The world entrusts its most celebrated events to Populous. Why? Because we put the fans first, turning events into experiences and visions into reality.

Populous has more event experience than any other design company in the world. Our multi-disciplined team of specialists has a portfolio of over 400 major event venues and 90 global events, including 10 Olympic Games and sporting spectacles such as the FIFA world cup and the NFL Super Bowl. This gives us a unique insight into the demands of major events – we have the expertise to guide any event from inception to implementation, in a cost effective, time efficient manner. Each one of those events gives the visitor a unique experience – and, importantly, lasting memories.


Event Bids

Our experience and success in organizing, designing and leading bid efforts is unrivaled worldwide. Having developed winning bids for Olympic Games, World Cups and World Championships, Populous provides instant credibility with key decision makers. The bid effort is one of the most pivotal aspects of bringing a client’s dreams of hosting to fruition.

The Populous team has worked with many organizations including FIFA, IAAF and the IOC. Our relationships with sport leaders ensure that your bidding strategy is consistent with both the proven successes of the past and the cutting edge of current thinking. Our team can help you focus your efforts on building the personal associations necessary for bidding success. We can also develop the public relations campaign to deliver your powerful message to the right people.

Overlay Design

Overlay is a short term for event architecture – the temporary elements added to more permanent buildings or spaces for events or festivals. Populous takes a design-inclusive approach. By considering the cultural and design aspects alongside the commercial and functional requirements, in which maximizes user experience to create memorable places and spaces out of simple, tried and trusted commodities.

From our years of experience, we know exactly which components work at each stage of the customer’s journey. This means we can create a kit of parts relevant to a specific project and for each client group, from athletes to spectators. We can develop a tailored, well thought out and beautifully designed solution that produces design and operational consistency while managing cost.

Our aim is to treat temporary places with the same attention that would be applied to permanent civic equivalents. By considering overlay from the start, embracing the temporary and making it an integral part of a masterplan, we’re able to ensure that every venue, whether permanent or temporary, offers an enhanced experience to every user and leaves a lasting memory.

Masterplan Design

Today, the scale of major events is unique and spreads far beyond just a stadium to include numerous venues and event sites. Populous recognizes that the starting point for any event is the creation of a comprehensive masterplan that anticipates all the requirements of a specific event, but is also mindful of legacy needs once the event has taken place. Populous has pioneered the design process and solution of masterplanning.

We lead a process that includes officials, security, as well as local law enforcement, businesses and organizing committees just to name a few. Such planning ensures that the event and city runs smoothly within the enormity of activities and that all guests receive the appropriate level of service. Populous is uniquely placed to understand all of these needs in developing a cohesive response

Event Operations

This is the function that co-ordinates all elements – staff, schedule, space, activities and furnishings – into a single, consistent plan. With broad experience across operations planning and management, our team provides a unique, client-focused perspective. Event Operations services include but are not limited to the following:

  • Program Management
  • Space Programming
  • Cost Estimating
  • Procurement
  • Scheduling
  • Seating Manifests
  • Parking Plans
  • Security Plans
  • Architect of Record
  • Real Estate Acquisition and Planning
  • Permits & Code Review
  • Electrical Planning
  • Staff Logistics Plan
  • Specialty Plans
  • Corporate Hospitality
  • Crowd Management
  • Emergency & Evacuation Plan
  • Observation Reports & Event Summaries



Signage & Wayfinding

Coherent circulation is one of the most important aspects in the successful operation of any major event.  This applies to all user groups and Populous works through all the routes being used inside and outside a venue to develop clear strategies to suit the requirements of each specific event.

Populous can oversee all phases of the signage plan including design, fabrication and installation. This signage system allows for spectators to easily find entries, gates and their way around an event site and locate areas of entertainment and hospitality as well as establish the back of house operational functions providing both wayfinding and informational aspects to event staff and support.

Populous is the global leader in signage and wayfinding design for major events. The firm has produced signage and wayfinding for events with The National Football League,  NCAA, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, World Cup, Olympics,  as well as permanent in-stadium signage in more than 200 stadiums across the world.


Security is a vital part of every event and credentials are key whenever there is a need to control access. Populous is evolving the centralized credential and access control procedure system for today’s major events. We can provide anything form the simplest identification cards to the most sophisticated technical security options including data chips, holograms and magnetic encoding. Populous has also developed a unified online system and badge production process for events.


Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games

Russia’s bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics was part of a broader goal to step back onto the world stage as hosts of major sporting events (the country’s last event was the Moscow Summer Olympics back in 1980). The challenge was threefold: to create a masterplan that would convince the International Olympic Committee that Russia had both the vision and the infrastructure to host such a major event; to develop the popular summertime coastal resort of Sochi into a world class destination for winter sports, and to design a stadium flexible enough to facilitate the Olympic ceremonies, then act as a venue for FIFA World Cup matches and, finally, become the home venue for a local football team.

