The opportunities for branding sports stadia
June 13, 2018
Will Bunn, national account manager and a specialist in sports branding, explores the opportunities branding and refurbishment solutions provide marketing and facilities teams looking after sports venues.
Sports stadia have vast amounts of blank space in areas used by fans to get them around the stadium, link them to the amenities, concessions, and to get them to their seats. More often than not, these walls are uninspiring block work and concrete columns. Perhaps the image below is a familiar sight to you?
Using creative design and graphics is a simple way to change these areas from the uninspired to the inspired. Connecting the building to its users, creating a more immersive and engaging experience. Ultimately making a stadium a more hospitable and friendly environment that feels vibrant, positive, clean and special.
The designs used can be anything. The products we use are versatile from that point of view; suited to the use of swathes of colour, photographic images, crisp text or a mix of all of these. Obviously the chosen designs must be well considered and should create synergy with the space and the brand they represent. As well as the many creative options available, the use of the physical graphics is equally numerous. At the same time as being decorative, they can be used to develop the brand, inform, engage and direct, becoming part of the way-finding system in the stadium.
There is a two-fold opportunity with stadium branding. Firstly dressing the stadium to appeal to the home crowd. Then there's wrapping kiosks, concession stands and even waste bins with advertising for sportswear, cars and everything in between.
If the idea is to improve the customer experience and connection with the team’s brand then it is clear that large scale graphics can help do that. Alternatively, if the objective is to increase sponsorship or advertising revenues, merchandising spend or spend on refreshments, then this can be achieved too. There is plenty of space to sell and plenty of innovative graphics and signage products to allow this to happen.
Of course there is an important balance to be achieved. Careful consideration needs to be given to the design, successfully integrating both the commercial messaging of sponsors and advertisers with that of the club's core values and its affinity with its fans.
Giving fans the chance to be part of the design process and getting them involved will naturally increase the engagement. It’s often said that the fans are what make a football club. At its core, a club belongs to the fans. Giving them active involvement in the design content of environmental graphics projects like this is key. The collaborative approach is definitely the way to go. It will help in understanding what’s at the heart of the club, what it’s like to be a fan and why they support the club.
The Wolves and Arsenal projects we have worked on, both used large scale graphics inside and outside the stadium that celebrate each clubs' history, tradition and fans. The Wolves design used quotes from fans about what they feel about the club and coming to the stadium on match days. The Arsenal project integrated original artwork of special moments and favourite players created by local children who support the club. Being part of the process can give fans real sense of pride and place.
With all this in mind, there are multiple opportunities and benefits to using stadium graphics; either from a purely commercial angle, one of building community amongst supporters or even better a blend of the two. There is no end to the number of viable and cost effective stadium branding solutions available to help you deliver a premium visitor experience.