Sport Facility And Event Management The Case Of Manchester United Old Trafford

Sport Facility And Event Management: The Case Of Manchester United Old Trafford

Contents

TOC o “1-3” h z u HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346331” 1.0 PART A: FACILITY AUDIT PAGEREF _Toc376346331 h 1

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346332” 1.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc376346332 h 1

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346333” 1.2 Construction and Capacity PAGEREF _Toc376346333 h 1

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346334” 1.3 Structure and Facilities PAGEREF _Toc376346334 h 3

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346335” 1.4 Record Attendances PAGEREF _Toc376346335 h 4

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346336” 1.5 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc376346336 h 5

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346337” 2.0 PART TWO: FUTURE FEASIBILITY AND DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS PAGEREF _Toc376346337 h 6

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346338” 2.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc376346338 h 6

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346339” 2.2 Currents Design Options Provided by Old Trafford PAGEREF _Toc376346339 h 6

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346340” 2.3 Future Feasibility and Design Attributes PAGEREF _Toc376346340 h 7

HYPERLINK l “_Toc376346341” 2.4 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc376346341 h 10

1.0 PART A: FACILITY AUDIT1.1 IntroductionOld Trafford is the Manchester United Football Club permanent stadium located in Old Trafford area of the Greater Manchester, England. Nicknamed the Theatre of Dreams by Bobby Charlton, one of the many Manchester United living legends, the facility is the second largest football stadium in England (it can accommodate up to 75,731 persons), after Wembley, and the ninth largest football stadium in Europe (Murphy, 2006). Since 1909, when initial constructions works were completed, major expansions have been carried out especially in the 1990s and 2000s to include extra tiers on the northern, western and eastern stands. There are future plans to add a second tier in the southern stand so as to increase the facility’s capacity to 95,000 persons (Morgan, 2010). Apart from hosting Manchester United home matches, Old Trafford is frequently used as a neutral ground for FA Cup semi-final matches as well as England international matches especially when Wembley was under construction. It also hosted the 1966 FIFA World Cup matches, UEFA Euro 1996 matches, 2003 UEFA Champions League Final, 2012 Summer Olympics football matches, rugby Super League Grand Final, and the 2000 Rugby League World Cup (Murphy, 2006). This essay audits the Old Trafford by covering the following special aspects: construction and capacity, structure and facilities, and attendance.

1.2 Construction and Capacity

The circumstances surrounding the construction of the Old Trafford are interesting. The facility was never meant to be situated at its current location because before 1902, the current owner (Manchester United) was known as Newton Heath and were playing their matches at North Road and then later at Bank Street, Clayton (Murphy, 2006). These two grounds were technically unsuitable for the construction of a huge stadium and therefore in 1909, then Chairman, John Henry Davies was given the task to scout for a good site for constructing a new stadium for the club which had just won the First Division and the FA Cup. The club was subsequently renamed Manchester United and around the same time, Davies settled on a patch of land at the northern end of Warwick Road in Old Trafford neighbourhood. The club sourced the services of a professional Scottish, Archibald Leitch, who originally designed the facility to accommodate 100,000 persons (Inglis, 1996). The original design was a southern stand with a cover and three other normal terraced stands without covers. Ordinarily, Davies and his team projected that the construction works would cost £60,000 but due to unforeseen circumstances, the costs rose tremendously forcing the, J.J. Bentley, then secretary of the club to order that the facility’s capacity be reduced to 80,000 (Butt, 1995). Despite various challenges, the construction of the facility was concluded in 1909 and was officially inaugurated on 19 February 1910.

Old Trafford has undergone numerous refurbishments from its old pale look to the now admirable football facility across Europe. In 1936, the stadium underwent a refurbishment worthy £35,000 where a roof measuring about 80-yards in length was erected on the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand (initially United Road stand) which was initially without a roof (Bradon, 1978). However, this good work was short-lived as the facility was bombed by the Germans on 22 December 1940 during the Second World War. With the outbreak of the global war in 1939, the British military converted the facility to a depot. This prompted the Germans to consider it as a bombing target during the heat of the war. The facility was temporarily closed until 8 March 1941 when it resumed its use as a football ground only to be bombed a few days later (on 11 March 1941) by the Germans (McCartney, 1996). The second bombing occasioned immense damage especially on the southern stand forcing a closure of the facility until 24 August 1949 when it was able to host the first post-war football match albeit without cover. With the effects of the war slowly being forgotten, the desire to undertake phenomenal work on the facility in the coming years became intense.

