New Stadium Builds: Ultimate Checklist Before Opening Day

New Stadium Builds: Ultimate Checklist Before Opening Day

The Buffalo Bill’s New Highmark Stadium. The Tampa Bay Rays’ Gas Plant Stadium. Inter Miami CF’s Miami Freedom Park.

These three stadiums are just a few of the dozens of new sports stadiums being built around the world. As a fan, the wait for a new stadium can feel excruciating but invigorating, and for a team, the wait is filled with logistics, stress, and plenty of excitement. 

Considering building a new stadium at the pro, minor league, or community level? Take a look at eight important steps that occur before you ever cut the ribbon.

1. Hold Informational Meetings for Fans

Fans are the heartbeat of stadiums, so involving fans from the start is instrumental when building a new stadium. Holding “town hall” style meetings with fans, community members, and stakeholders is a fantastic way to communicate construction updates and gain valuable feedback from fans on what matters most to them. 

These town hall meetings can be virtual, in-person, or a combination of both. Change up who leads the informational meetings, and consider inviting local fan clubs to speak and lead discussions.

In the new age of sports, fan engagement is fundamental for encouraging active participation long into the future.

2. Start a Season Ticket Waitlist

With a brand new venue incoming, fans will be eager to claim their spots as season ticket holders. Establish a process for your team’s waitlist and distribute it in the appropriate channels— social media, your website, email mailers, etc.

Include deposit links so fans can reserve their spot on your waitlist at their convenience.

3. Choose the Right Vendors

Beyond watching a sporting event, fans enjoy attending stadiums for the entire atmosphere— including the food, drinks, and apparel. When choosing your vendors and negotiating partnerships, pay close attention to the information you gain from the informational meetings with fans. 

Fans engage with brands that align with their values, so allow fan values to influence your partnerships. Fans may prefer local vendors or vendors who donate to certain charities.

4. Establish a Preview Center

For every new stadium, but especially for major league teams, success has been found with establishing a preview center for fans. Preview centers provide simulated views of the stadium design, amenities, and interactive views of any potential seat.

Preview centers are especially valuable for season ticket holders and premium hospitality  members, as they allow members to gain a clear view of the seats and suites they prefer for buying confidence before the physical stadium is ready for guests. 

Many teams have leveraged DIGIDECK to establish interactive preview centers on touch screen devices— accomplishing many use cases with one presentation platform.

5. Solidify Naming Rights & Partnerships

Whether your stadium will hold 4,000 people or 60,000, sponsorships and naming rights greatly impact ARR for teams and buying decisions for fans. Similarly to choosing vendors, fan values should play a major role in influencing partnerships.

In order to effectively pitch sponsorship partnerships and naming rights conversations, teams of all sizes leverage the DIGIDECK presentation platform for sales and recaps. DIGIDECK empowers partnership teams with:

  • Viewership analytics for more meaningful follow-ups
  • Live-chat to reduce lag time
  • Hotspot technology to automatically superimpose partner logos on applicable activations

Leveraging technology like DIGIDECK allows teams to secure valuable partnerships before the doors ever open on their stadium.

6. Testing & Commissioning

Towards the end of the construction phase on your stadium, it’s required to complete testing and commissioning. 

  • Commissioning is a formal activity between the construction company and stadium owner to ensure all components of the stadium are designed, installed, constructed, and tested according to operational requirements. 
  • Testing is a vital part of the commissioning process that involves testing, trialing, adjusting, optimizing, and proving that all systems meet standards for certification and operational requirements. 

The testing and commissioning process may take a few weeks or several months to complete, depending on the size of the stadium. The process must be led by the construction company and overseen by the owner, operator, and appointed specialist consultants. 

You’ll come out of the process with a checklist of all items that have passed or failed the approval process. All items will need to pass in order to achieve a formal sign-off by both parties.

7. Obtain Licenses & Permits

No stadium can open without the proper permits and licenses. The most important approval you’ll need to obtain is the stadium safety certificate. This certificate sets the allowed capacity for the stadium (as well as lounges, skyboxes, and other enclosed areas) and details the conditions and requirements that the stadium operator must follow. 

In addition to the stadium safety certificate, you’ll need to secure additional permits and licenses which can include:

    • Food vendor license: Allows the preparation and/or sale of food 
    • Alcohol license: ALlows the sale of alcoholic beverages in certain stadium areas
    • Environmental permit: Defines conditions for the environmental impact during regular stadium use, including waste reduction, air & light pollution, noise, parking facilities, wastewater treatment, and more
    • Event-specific permits: Add-ons to the environmental permit which set closing times, noise limits, and more for one-off events like concerts
    • Permit for outdoor advertising
    • Permit for outdoor selling of food & beverages

8. Design Exclusive Merchandise

Fans love to be a part of a team’s evolution— and the opening of a brand new stadium can be one of the most exciting times for a dedicated fan. Owning apparel and merchandise allows fans to showcase their support and feel like an important piece of the puzzle. 

Consider designing and selling exclusive, limited edition merchandise that centers around your new stadium. You may even boost momentum by doing merch giveaways at fan events, town halls, or through social media.

Make New Stadium Construction Easier With DIGIDECK

There are dozens of steps to complete before opening a new stadium— far beyond what’s covered in this blog. But one thing’s for sure, opening a new stadium is easier with DIGIDECK in your tech stack.

Numerous sports teams, from big-name pro teams to local minor leagues, leverage DIGIDECK for visually-dynamic, time-saving presentations that blow PowerPoint out of the water.

For new stadium builds, teams have utilized DIGIDECK for pitching to sponsors and vendors, establishing interactive preview centers, and creating ticket wait list microsites. The best part? You can create as many automated assets as you want from one centralized Master Deck, and every presentation is trackable with valuable viewership analytics. 

Learn more about how DIGIDECK will help your new stadium efforts with a 30 minute demo!

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