LNR Stadium Tour to Wales supported by ESSMA

ESSMA supported LNR (Ligue Nationale de Rugby) for the second year in a row with the organisation of a stadium tour for its clubs. During the three-day visit, over 25 French rugby club delegates visited several venues in Wales including Principality Stadium, Cardiff City Stadium, Liberty Stadium, Parc Y Scarlets and Ashton Gate Stadium.


Day 1

The 73,931 capacity Principality Stadium was the first stop of the tour. Darren Crossman - Facilities & Safety Manager at Principality Stadium -  provided an in-depth look at the history of the home of Welsh National Rugby Union Team and its daily operations. He explained how the venue was constructed to deal with the challenge of organising different types of events and how the integration of the retractable roof helps them to do so. He also focused on safety and explained how their internal stewarding company helps them attract and train new stewards to work in the stadium. 

After his presentation, Darren Crossman guided the group on in-depth tour of the facilities. 


Day 2

Matthew Daniel - Chief of Operations - kicked-off Day 2 at Liberty Stadium with a presentation on why they opted to construct a stadium that could be used for both football and rugby as Swansea City FC and Ospreys Rugby play their home matches at the venue. This dual-usage of the stadium and the pitch of course has its challenges. During the stadium tour, Anthony Harry - Head Groundsman at Liberty Stadium - joined the group to explain how he and his team work rigorously to make sure the pitch is always in perfect shape.  

At Parc y Scarlets, participants were guided through Parc y Scarlets, where David Healey - Stadium Manager at Parc y Scarlets - showed the delegation through the training accommodation, control room, general concourses and hospitality suites of the 14,870 capacity venue. 

The delegation returned to Liberty Stadium for a final presentation by Paul Whapham - General Business Manager at Ospreys Rugby - on the club’s core values, their cooperation with Swansea City FC and their ambition to construct a new stadium with plans for wider area development which will have a strong community focus.   

Afterwards, the delegation was invited for a hospitality matchday experience at Liberty Stadium as they attended the match between Swansea City FC and Brentford FC.


“The second edition of the stadium tour, organised by LNR and ESSMA, has been a very rewarding experience to get in touch with our Welsh colleagues. With the development project of Stade du Hameau, this was a great opportunity to learn more about their best practices on stadium design.”

Sylvain Caliman, Stadium Manager at Section Paloise

Day 3

At Cardiff City Stadium, Amy James - Head of Fan Engagement - shared how the club approaches its fans and always tries to put the community first. They engage with the local community through the Cardiff City Foundation which organises different actions and contests such as the community day of action and the goal of the month contest. In addition, Ms. Jones talked about the club’s plans to construct a fan zone just outside the stadium.

Final venue of the three-day tour was Ashton Gate Stadium where Mark Kelly - Director -  and David Storr - Head of Safety & Security - shared insights on the construction of the multifunctional venue. With three stands completely renovated, Ashton Gate Stadium is not only home to Bristol City FC and Bristol Bears Rugby, but they also hosts concerts, conferences and seminars and other non-sports events. 

Furthermore, they have plans to develop another small arena (for Bristol Basketball), commercial spaces and hotels adjacent to the stadium’s Lansdown stand in the upcoming years, Ashton Gate Stadium is set to become one of the must-see venues in the UK. 


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 LNR Stadium Tour were as follow:

  • Venues should be designed with a multi-functional purpose in mind (easy to make the switch between different configurations, adaptable for different purposes, lots of storage, accessible on non-matchdays) but the right training and mindset of staff at the stadium is also important to operate the venue efficiently.
  • Take a two-sided approach to fan experience. You can create additional revenue streams and attract new fans through data marketing, CRM management and social media content but infrastructure in and around the stadium should also be developed to provide entertainment for all types of fans
  • Attracting and training stewards internally can help you build a bond between safety officer(s) and stewards while creating a higher level of knowledge about the stadium amongst stewards
  • Multi-usage of the pitch (rugby & football) is possible while guaranteeing high quality wut only with the right amount of planning and the right type of pitch.

Are you an ESSMA League or Federation Member and looking for support to organise a stadium tour or workshop for your clubs/members? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via contact@essma.eu to discuss the possibilities. 

Posted on 28/10/2019 in: