The ESSMA Summit took place from 19-20 January in San Mamés stadium Bilbao, with 305 participants from 29 countries around the world. 

On January 19th before the official start of the ESSMA Summit, the first Stadium Development Seminar was hosted in San Mames stadium Bilbao. During this seminar, 4 European stadium projects were presented together with the current projects in Turkey to an audience of more than 120 people. 

Over 300 industry professionals will assemble at the at The Westin Hotel & Spa, Doha (Qatar) from 16 to 19 May to discuss the new market developments and challenges in the stadium industry. 

I have been lucky enough to participate to the first USA Fan Experience Tour with ESSMA last September with my ESSMA Corporate Member Representative hat. The program was both intense and exhaustive. Within 5 days, we were to visit seven remarkable sporting venues in both New York and Dallas and despite the hectic schedule; a handful of courageous participants I was not part of, found time to go for a run each time they could.

Feyenoord has been an active ESSMA member for quite some time now. To get a better understanding about how they deal with pitch management at De Kuip, we had an interview with Erwin Beltman, head groundsman and two-time winner of the VVSC Pitch competition in the Netherlands. 

On Wednesday the 28 of October, the ESSMA staff was invited to explore the new training complex and the recently developed stand at SV Zulte Waregem.

Following the research a Belgian newspaper conducted on Belgian stadium infrastructure, ESSMA presents a case study focusing on Belgian stadium development. Since the completion of the Ghelamco Arena of KAA Gent, some major changes have been made.

For this first time, ESSMA organized a Fan Experience Tour to the USA from 2-7 September. A delegation of 23 stadium experts visited 7 venues in New York and Dallas. The technical stadium visits and presentations were enriched with 2 match day experiences, enabling the participants to see how fan entertainment is managed in practice. 

ESSMA conducted a case study on French stadium infrastructure following the ESSMA Stadium Tour in France (2-4 June) which brought the participants to some of the EURO 2016 host venues. This study is carried out in order to inform the ESSMA members/partners and all input used comes from members and previous studies completed by ESSMA. 

In the beginning of February, FC Zenit was the first club to try out the new ESSMA ‘Join the ‘X’ Manager’ programme. This practical educational programme is all about one-on-one education where stadium professionals can experience match day preparations with other peers (equal professionals in comparable stadiums) in order to increase their management knowledge.
 Hosts for this programme were Emirates Stadium (Arsenal FC) and Etihad Stadium (Manchester City).