Plans were in place to return the facility to its master plan. By 1951 a roof was restored to the southern stand and soon afterwards the other three stands were fitted with roofs. A £40,000 modern floodlighting system was installed in 1959 or thereabouts prompting a technical retouch of the southern stand to avoid casting a patch of shadow into the pitch during evening games (Bradon, 1978). The northern stand was restructured to allow for unobstructed viewing by fans before the 1966 FIFA World Cup, resulting in the creation of an additional space for about 20,000 spectators. A cost of about £350,000 was incurred. All the stands were restructured by 1973, with the old roof pillars replaced with cantilever roofing design, allowing a maximum view by the fans from all the stands and tiers of the pitch (Inglis, 1996). Dramatic growth of football hooliganism in England in the 1970s prompted for the erection of the first perimeter fence in the history of British football around the facility. The facility also underwent a major refurbishing in line with the owners desire to create a bowl-like effect. As Hibbs (2006) reports, this enhanced the communication between the spectators and the players as it channelled crowd noise to the pitch.

Notable post-war works have been done as a matter routine improvement process. An executive suit on the southern stand in 1975, an electronic scoreboard that replaced the old manual antic at the intersection between the northern and eastern stands in 1973, attachment of a series of floodlights running the length of the inner rim of the cantilevered roofing in 1987 (Inglis, 1996). However, a government directive prompted a conversion of the facility’s sitting arrangement into an all-sitter design. Effectively, this occasioned a removal of all the terraces on the front part of all the four stands hence reducing the capacity to a low of 44,000 spectators (Inglis, 1996: 238). Major improvements were made on the facility following resurgence in form of Manchester United in the 1990s. The northern stand was demolished and replaced with a large three-tiered stand covered by the largest cantilevered roof in Europe measuring about 192 feet (Inglis, 1996: 239). This effectively brought the ground’s capacity to 55,000 spectators. Two tiers were added to the eastern stand, opening in January 2000. As expected, the ground’s capacity was increased to 61,000 spectators and later to 68,217 spectators when an additional tier was added to the western stand (James, 2008). This effectively made Old Trafford the biggest stadium across the United Kingdom.

1.3 Structure and Facilities

Recent expansion drives have also been carried out at Old Trafford in a bid to increase its capacity and put it in the league of modern stadiums. Construction works were performed between July 2005 and May 2006 to add about 8,000 seats as part of additional tiers to the north-western and north-eastern sections of the facility (Inglis, 1996). In total, the facility could old 76,212 spectators, a capacity that would be reduced by 255 seats in 2009 following a reorganisation of the seating arrangement (Morgan, 2010). Overall, Old Trafford structure is divided into a total of four stands and four quadrants (Murphy, 2006). The northern stand has three tiers and two sections, the eastern and western stands have two tiers and two sections, and the southern stand has one tier and one section. On the other hand, the northern-eastern and north-western quadrants have one tier and two sections each, while the south-eastern quadrant has one tier and one section and the south-western quadrant has one section. Plans are underway to increase the ground’s capacity to about 95,000 spectators (Morgan, 2010). Arguably, this will be achieved by increasing the southern, Sir Alex Ferguson stand as well as the north-eastern and north-western stands.

Being the largest stand, the Sir Alex Ferguson stand (northern stand) can accommodate up to 26,000 spectators. Since it is the largest, the Sir Alex Ferguson stand has space for executive and hospitality suites and boxes such as the popular Red Café that comprises of a theme bar and restaurant, the Manchester United trophy room, and the Manchester United Museum. The museum is the one of its kind and by 2009, it had reached 300,000 visitors since it was opened in 1986 (Manchester United Museum, 2013). The northern stand was named Six Alex Ferguson in 5 November 2011 in honour of his 25 years of prolific performance as the Manchester United manager. A 9-foot statute of him (Ferguson) was erected on the outside part of the stand in 23 November 2012 in his honour as the longest serving and successful manager (BBC Sport, 2012). The southern stand carries the largest number of the facility’s executive and VIP suites. The middle upper tier of the stand hosts media personalities. This section also hosts television studios and the Manchester United TV Station, making this the only section of the facility that appears least often in TV broadcasts. The centre-most part of the southern stand also hosts dugout, the infamous Munich Tunnel, players’ dressing room, emergency exits, and large vehicle access point. The Stretford stand (western stand) hosts hard-core, nosiest and most loyal Manchester United Fans (Moore, 1996). It is here where a statute of Dennis Law, Manchester United living legend, stands.

