Interview: Heracles Almelo’s goal to build the most comfortable stadium

ESSMA interviewed Rob Toussaint, General Director at Heracles Almelo concerning commercial stadium exploitation, the impact of renovating their stadium and their next steps.

After renovating the Polman stadium in 2015, the total capacity increased from 8,500 to 12,080 with an average attendance of 91%. Key aspects of the stadium project included: a closed stadium without open corners, fans being closer to the pitch, meeting today’s modern standards e.g. WiFi, hospitality area, catering, etc.

It was the goal of Heracles Almelo to build the most comfortable stadium for its fans. How has this been realised?

With today’s facilities (and Dutch people being tall), your seat and comfort are important aspects including enough leg space, wider seats, etc. Furthermore, easy access to your seat and to the F&B corner without having to queue too long creates a pleasant stadium experience. In addition, providing WiFi is also imperative to meet today’s modern stadium standards.

“We’re not the biggest club of the Netherlands and we will not build the biggest stadium, but we do want to build the most comfortable and welcoming stadium of the Netherlands, Europe or even the world.”

What are the results? Are people staying longer in the stadium and do they spend more money?

As every European club, we want our fans coming earlier to the stadium and staying longer. Attracting fans to the stadium before the game is still a challenge. Typically, they stay maximum 2 hours after the match. However, this season we had a game where fans stayed up to 5 hours afterwards. Interrelated with fans staying longer, they of course spend more money as well. Furthermore, it’s important for us that fans have a nice day/evening out and that they are willing to come back because they had a memorable experience.

“To give fans the best possible experience during matchday, F&B can be ordered with a view on the pitch so they don’t have to miss a minute of the game.”

Which next steps will be taken at Heracles Almelo?

We started with eSports and currently have one full-time eSports player. Furthermore, we want to integrate a bowling centre in the stadium. In the season 2015/2016 Heracles Almelo won the KNVB Expertise ‘Overall stadium visit’ Fan Award.

“As we play on artificial turf, after the game, kids can go and play on our pitch.”

Log in to the ESSMA Knowledge Platform to learn more about:

  • Innovative projects at Heracles Almelo
  • Their sponsor strategy and sponsor journey
  • Multifunctionality and commercial exploitation
  • How they increased their revenue on matchdays

Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures.

 Access his presentation on the ESSMA Knowledge Platform

Posted on 26/04/2018 in: