Brian Mirakian at SXSW 2015: The New Cathedral – Sports Stadiums

May 4, 2015 / Brian Mirakian

In less than two weeks – on March 15th – I’ll have the privilege of speaking at SXSW’s SXsports. My presentation, “The New Cathedral: Sports Stadiums” is about the past and the future, today and tomorrow. I will look at what the future stadium has the potential to become and the convergence of sports, technology and culture through designs that wow us, shape us and have the potential to forever change the way we view going to a game. We’re going to talk about the places people love to be together and how design is allowing us to reimagine them.

Hundreds of years ago, tourists flocked to cathedrals as the iconic destinations. Today, we are seeing sports facilities as some of the most sought after destinations a city has to offer. They are taking on identities of their own that often transcend the success of their teams. This cultural shift is driving the need for a new, and better, experience… a sports facility for the future that is interactive, responsive and experiential and that meets the needs of the next generation fan who is more connected to technology and more interested in the social experience than ever before.

The vision for the new cathedral is ever changing… and I’ll discuss ten factors influencing the design of future stadia – but here’s a sneak peek at three:

  • The new cathedral is… designed for the experientialist.
    The experientialist is less interested than the traditionalist in staying put in their seat for 9 innings of baseball. The experientialist fan wants to see it all and make memories beyond the seating bowl.
  • The new cathedral is… adaptive and transformable.
    The stadium of the future will be physically transformable to host a greater variety of events – it will adapt to the environment and respond to the needs of the team and fans to create more intimate, personalized experiences.
  • The new cathedral is… a 365 day a year entertainment destination.
    Gone are stadiums that are operated for just ten games a year. The future stadium will be surrounded by mixed-use developments, functioning as highly integrated retail, lifestyle and entertainment destinations. These stadiums are the anchors of our cities and will be reshaped as the focal point of city building.

While our vision for the new cathedral comes from decades of design experience and sports business expertise, we also understand that the new cathedral begins with YOU. You know your favorite stadium. You know what you love and hate about the experience. And you know what you hope that experience will look like in the future. So I invite you to follow along using the hashtag #nextstadia and #SXsports before, during and after the conference.


The reality is that the future stadium begins with the fans, athletes, teams and cities to which they belong. I’d love to get your thoughts prior to the presentation on what YOU want in the stadium of the future. Talk to us on Twitter @Populous or leave a comment on our Facebook.  Grab this image and help us fill in the blank… what do you envision in the new cathedral?

Meet the author

Brian Mirakian

Senior Principal, Director of Esports / Kansas City


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