From 29 August to 1 September, ESSMA will organise its Global Stadium tour to several venues in Miami and Minneapolis. Patrick Talty will show participants around the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Recently, ESSMA interviewed Patrick Talty, General Manager at the U.S. Bank Stadium about the day-to-day operations.
What are your day-to-day duties at U.S. Bank Stadium on match days and non-match days?
On non-match day, I am responsible for the overall operation of the facility from cleaning, security, maintenance, and marketing. As General Manager of the stadium I work in conjunction with the owners of the facility, the primary tenants of the stadium the Minnesota Vikings, and the City of Minneapolis in making decisions related to the operation of the stadium. I really value the importance of building a successful team from the ground up and I make sure that I meet all our potential full-time staff during the interview process.
On match day, I spend a lot of time walking around the stadium ensuring that our service expectations are being met by the staff, and making sure all the processes we’ve put in place are going as planned. I’m always looking for more efficiencies and service excellence on our match days. Rewarding employees that are going above and beyond is something that we work hard to do at U.S. Bank Stadium, so I’m always keeping my eye out for that employee that’s going above and beyond and providing great customer service. I check the windows at the main entrance to the stadium before every major event to make sure they’ve been cleaned from at least 15 feet down; good customer service starts from the moment the guest walks in and we want their experience to be perfect right from the start.
"Employee engagement is key to providing great customer service, we have developed a comprehensive employee rewards and recognition program."
How large is the team you work with?
47 full-time managers and a total of 75 people when you include our full-time cleaning and maintenance staff. On match day, it requires roughly 3,000 people to run the stadium.
The stadium opened last year, on the same location. How did that impact the whole operation?
Well, the advantage to building on the same site from a traffic perspective was that people already knew how to get to the stadium and they knew where their parking would be. Being on the same site in an urban setting is restrictive in that you only have so much space to build. Hiring the building the management team began well before the construction was complete so you had to put a lot of processes and plans together without having seen how the building operated, which can be a challenge.
Was there specific training for the staff, in order to prepare them for the new stadium?
You start with an all new staff because there was no carry over from when the previous stadium was there, the training to prepare staff for a new stadium was very extensive from wayfinding and directional, to policy and procedures. Everything was completely brand new training.
The stadium has some exclusive hospitality areas, can you give some examples of the hospitality offers?
We have seven different premium areas, and each of them have unique offerings that are specific to that space. One focuses more on the fantasy football fans, there’s another club that is geared towards a very corporate client and feels geared towards a business professional. The food and beverage offerings vary, some of the premium offerings are all-inclusive and some are a la carte. The variety of premium areas allows the patrons to make the experience what they want. In addition to the 7 clubs we have a full complement of private suite options ranging in sizes and levels, including suites that are right on the pitch. These all offer high-end food and beverage options that allow for the suite owner to pick foods and beverages that suits them.
"I really value the importance of building a successful team from the ground up and I make sure that I meet all our potential full-time staff during the interview process."
At our previous USA tours we saw that the ‘American experience’ is quite different than what we are used to. Can you present the different SMART/Technology aspects at U.S. Bank stadium to further improve fan experience and engagement?
We have a complete WIFI and DAS system which allows fans to stay connected to their mobile devices from anywhere in the stadium at all times. We’ve ensured that the bandwidth for patrons to use can handle the volume guests at our major events. All our TV’s are connected through an IPTV system, this allows us to customize and provide different messaging and entertainment features throughout the building. We also have integrated team and building mobile applications for guests that allow guests to order food from their mobile device, purchase tickets, or find their seat all right from their phone! In addition, the fan facing technology features, there are a lot of back-of-house technology features that allow for efficiencies in our overall operations.
In Europe, we are more and more looking at ways to incentivise both staff and fans. Can you tell us more about how you are working on this?
Employee engagement is key to providing great customer service, we have developed a comprehensive employee rewards and recognition program. This program starts at the top of all organizations that work at the stadium and is filtered throughout the organization. We recognize employees who are living SKOL Service with lapel pins for them to wear as recognition of their great work. Next, we try and surprise our employees with breakfast at work days and small gifts like blankets and scarves, and hot chocolate on cold event days. Most importantly, we have developed a comprehensive training program that all stadium employees go through that focuses on customer service and fan engagement, ensuring that they have the tools they need to be successful.
We will visit the U.S. Bank Stadium during our Global Stadium Tour. Why should ESSMA members join the tour to Minneapolis and Miami: what would you like to show to the delegates or which takeaways would you like them to take home?
The versatility of the U.S. Bank Stadium that allows us to host things such as X Games, concerts, basketball, baseball, football and Soccer – not all stadiums are designed with such diverse events in mind. Along with the versatility of the building, the high-end finishes throughout the entire facility are not limited to just the clubs and suites, high-end finishes are located throughout the stadium even on the main concourse.
One of the criticism fans have is that new venues all look quite familiar to one another and lose their specific atmosphere. We will be able to attend a game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Which kind of atmosphere can we expect?
U.S. Bank Stadium is unique to the Minnesota Vikings, you will know that you’re in Vikings territory when you come to a game here. From the traditions that have been created, to signage, to the food offerings, it truly represents the bold north.