For the first time, an Olympic Park has been designed as part of a Winter Games masterplan. This unusual step guarantees a unique legacy for these Games, marking Sochi out as a winter destination for decades to come. Within the park, the main level of the stadium is raised on a landscaped mound, providing stunning views from within. The unique engineering systems will enable truly memorable opening and closing ceremonies while, post-Games, the in-built flexibility of the stadium’s design means its capacity can change over time to provide event configurations from 45,000 seats for FIFA World Cup matches to a compact, atmospheric 25,000 for local matches.

Winning the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games has not only reinstated Russia’s reputation as a viable host for major events, but has transformed Sochi itself. The infrastructure that our work has helped create will regenerate the region, marking Sochi out as a year-round tourist destination and major new European winter sports centre.

NFL Super Bowl

Since 1985, Populous has been proud to work with the NFL in staging the Super Bowl. Every aspect of this extraordinary event exceeds the boundaries of the venues in which it’s held, thereby taking event overlay to almost unparalleled levels of complexity, quantity and detail. Essentially, the challenge is to construct an entire town, with all its required facilities and amenities, but one which exists for just a single day.

In our decades of working with the NFL developing the Super Bowl, Populous have brought a new approach to event management and overlay. Work starts up to three years in advance for a Super Bowl. For the entire year leading up to the game, a full-time team was on site, working on drawings and layout. Three weeks before, the delivery and set-up began. It’s only by creating a fully integrated Event Plan that the work can be managed – we marry the existing features of the stadium campus with a temporary commodities plan, facilities design with transportation planning, crowd flow and management, and operations. And all for a single show.

The Super Bowl accounts for 9 of the top 10 most-viewed programs of all time in the USA – its advertising costs $3m for just a 30 second slot. It showcases American football to a global audience of almost 1 billion. And it’s not just sports fans. The Halftime Show attracts some of the world’s biggest music stars, including Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Madonna. No wonder they call it ‘the greatest show on earth.’

London 2012 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games

Delivering a coherent environment for the Olympic Games in 2012 is a unique challenge: Populous had to create a consistent design approach for 35 competition venues and more than 100 non-competition venues, with a mix of permanent and temporary architecture – overall, London 2012 will have temporary structures equivalent to the number of temporary structures used in the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Games, including temporary venues in or around historic sites like Greenwich Park and Horse Guards Parade, each of which bring their own set of problems and restraints. Add to this a limited budget and tight time constraints to design the venues, and the size of the challenge is clear.

Our groundbreaking approach has moved the whole discipline of overlay forward. Developing a Design Strategy and a Kit of Parts has created a vision for, and consistent approach to, the design of the venues. By using a wide variety of existing, new and temporary venues, we’ve been able to create unique settings for Olympic sport. More importantly, we’ve influenced the supply market to modify and improve their standard systems, which will be positive not only for London 2012 but for future events.

London 2012 will transform the way in which future host cities balance out the provision of temporary and permanent venues, thus avoiding the ‘white elephants’ of the past and creating much more sustainable long-term strategies. The event has helped effect a lasting improvement to temporary seating too, with modular seating solutions, increased seat size and row spacing making it now equivalent to permanent seating, thus transforming the quality of the spectator experience. Using overlay has allowed temporary venues to have the same level of impact as permanent ones, and to showcase London and its array of iconic landmarks to the world.

2011 FIS Denver Big Air

The World Cup Snowboard Big Air is an international ski and snowboard competition that’s previously been held in Moscow, Barcelona, Quebec, Seoul and London. For 2011, the International Ski Federation (FIS) selected Denver as the first US host city – a good fit for its strategy of selecting iconic locations for its signature ramp. Populous provided extensive event overlay, design, operations management and procurement, meeting the challenge of creating a major winter sports event in an urban, downtown area.

Putting on the event in a downtown location made it groundbreaking from the start. With the Colorado State Capitol building and other Denver monuments as its backdrop, the Big Air slope was one of the biggest man-made ramps ever constructed, built over a nine-day period from custom steel truss, scaffolding and custom i-beams. During head-to-head compeitition, some of the US’ best skiers reached heights of up to 60 feet before landing, helping to build Denver’s reputation as a home for both winter-sports and international events.

When completed, the massive manmade slope stood at 106 feet tall by 280 feet long and was 80 feet at its widest point. The in-run was over a 44 degree pitch – steeper than most ski runs in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. “The event, the crowd, the energy…just amazing,” enthused one competitor.