Two days in Porto: a strong delegation at the fifth ESSMA Summit

A crowd of over 375 engaged ESSMA delegates came together to share ideas, learn best practices and network at the fifth annual ESSMA Summit in Porto at Estádio do Dragão. Organised by the European Stadium & Safety Management Association (ESSMA), in partnership with ECA and European Leagues, this must-attend stadium industry event could welcome representatives of clubs, stadiums, leagues, federations amongst others.



Claiming an indelible place in the stadium industry, the ESSMA Summit featured over 30 speakers ranging from a wide variety of European clubs who brought insightful presentations on topics such as Stadium Operations, Fan Experience and Stadium Development.

After a warm welcome and an update on the past and next developments of the Association, the programme kicked off with FC Porto and Rui Lousa, Commercial CEO. Mr. Lousa discussed how FC Porto is meeting the demands of a new generation of fans by focusing on creating a connected stadium and implementing features such as an in-seat delivery app. The first part of the event further highlighted Liga Portugal, Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) and the story of the Ryder Cup. The 50,033 seat Estádio do Dragão proved to be an interesting venue to explore before the event could move on to the next chapter of the day: splitting into groups for the seminars. 

The topic of Fan Experience saw two German ESSMA Members, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Schalke 04 bring a complementary story on how fans can be activated and the role of data in the process to improve the matchday stadium experience. RSC Anderlecht presented their innovative catering and hospitality concepts in the Stadium Operations seminar while Liverpool FC and Aberdeen FC provided participants with latest updates on the training centre development and the Aurora project.

The second day offered a range of ESSMA Members giving insights and in-depth analysis on data and digitalisation, SMART venues and safety and security. The latter saw Bernard Gerritsma, Safety & Security Manager at Dutch side Feyenoord sharing the club’s approach on how they commercialised their stewarding model so stewards can also work during events outside the stadium. Furthermore, participants learned how Wembley is dealing with a higher safety threat and how they enhanced their security measures.

The fifth ESSMA Summit in Porto proved to be very successful and provided opportunities for stadium experts to share and discuss latest developments and trends in the industry, as well as strong networking opportunities.

The next edition of the ESSMA Summit will be held at Groupama Arena, Budapest in January 2020. For more information on the ESSMA Summit, visit the official event website:

Go to our ESSMA Flickr account for more pictures.