Other facilities include a large club megastore at ground floor of the eastern stand operated by Nike. Also known as the Scoreboard end, the eastern stand hosts disabled and away fans, the club’s administrative offices, Sir Matt Busby statute, Munich Air Disaster plague, advertisements board, the club’s “holy trinity” statute comprising of Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law, and George Best (Hibbs, 2008). The Old Trafford pitch measures 105 by 68 meters and it is raised by 9 inches at the centre to allow for easy run off of water (White, 2007). A 10-meter tall tower hosting Hublot giant clock measuring 2-meter in diameter stands at the Manchester United car park and plans are underway to construct a fan base on the east side of the facility (Thompson, 2011). Overall, Old Trafford is home to many breathtaking structures and facilities, making it a world-class sporting facility.

1.4 Record AttendancesSince 1910, Old Trafford has been the permanent home of Manchester United, England’s most successful football clubs of all times. The first match was on 19 February 1910 between United and Liverpool, where United lost 4-3 to the visitors (White, 2008: 50). Notable football matches held in the facility include the replay of the 1911 FA Cup Final between Bradford City and Newcastle United after the teams failed to break the tie at Crystal Palace during normal and extra time. Bradford would win the cup following a 1-0 win. 58,000 spectators were in attendance during this final match (Murphy, 2006). The ground would host another FA Cup Final in 1915 where Sheffield United beat Chelsea by 3 goals to nil in front of about 50,000 spectators (Rollin & Rolling, 2008). The biggest attendance before the Second World War was 70,504 spectators when Manchester United thrashed Aston Villa 3 goals to 1 on 27 December 1920 (Murphy, 2006: 31). The first ever international match to be hosted in the facility was the 17 April 1926 match between England and Scotland. According to McCartney (1996), Scotland won 1-0 to England in front of 49,429 spectators.

Over the years, Old Trafford has continued to attract huge crowds especially during Manchester United home matches. However, the record attendance was reached when Wolverhampton Wanders took on Grimsby Town in a thrilling FA Cup semi-final held on 25 March 1939. According to Murphy (2006: 31), a total of 76,962 spectators were in attendance during this match. The first home game following the 1941 reopening (after German bombing during the Second World War) was played in front of 41,748 spectators and it ended in a 3-0 Manchester United win over Bolton Wanderers (White, 2008: 224). However, the record attendance for Old Trafford as an all-sitter ground is the 31 March 2007 Premier League match between Manchester United and Blackburn. Rollin and Rollin (2008: 254) report that 76,098 spectators were in attendance.

1.5 Conclusion

The Old Trafford stands tall among all-sitter football stadia across the world. The facility can accommodate up to 75,731 spectators and boasts of some of the world’s breathtaking structures and facilities including the infamous Sir Alex Ferguson stand, the Munich disaster plague, the Hublot clock tower, the Sir Alex Ferguson, Holy Trinity, Six Matt Busby, and Dennis Law statutes. It also has a megastore operated by Nike and the infamous Manchester United Museum. In its history, it has hosted 76,632 fans during the FA Cup semi-final held on 25 March 1939 between Wolverhampton Wanders took on Grimsby Town, and 76,098 fans as an all-sitter stadium on 31 March 2007 during a Premier League match between Manchester United and Blackburn. Achieving such a record attendance has been a milestone for the facility given its humble backgrounds in early 1900s and the subsequent German bombing during the Second World War.

2.0 PART TWO: FUTURE FEASIBILITY AND DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

2.1 Introduction

The Old Trafford master plan outlines that the need to create a facility that offers a perfect opportunity for stakeholders (fans, players, sponsors, managers, and the neighbouring community) to enjoy football. The original designer, Archibald Leitch was determined to create a safe, welcoming, and fascinating football ground that would accommodate as many as 80,000 spectators. This dream was however not achieved when the ground was inaugurated in 1910 and over the years, a number of setbacks including the Second World War bombing by the German troops have been experienced. As expected these disruptions drastically reduced the facility’s sitting capacity. However, major refurbishments made in the 1990s and 2000s have seen the facility’s capacity grow to 76,731 spectators and a number of other structural facilities included such as the Nike-operated megastore, the famous Manchester United Museum, the Red Café, several executive suites, private boxes, TV studios, car parks, and the. These improvements creates a great sense of longevity for the facility – the site is destined to offer stakeholders great services in the future including the Gary Neville-sponsored fans headquarters which is to be constructed in honour of the clubs loyal fans. This section of the essay discusses current options provided within the Old Trafford and future opportunities/development for the facility.

