LFP Belgian Stadium Tour: ESSMA facilitated visit, placing knowledge exchange at the centre

ESSMA supported the French Professional Football League – LFP – with a Belgian stadium tour for 30 representatives from 13 clubs. The delegation visited KV Oostende, Royal Antwerp FC, KAA Gent, KV Mechelen and STVV to listen and learn how they are managing topics within CRM, hospitality, ticketing, construction and revenue generation.

The clubs shared useful insights, we have listed some points in this overview. As a close, we share the general takeaways from this interesting stadium tour which started in Ostend.

KV Oostende Versluys Arena – Hospitality and CRM & Fan Experience

  • Have a warm and unique hospitality in place at the club
  • Create a personal relationship with your sponsors; define an evaluation plan and determine key moments: execute and evaluate sponsor activations
  • Have the right CRM tools in place to know your fans; at KV Oostende they gather data from their VIPs thanks to ESSMA’s Corporate Partner iXpole

KAA Gent – A multifunctional and connected stadium

  • Treat every fan as a VIP: concentrate on catering, comfort and security, make sure to integrate families and have the infrastructure in place for disabled people
  • More than a stadium: a multifunctional site with offices, retail and hotel and extra activities which provide additional revenue streams
  • A connected stadium: fans want to feel part of a community with the club and other fans; focus on convenience, orientation, mobility and entertainment solutions for your fans
  • A connected stadium: integrate technology to facilitate processes: consult the pitch quality online, remote control pitch lighting and irrigation, have security checklists and online communication solutions for staff

Royal Antwerp FC – Stadium Development

At Royal Antwerp FC, the LFP delegation received more information regarding the construction of ‘Tribune 1’ which will be a 16,600 m2 complex with 5,600 seated places. This is the first step in the club’s redevelopment and an answer to the potential of the club.

Yellow Red KV Mechelen – Stadium Development

  • New revenue streams impact stadium development, for example the integration of a crèche, fitness, restaurants
  • Maintain a close relationship with your fans during development; make them feel proud and part of the project

Stayen – Multifunctional site

The last stop of the LFP Belgian Stadium Tour was the Stayen site, home of STVV. Stayen is a multipurpose complex including:

  • A synthetic pitch (possibility to host corporate events)
  • Business areas: 21 Skyboxes, 20 office spaces and 8 meeting rooms
  • Retail: several supermarkets and other retail stores
  • Parking areas under and around the stadium
  • Restaurants: inside the stadium and on-site
  • Hotel: 77 rooms and a wellness and fitness centre

ESSMA would like to thank all clubs involved for their valuable insights. Stadium knowledge sharing is at the core of our organisation. The key takeaways of the LFP Stadium Tour were as follow:

  • Stadium infrastructure is the base of growth for each football cub
  • Every stadium project (on this Belgian Tour) started with a third-party investment: the owner (KV Oostende), the supporters (KV Mechelen) or the developer (Ghelamco, both Royal Antwerp FC and KAA Gent)
  • Complementary services are crucial for the profitability: e.g. rental of party area, shared parking, etc.
  • Retail: interesting for ‘on site services’ to enhance the interaction with the local community including supermarkets, day-nursery, laundry service, etc. to contribute to a pleasant living environment
  • Office spaces: focus on-working areas for start-ups and scale-ups instead of large office areas whose main intention is visibility (e.g. Deloitte)