Game Changing Venue Design Trends



Bart Miller
, National Sports Market Leader and a senior principal at Walter P Moore, examines how modern venues have evolved to serve as multi-purpose year-round desintations in this article for March 2022 issue of Civil+Structural Engineer.

The design and construction of sports venues largely stalled in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic created massive uncertainty amongst professional franchises, venue developers, and local governments. For perhaps the first time, the ability of sports venues to host large crowds safely and the reliability of event-related revenue was in question.

The market has rebounded in the past year based primarily on increased demand and heightened expectations for live events and entertainment intensified by the pandemic. In addition, ballooning media rights deals in professional and collegiate sports, new investment from private developers taking advantage of a favorable financing environment and the proven success of multi-purpose venues in creating new and diverse revenue streams have experts predicting a building boom over the next few years.

Multi-purpose Venues and Mixed-use Developments

This coming wave of new sports venues will likely continue pre-pandemic trends, which included strategies to maximize revenue both inside and outside the venue walls. The primary goal of many new projects is to deliver a truly multi-purpose venue capable of anchoring a mixed-use development or entertainment district to draw crowds before and after events. Venues are being designed strategically to complement and sustain surrounding entertainment, retail, hotel, and office space by attracting a wide variety of events, a diverse array of fans and customers, and maximizing the number of event dates.

For example, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, anchors the 298-acre Hollywood Park. The stadium is home to two National Football League teams—the Chargers and the Rams. The area currently includes five acres of green space and the 6,000-seat YouTube Theater. In time, a 300-room hotel, nearly 5 million square feet of office space, 890,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, and 2,500 residences will be constructed.

With the increased emphasis on concerts and other touring acts in particular, every new venue must be purposefully designed to attract and accommodate top performers and massive crowds, not just on game days, but throughout the year and across a wide range of events and attractions.

Developers and entertainment agencies are leading many of these projects during design and construction, driving new business to the venues once complete.

To read the full article, visit the Civil+Structural Engineer March 2022 digital issue
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Bart Miller, PE, is the National Sports Market Leader and a senior principal at Walter P Moore. He can be reached at bmiller@walterpmoore.com.

Photo credit: © Richard Ebbers, Design by Gensler in partnership with RINKA