2.2 Currents Design Options Provided by Old Trafford

The Old Trafford offers a range of sporting, recreational and even economic services to its stakeholders. According to Inglis (1996), the main aim of Davies and Leitch were to construct a facility capable of offering a safe, welcoming and fascinating atmosphere for its visitors, players and spectators during elite competitions such as UEFA Champions League finals or even FIFA World Cup Finals (Inglis, 1996). As demonstrated in the preceding section of this essay, this noble dream has manifested to great heights going by the current design offerings that now don the Old Trafford. Notable current design offerings include the cantilevered roofing that covers the entire stands and quadrants of the facility including the main stand. This roof offers peace of mind to the spectators as it protects them from unfriendly weather such as strong sun rays during summer and rain during winter (James, 2008). The replacement of the pillar-supported roof with cantilevered roof improved the quality of match viewership because it gave the spectators un-obstructed view of the pitch. In addition, the cantilevered roof helps to channel spectator noise to the pitch hence bringing a strong connection between the spectators and the players. This enhances player morale (Morgan, 2010). Though one would argue that all premier league teams stadiums are covered using modern roofing technology, Old Trafford’s sheer makes it stand out among football stadia across Europe (White, 2008). In addition to the cantilevered roof, the four stands and quadrants gives the stadium a bowl like shape that allows maximum viewership from all angles (Football Ground Guide, 2013). In a nutshell, the facility’s current design is a site to behold both from the inside and the outside.

The ground’s tiers are quite steep to look at. The shot-end (eastern and western) stands look almost identical, with two large tiers and a large lower section that offer a close-up view of the pitch. Together with the other stands, these two stands give the facility a record club capacity of 76,731 spectators. The Sir Alex Ferguson stand which boasts of three tiers and a lower section, holds the record of the largest capacity across all premier league clubs in England (Football Ground Guide, 2013). At single tier and a lower section, the southern stand (main stand), stands in stark contrast with the other three redeveloped stands. A television gantry hands from the roof putting television viewers at a disadvantage because this is the least shown stand on television viewership. The facility has an imbalanced look because the main stand is smaller compared to the other three stands which have multiple tiers. It is from the main stand, however, where one can get the best view of the pitch below because the other larger three sides appear gigantic and towering. In what appear to be an unusual design aspect in Europe, players enter the pitch from the corner of the main stand and the fact that the central-most point of the pitch is raised by several inches than the fringes. The facility sets aside the away fans the southern-eastern quadrant which alongside with the southern stands offers the best angles for viewing the pitch below (Write, 2008). Here, up to 3,000 away fans can fit in. The section for the disabled lies alongside this section too.

2.3 Future Feasibility and Design Attributes

The dynamic nature of the football game has occasioned changes in the design of football stadia. According to Mitten (2007), the growing stature of club football across Europe has pushed stakeholder expectations a notch higher insofar as the future design attributes of stadia goes. For example, fans expect to get value added services every time they buy tickets to watch football matches. These value added services include in-stadium refreshments and catering services, quality TV coverage, quality in-stadium viewership, quality sound system, secure and ample parking, easy accessibility from public transport systems, comfortable seats, and secure stadiums that are free from hooliganism and terrorist activities (James, 2008). Government policies, public-private strategic partnerships, changing technology especially the intelligent venue stadium designs, changing customer tastes, changing business opportunities, changing building codes, and increased levels of innovation are directly responsible for the futuristic designs witnessed among football stadia (Morgan, 2010). For example, the Old Trafford has undergone immense transformations from a terraced facility to now an all-sitter ground that offers a host of sporting, economic, and recreational facilities to its visitors, players, and spectators. Arguably, these contemporary design offerings underscore the fact that this facility is indeed futuristic. It is futuristic in the sense that the owners have over the years succeeded in keeping it in tandem of the prevailing consumer tastes, policy changes, and technological trends.

2.3.1 Fan Experience

Past developments made after the Second World War and in the 1990s and 2000s show that the owners of the Old Trafford (Manchester United) are determined to give fans value for their monies and time. The euphoria that has engulfed European club football as characterised by the huge amount of transfer fee paid for top talent such as Christiano Ronaldo and now Gareth Bale is a sure sign that clubs are willing to invest in modernising their facilities, strengthen the in-stadium experience as a way of improving match attendance. Since clubs recoup the huge transfer fees they pay for players through gate collections (Morgan, 2010), it is only wise to insinuate that Manchester United will enhance fan experience by making the Old Trafford more interactive and welcoming to fans. This may entail installing modern electronic devices in various points of the facility to monitor and track fans behaviour patterns and respond intelligently to these behaviour patterns by increasing in-stadium experiences (McCartney, 1996). In essence, the club will most likely increase and magnify offerings such as club sponsorship opportunities to the facility especially for overseas fans in order to broaden the scope of spectator experiences beyond the fringes of the conventional areas. Specifically, the club should expand its offerings beyond the conventional front doors of the facility and create a sense of brand loyalty among its fans.

