I was in that crowd at Eden Park in Auckland a couple of weeks ago, one of what seemed like only a handful of Aussies in my green and gold in a sea of All Black jerseys, jackets, hats and scarves, cheering…
CHALLENGE. Despite Highbury being one of the most famous football stadia in the world, Arsenal realized that in order to be able to compete with the elite clubs in Europe they needed a larger stadium that would generate increased revenue through increased capacity and hospitality spaces. A site was identified, close to the existing stadium – the challenge was to create a master plan which could fit the new stadium on this difficult site, deliver the maximum area for residential development and meet the local council’s requirements for the provision of social housing.
INNOVATION. The new ground provides a unique mix of commercial and hospitality spaces that are valuable on both match and non match days, when they cater for a wide range of conferences, exhibitions and events. The curved glass, concrete and steel mesh paneled facades of the stadium rise between the terraced streets, offering a series of dramatic views of the venue to the approaching visitor. Above, the roof is supported on just eight cores, allowing the slender roof plane to float above the robust facade of the building below. Within the grounds, our brand activation team have brought their innovative approach to wayfinding and signage, as part of a major naming rights sponsorship.
IMPACT. The figures of this development speak for themselves: Arsenal’s match day revenue increased from £37.4m in their old Highbury stadium to over £90m in the new Emirates Stadium (equivalent to an additional income of over £1m per match), and that excludes other commercial revenue. In addition, converting Highbury to residential units delivered £157m in 2011 alone. This financial success meant Arsenal could clear all their bank loans in 2010 and have been able to emerge as a club with arguably the best financial footing of any club in Europe, applauded by UEFA as the defining model for other clubs to follow in meeting the requirements of the UEFA Financial Fair Play initiative. The widespread urban regeneration that has come about thanks to the stadium and wider master plan (including the provision of 2000 new homes, more than half of which are affordable homes) has been recognized with many awards.