"The fan facing technology features, there are a lot of back-of-house technology features that allow for efficiencies in our overall operations."
You were at the previous ESSMA Summit in Lyon, France. What did you take with you?
My takeaway for the 2017 Summit would have been the facilities in the United States and Overseas all deal with a lot of the same issues. Facility maintenance, safety, employee engagement are all common themes that you deal with any venue you no matter where you are.
What can we improve to make it a better Summit in 2018 (Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland)?
It seems like there’s a real focus on making it about learning from your peers in the industry and that is really a nice thing to have at a conference. Sometimes conferences have a lot of vendors trying to sell you things, and ESSMA does a good job at making it more about connecting with other stadium managers and industry professionals.
You have worked at several venues in the USA and even in Abu Dhabi. You must have seen numerous stadiums throughout the world. Which one has really made an impact on you and why?
From a historical standpoint, Camp Nou had the most impact on me. It was amazing to me to think of all the history that has occurred in that building and all the passionate fans that have been there. From a crowd atmosphere Stamford Bridge was one of my favorites, it was truly electrifying there.
However, U.S. Bank Stadium wraps the fan excitement into the striking architecture of the facility, creating a memorable match day experience and is quickly becoming of my favorite stadiums.
|More information about the Global Tour|
Go to our Flickr account for pictures about the ESSMA Summit 2017 in Lyon.
The SoccerIn Global Convention 2017 will take place 19-21 July in Shanghai, China. During this annual gathering, participants will exchange opinions and network on topics including Big Data, Sports Medicine, E-Sports, Stadia construction and more.
Guillaume Neveux, Business Development Manager - EMEA of EVS, will give a keynote presentation about ‘the Future of stadia’ and will take part in the panelist about ‘the Future of Football Broadcasting and Marketing’.
Stadium Partner EVS Broadcast Equipment is a leader in the design of hardware and software for the production and playout of sport, news and TV programs in both live and near live environments. Their innovative Live Slow Motion system revolutionized live broadcasting and their technology is now widely used in nonlinear editing and High Definition Television across the television broadcast market worldwide.
Keynote: the Future of stadia
The focus of this keynote will be on fan experience in stadia with video as a key element. Topics discussed will be solutions for game day entertainment, who the new connected fan is and how to create connected content.
Panelist: The Future of Football Broadcasting and Marketing
Neveux will be the moderator of this panellist together with Sergi Torrents, Country Manager Greater China, LaLiga; Harry Wang, Associated General Manager, Charm Sports; and Tobia Kronenwett, Head of Business Development, sonoVTS.
With topics including:
Find out what the stadium industry has to show us and what we can expect from the future!
Image: Real Betis
Images: Crawford Architects
Belgian club KAA Gent opened their new training complex only five months after the first stone was laid. The 2014-2015 champions of the Belgian Jupiler Pro League see the new facilities as a necessary step to become one of the biggest clubs in Belgium. Four years ago they also built a completely new stadium, the Ghelamco Arena.
The training centre has all the latest innovations and was designed by the head coach, Hein Vanhaezebrouck. The players will have their own rooms in case they need to rest. Furthermore, the complex has a fitness centre, a swimming pool and wellness, a special running track with stairs, a tennis-football field and multiple pitches.
Stadium Partner SGL, developed new products to solve the problem of plant stress and turf grass diseases. A combination of a fan and mist can cool down the grass while fungal diseases are prevented by means of UV-C light. These are interesting methods groundsmen and greenkeepers could implement to manage their pitch during the summer, whilst being environmentally aware.Stadiums such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid C.F. and FC Porto have already implemented these grass cooling and disease treatment systems.
In almost every stadium a lack of air circulation occurs because of high stands and closed corners, which often results in plant stress. The TC50 is a system that cools down the grass, in order to avoid or counteract plant stress. The system works according the principle of ‘adiabatic cooling’. A consistent stream of cool mist is sprayed over the playing surface by the fan. The mist abstracts the heat from the surface, making the mist evaporate and leaving behind a cooler playing surface. Since the mist abstracts the heat from the surface, it evaporates before touching the grass, so the surface stays dry.
The UVC180 offers a biological and sustainable solution for fungal diseases treatment, by destroying active growing fungi with UV-C light. This method is also called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). The short-wave part of the UV spectrum (UV-C) is used to kill fungi and prevent diseases, without affecting the grass plant. SGL also developed a disease forecast model, which calculates the diseases pressure and the necessary frequency of treatment.
These new tools will assist in maintaining a healthy pitch during warm summers and contribute to the environmental responsibility.
|More about SGL|
Thanks to ESSMA’s Stadium Partner Get2Know (G2K), Egyptian fans were able to attend the CAF Champions League game between Al Ahly (Egypt) and Wydad (Morocco). 10.000 fans were allowed into the Borg El Arab Stadium. This was only the second time fans were allowed in an Egyptian stadium since 74 people died due to rival fans fighting during a football game in 2012. Fans were back allowed in 2015, but new fights showed they weren’t ready yet.
For this game, fans had to sign up online and give information like demographic data, ID number, portrait photo and a digital copy of the identity card. They could easily print their e-tickets at home. Every ticket was sold within 48 hours.