The club can design a conduit that will encourage fans to engage with the facility’s experiences and offerings while still at their homes or on their way to attending a match at the stadium. This could take the form of virtual ticketing, virtual ordering of club merchandise, virtual tours of the stadium, and virtual competitions where free goodies and free stadium literature are dished out to successful participants (Sherlock, 2013). Currently, the stadium offers its fans free virtual tours within the stadium and especially around the infamous Manchester United Museum that showcases various club and stadium souvenirs and other interesting works of art (Morgan, 2010). The fact that the club engages school going children to take part in painting competitions depicting the stadium’s past, present and future conditions (Manchester United, 2013), makes it possible that in future the club may consider extending the current fan experiences beyond the stadium’s front doors and reaching out to fans in the neighbouring communities and also across the world.

Some of the most notable technological tools that the club should employ in order to improve fan experience include Wi-Fi, data mining, augmented reality, social media, eyes on the game consoles, use of large HD screens, and dynamic pricing. Wi-Fi connection will encourage fans to gain access to and share live feeds of crucial information such as match statistics on social media (Morgan, 2010). The club should also consider developing in-stadium apps to encourage information sharing among fans seated in different tiers and stands. This technology is already in place in notable facilities such as Kansas City’s Sporting Park, United States (Sherlock, 2013). The club can liaise with third party internet service providers to ensure that reliable internet connection is availed in areas surrounding the stadium. This will allow data mining to take place seamlessly.

Data mining will allow the stadium administrators to tract spectator buying patterns and therefore improve and customise services offered within the stadium. For instance, mined data can be used to direct spectators to stadium hotspots. Augmented reality entails modern technologies such as Google Glass where spectators can connect directly with live action while still within the stadium and therefore gain more match-experiences such as reviewing actions to get a clear viewership (Sherlock, 2012). Stadium pages in popular social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will enhance spectator interaction while in the stadium and therefore boost attendance. Eyes on the game make it possible for spectators to control viewership as they allow behind the scene views of different activities that take place during a match. On the other hand, dynamic pricing will entail the creation of dynamic environments that change by a flip of a tab or switch, making every experience in any of the stadiums facilities more fluid and fascinating for the spectators (Sherlock, 2013). Lastly, the use of large HD screens will allow for customisation of in-stadium viewership and prompt the spectators to become more active in programming.

2.3.2 Operational Sustainability

Old Trafford stands a chance to become more efficient in the range of services it offers to its stakeholders. The huge gate collection fee that Manchester United gathers from the facility can be used in future to automate activities and therefore reduce the amount of costs and time spent when performing these activities. For example, the regular incidents of hooliganism and tasks involved in crowd control can be effectively can be undertaken if the club employs modern crowd control systems that monitor and report any incidences of hooliganism before they get out of hand. Further, the club can invest the monies it gets from player transfer fees green energy such as solar powered floodlights, water collection and treatment for use in watering the pitch and in washrooms, and tapping of heat released during match days to aid in tasks such as internal heating during winter (Sherlock, 2013). The fact that there are plans to expand the southern stand of the facility creates a perfect opportunity for Manchester United to enhance operational sustainability of most of the activities carried out in the facility (Sherlock, 2012). From a different standpoint, the club can make the facility operationally sustainable and hence more receptive to the needs and interest of the community, spectators, players, and investors by making it compatible with its neighbourhoods. There are all indicators that Manchester United will and should make the facility part and parcel of the Old Trafford community and not just a facility for the match day alone.

2.4 Conclusion

The Old Trafford has fascinating offerings such as the Red Café, the Manchester United Museum, a range of executive suites and private boxes, the Nike-operated megastore, and of course the upcoming fan headquarters which will be funded by Gary Neville. However, Manchester United should improve these offerings in order to match the ever dynamic stakeholder experiences. Specifically, the club should consider improving fan experience by installing modern informational technology tools such as Wi-Fi, data mining, augmented reality, social media, eyes on the game consoles, use of large HD screens, and dynamic pricing. Together, these tools will make in-stadium viewership more interactive, meaningful, and fascinating. Ultimately, this will enhance match attendance and therefore the club will generate more revenue, create shareholder value and keep the facility in tandem with trending design experiences. Of importance too is the need to make in-stadium offerings and activities operationally sustainable in order to enhance efficiency, eliminate redundancy, and reduce operational costs. The benefits of operational sustainability will be transferred to the spectators in the form of reduced ticket fees and value added offerings.

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