Outperform the opposition with data-driven venue performance rating

footballer representing intelligent venue design

Return on Investment. As a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy specialising in Sports and Entertainment, this metric drives everything that we do.

Gone are the days when clients would expect us to handle just the pipes and wires, the sticks and bricks. Forward-thinking clubs now realise that the best design teams can be challenged to deliver a range of measurable venue performance outcomes that transcend exceptional engineering and construction:

  • Doubling revenue over the next 10 years.
  • Creating a stadium that is better than a rival ground.
  • Expanding demographic and geographic range of the fan base.
  • Being capable of hosting high-profile touring musical acts.
  • Attracting a top-tier naming rights partner from the outset.
  • Making money on more than 200 days a year.

Let’s consider some examples that illustrate what can be achieved through intelligent collaborative design. Developed with fan experience, revenue and club reputation in mind, the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium has triggered local regeneration schemes including new homes, public spaces and civic amenities. The People’s Project at Everton FC will be similarly transformative for club and community.

Realising these kind of benefits is, however, not exclusive to big-budget, headline projects; the £45m upgrade of Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol has created a multipurpose regional venue that not only stages football and rugby matches but also draws global music acts such as Rod Stewart, Take That and Muse.

In the context of Return on Investment, clubs can make better expenditure decisions once provided with a clear understanding of how their stadium could deliver desired outcomes. Of course, it is all too easy for consultants to talk a good game after the event. Things are going well? That’s thanks to our brilliant advice. Not going so well? That’s down to some other factor that is entirely unconnected to our brilliant advice.

Sports science has revolutionised how we rate and improve player performance. A parallel approach to stadium design will enable clubs to get the best out of their key asset.

Andrew Pottinger, Venue Performance Consultant

Counteracting this culture of hazy accountability, Buro Happold has substantiated our offering by going beyond the anecdotal. We can devise models that predict construction cost and programme along with other influential elements such as experience, bowl behaviour, revenue, dwell time, digital impressions and sponsor appeal.

This is underpinned by our Venue Performance Rating (VPR) system, which we created to bring science and substance to the pursuit of outcomes. This approach lets us explore options collaboratively and make informed decisions tailored to client needs. Together we can assess how changes will affect revenue, reputation and results. VPR also works as a tracker that indicates how we are doing against a club’s core principles throughout an entire project.

Using data to optimise return on investment through venue performance rating and engineering

By assessing and combining thousands of weighted parameters, we can see precisely how a stadium performs based on empirical data. Advanced computational techniques background much of this work, with 3D models generating objective analysis of possible futures. For example, the synthesis of stadium and arena could be the way forward for many clubs. This is particularly true for those targeting a capacity of 20,000–40,000, such as AFC Bournemouth.

Our predictive modelling approach can help co-create multiple options with the club and an arena operator. This technology empowers clients to make informed plans that achieve defined outcomes. We optimise Return on Investment by focusing on agreed goals and only making changes that really matter.

Sports science has transformed the way in which we appraise players. Through the application of cutting edge technological rigour, Venue Performance Rating helps Buro Happold do the same for stadium design.

Want to learn more? Watch our video below:

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