League One football club AFC Wimbledon has launched its new business club that is part of a drive to bring businesses together in the community and offers members the chance to pitch their products or services to the club. The launch event was held in the 110-year-old New Wimbledon Theatre.
AFC Wimbledon, which was formed in 2002 after the original Wimbledon FC were relocated to Milton Keynes, recently won planning permission to build a new football stadium in Wimbledon, on the site of the now-closed Greyhound Stadium, itself just metres away from the club’s old Plough Lane ground. The club currently plays in the 4,700-capacity Cherry Red Records Stadium in neighbouring Kingston-upon-Thames.
The new stadium will be built in stages, and is expected to open in 2019 with an initial capacity of 11,000, with permission to expand to 20,000 seated at a later date. The new stadium will feature events space ideal for conferencing and meetings, which will be built into the main stand and features panoramic views out over the pitch. Exact capacities are yet to be confirmed.
At the launch of the AFC Wimbledon Business Club, leader of Merton Council, cllr Stephen Alambritis, said that hospitality events are key to earning revenue on non-matchdays. He told CN: “I grew up opposite Craven Cottage [home of Fulham Football Club] and saw first hand on non-matchdays it sitting there closed, doing nothing. Times have changed, and Wimbledon’s new ground will need to be open seven days a week, from Monday to Sunday.”
Football stadiums have become increasingly popular destinations for conferences and meetings, as well as for events such as product launches. CN recently explored this trend, which you can read in our dedicated supplement here.
Commenting on the purpose of the Business Club, AFC Wimbledon commercial director Ivor Heller said in an address: “This business club is about people coming together, and we will likely have two things in common: football and community. If people are enjoying the atmosphere of the events we run, then it’s going to breed business and build relationships and, as a consequence, the football team will do better.”
Over 80 delegates, including leader of Merton Council, cllr Stephen Alambritis, former Premier League footballer John Salako, and Hotel Planner founder Tim Hentchel, attended the Business Club launch. Wimbledon-based Vallebona provided catering, while local cocktail expert Myatt’s Fields Cocktails ensured no one went thirsty.
Those interested in joining the AFC Wimbledon Business Club should contact Pietro Palladino on Pietro.Palladino@afcwimbledon.ltd.uk