Summit, the first Stadium Development Seminar was hosted in San Mames stadium Bilbao. During this seminar, 4 European stadium projects were presented together with the current projects in Turkey to an audience of more than 120 people. 

Over 300 industry professionals will assemble at the at The Westin Hotel & Spa, Doha (Qatar) from 16 to 19 May to discuss the new market developments and challenges in the stadium industry. 

I have been lucky enough to participate to the first USA Fan Experience Tour with ESSMA last September with my ESSMA Corporate Member Representative hat. The program was both intense and exhaustive. Within 5 days, we were to visit seven remarkable sporting venues in both New York and Dallas and despite the hectic schedule; a handful of courageous participants I was not part of, found time to go for a run each time they could.

Feyenoord has been an active ESSMA member for quite some time now. To get a better understanding about how they deal with pitch management at De Kuip, we had an interview with Erwin Beltman, head groundsman and two-time winner of the VVSC Pitch competition in the Netherlands. 

On Wednesday the 28 of October, the ESSMA staff was invited to explore the new training complex and the recently developed stand at SV Zulte Waregem.

Following the research a Belgian newspaper conducted on Belgian stadium infrastructure, ESSMA presents a case study focusing on Belgian stadium development. Since the completion of the Ghelamco Arena of KAA Gent, some major changes have been made.

For this first time, ESSMA organized a Fan Experience Tour to the USA from 2-7 September. A delegation of 23 stadium experts visited 7 venues in New York and Dallas. The technical stadium visits and presentations were enriched with 2 match day experiences, enabling the participants to see how fan entertainment is managed in practice.