At the stadium, the security staff controlled the barcodes that were directly synchronised and compared with the database. Fans without official tickets were identified in a matter of seconds. The control lasted no longer than 10 seconds on average per person.
In the end, Al Ahly won the game 2-0 without any trouble in the stands.
“The intensive preparation has paid off: The entrance control at Borg El Arab Stadium has been a huge success and will be served as a best practice for future matches, where we hope to allow even more fans. We are very happy about enabling this live experience in a safe environment to the Egyptian football fans again. With this game, Al Ahly has opened the stadium doors to its fans once again.”
Omar El Gohary, CTO of G2K Group
“The Security Concept of Falcon Group and the cooperation with G2K has been excellent. We were able to send a great message to all peaceful people in this country and beyond country borders by opening the stadium for the public again.”
Mahmoud Taher, President Al Ahly Cairo.
Find out what the stadium industry has to show us and what we can expect from the future!
Images, courtesy: HOK
Images, courtesy: Architecturetoday
Images, courtesy: Populous
During the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus F.C. and Real Madrid C.F. travelling fans had the opportunity to use the Cardiff 2017 Travel Guide App to enjoy a smooth and pleasurable experience before and during the final.
The main challenge to address was the limited transport and accommodation capacity in the city of Cardiff. As a result, Steer Davies Gleave developed a solution in which all travelling fans were helped. The Cardiff 2017 Travel Guide App, an event-focused digital product, presented a dynamic and personalised way to engage with fans.
As part of the app, the platform brought together market-leading technology vendors, which included a location intelligence solution that augmented the situational awareness and geo-targeted messaging and deliver:
Its key objective was to address and aid travelling fans. In total over 10,000 fans downloaded the app with 500,000 screen views, an average of 7 sessions per user and 50 geo-targeted messages, with 30,000 messages sent. At the day of the final itself, there were over 5,000 active users.
The Cardiff 2017 Travel Guide App included:
Steer Davies Gleave, the designer of the app and Corporate Partner of ESSMA, is an independent, global consultancy advising on transport and mobility. Other major events during which they were involved in the planning and delivery are the Summer Olympics London 2012 and the Rugby World Cup 2015.
|Read more about Steer Davies Gleave|
The ESSMA-BASIS Smart & Sustainable Stadium Workshop was co-hosted by Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium on Day 1 and the Rugby Football Union (RFU’s) Twickenham Stadium on Day 2. Both ESMMA and BASIS (British Association for Sustainable Sport) members attended the workshop with insights on topics ranging from energy efficiency & waste management to hospitality & innovative ticketing in smart stadiums and fan & sponsor management.
|Highlights Day 1|
|Highlights Day 2|
Presentations of the Pitch Management Workshop are available for all ESSMA Members. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your copies.
Questions about the content discussed during the workshops? Contact email@example.com
Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures
All ESSMA Workshops are put together with the core philosophy of sharing content, organizing discussions, introducing new technologies and trends and facilitating networking opportunities among industry peers. Representatives of ESSMA Leagues, Federations, Clubs and Stadiums and ESSMA Stadium Partners and Strategic Partners are brought together for a useful 2-day event.
ESSMA’s next workshop will take participants to Turin, where Juventus Stadium will be hosts of the ESSMA Fan Entertainement Workshop, 3 to 4 October. More details: http://stadium.essma-events.eu/
We offer a wide range of services to our member base, always striving to bring the best possible value. Go to the ESSMA Services website: http://www.essma-services.eu/ for more information.
|Overview ESSMA workshops and events 2017|
By doing so the LaLiga club will meet the latest standards of international sports federations and broadcasters and will be able to entertain its fans with amazing pre-match light shows.
Furthermore, the multifunctionality of the stadium will evolve thanks to the new lighting capability making it a dynamic venue for sporting events, concerts and other events.
The new lighting will include the 4K resolution (ultra-high definition TV), standard for LaLiga in Spain. The latest technologies, like movable colour spots combined with pitch lighting and perimeter LED displays will be installed which will enhance the fan experience.
“The partnership is a new step in the consolidation of the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium as a first-class venue, following the comprehensive refurbishments we have undertaken since the summer of 2015. We believe it is important for us to have lighting that meets the demands of the television broadcasters and in that sense we are enormously pleased for Philips Lighting to implement this technology.”
José Castro - Sevilla FC President
“It is fitting that Sevilla, the oldest soccer club in Spain’s top-flight division, is also a technology trailblazer. The new pitch lighting will provide fans with a stadium experience that is unprecedented in the country. It enables the stadium to compete at the highest level as a venue for international events and of course fans watching at home will not be left out. They will be able to follow their favorite players and all the action in the crisp detail of 4K.”
Josep Martínez - CEO of Philips Lighting Spain and Portugal
On the other side of Seville, Philips Lighting and Real Betis Balompié have reached an agreement to become partners. The Dutch company will provide Led lights for the pitch, as well as some inner facilities in the Benito Villamarín Stadium. Finally, eight of the VIP boxes in the stadium will from now on be equipped with high standard Modular lighting.