Stand and deliver
Louisa Daley speaks to Debbie Rigney, marketing and PR manager at Stadium Experience, about what stadiums can offer corporate events.
With in-person events returning, client expectations are increasing, and corporate clients are no different. Corporates are now looking for unique venues, which can host events that are both outside of the box, and bespoke to their needs.
Under this unique umbrella of venues, are stadia. To find out what stadium venues can offer corporate events, Louisa Daley spoke to Debbie Rigney, marketing and PR manager at Stadium Experience, a collaboration of 40 major football, rugby and cricket clubs across the UK and Ireland.
Unique selling point
“Stadium venues pride themselves on offering something truly unique compared to more traditional locations,” says Rigney. “We can offer that little bit extra to entice and motivate delegates,” she adds.
For example, stadiums can offer corporates various breakout opportunities such as stadium tours, rooftop walks and pitchside photos, Rigney tells me.
On top of this, stadiums have well-being in mind and often “help corporates feel more relaxed and invigorated being in a bright, airy space with the added bonus of views of the pitch,” she says.
While these are all added extras, Rigney says stadium venues still offer corporates the event essentials. Be it complimentary car parking, catering, or flexible and adaptable spaces for events of all sizes.
“We can cater for a wide range of events, from small meetings in executive boxes, to awards dinners and conferences in large hospitality suites, and even team-building in concourses,” she adds.
With this in mind, what does the corporate event calendar look like this year? I ask Rigney.
“Corporate events took a little longer than private events to recover to the pre-pandemic levels,” reveals Rigney. This, she tells me, was due to the lack of client confidence, which was experienced everywhere in our industry.
“But enquiries for corporate events, such as awards and annual conferences, are definitely picking up,” she continued.
“The great thing about hosting events in stadia is the variety of sizes of rooms available. If a company is looking to do an event with more square footage in order to keep everyone safe and comfortable, then stadia have the ability to offer that,” she says.
The majority of stadiums’ conference and event business are not club-affiliated. However, they are slightly intertwined, which means stadiums can face challenges when hosting and planning these types
One of the challenges is waiting for fixtures to be announced, or the moving of fixtures mid-season.
“For events that book over a year in advance, our stadiums will hold multiple dates and confirm once fixtures are set,” she reveals.
“But our venues are clear with customers from the outset on what the process is if dates do change, and will always accommodate as much as possible,” says Rigney.
While stadiums are indeed a unique venue for corporate events, Rigney reminds us, “you don’t need to be a football or rugby fan to appreciate a memorable event”.