We recently held a competition for students challenging them to design a sports facility or stadium. The criteria we used to evaluate the designs included:
* Creativity…how unique is the stadium? Is the architecture unique? What does the stadium look like? An image of the stadium design as well as answers to the following questions MUST be submitted to participate!
* Where is the stadium located? Why?
* Is it in indoor or outdoor facility?
* Who are the primary tenants?
* What is the name of the stadium? How was the name chosen?
* How will the stadium impact the overal fan experience?
* Will technology play a role? How?
* How will the stadium design/features/amenities help to attract visitors?
Needless to say, we can’t tell you how impressed we were with the creativity, effort, and attention to detail that the students put forth. From the integration of social media into a stadium name (hash tag stadium) to amenities impacting the fan experience like batting cages for fans, iPads in seats, special VIP recliner seating and unique sponsorships like a sponsored hot dog bridge, students were able to showcase much of what they have learned about the business of sports and entertainment this year…they were awesome!
Before announcing our winners, I would like to thank our industry panelists for spending the time to review the many submissions for the contest. Your time and feedback is very much appreciated. A very special thanks to Heather Lawrence-Benedict, a faculty member with the renowned Ohio University’s Sport Management Program. She has a lot of facility experience and really helped lead the way with critiquing the designs from an industry perspective.
Ultimately, the response from panelists was consistent as well, there were NO entries that didn’t manage to impress on some level. I received several comments that it was really neat to see some of the “outside of the box” thinking that went into the student designs. While many would be impractical if not impossible to pull off, the “above and beyond” mentality is what will help students stand apart from their peers as they pursue a possible career in our industry.
Great job everyone and thanks again to those who participated in the voting process.
So, without further delay, here are our winners!
The top selections for SCC’s stadium design contest:
First Place: Rio Tinto – Every industry panelist made a point to suggest the 3D nature of the design showed how much time was put into the project, as well as how thorough the students were in describing the thought process behind each aspect of the stadium build. Integration of naming rights was key for all industry panelists, but explaining how the partnership tied in with the franchise was crucial for those stadiums who earned the highest ratings. Rio Tinto’s ability to use creativity in the design yet keep the project realistic helped push this one over the top, in particular the added element of an animal sanctuary fit with the industry’s trend toward building venues that will attract all types of visitors year round, on both game days and non-game days. Panelists also appreciated the importance of “location” placed on the design, including ideas for accommodating (and limiting) traffic and parking. Great job!
Second Place: The Igloo – Conceptually, the Igloo idea rated as the highest among panelists, despite the logistical challenges that would face any builder trying to design a venue like this. Either way, this was a very creative stadium idea that seemed to jive well with the selected market (Anchorage) for the facility. The added value of building a second, connected dome to host a variety of additional activities (skiing, sledding, snowboarding) was also a major factor in ranking this design second in the competition. The addition of a social media lounge (including revenue generated by selling naming rights to the space) provided a first class touch to this outstanding stadium design. Really nice job!
Third Place: Guinness Stadium – Guinness Stadium’s recognition of the importance of marketing (the design drew the 2nd most “likes” through the online voting process) helped propel this venue into third place in the competition. The emphasis on an International venue also scored points among some panelists as the industry continues to grow as a global marketplace. The naming rights to the stadium provided a great tie-in to the location and the rationale behind it was impressive: “The name of the stadium is Guinness Stadium. Guinness is currently a well-known sponsor of The IRFU and is exclusive to Ireland. Guinness is a brewing company produced and sold in Ireland and it is available in many other countries. So, this stadium will improve sales due to the familiarity of the beer company.” As one panelist put it, “It was different than the others as it took business development of the community into account in a major way.” Very well done!
Nike Field – This design scored well in part because of the selection of Las Vegas which has been a hot button conversation piece in the last few years within the industry (it should be mentioned that this was not the only design to select Las Vegas as a market), but the creativity in developing a truly Vegas “over the top” feel in conjunction with the stadium (casinos, arcades, bright lights and shark tanks!) , but managed to provide exceptional and valid rationale for why the building would feature such amenities. Panelists also felt the designer of this stadium provided one of the best, in-depth descriptions for the facility. Good work.
Big Elk Stadium– Despite some obvious logistical challenges that would be present if they were to actually build, Big Elk Stadium provides another great example of a venue operator who wants to maximize revenue by creating additional revenue streams beyond the game itself. The idea of a hotel and spa built right in to the stadium is unique with amenities and features that would make it an attractive venue that even out of town visitors would like to see. Nice job.