Populous Named To Fast Company’s 2020 Most Innovative Companies List

May 6, 2020

For the third time in company history, Populous was ranked on Fast Company’s 2020 list of Most Innovative Companies in Sports. Populous earned this recognition following a year of firsts for the company. By introducing the first purpose-built soccer and NFL stadium outside of the United States, incorporating European design into the MLS market, bringing MLB to the U.K. and using human data to predict crowd flow, the firm continued to fulfill its mission of drawing people together globally while using a data-driven design approach to enhance live experiences.

Overall, this is the fifth Fast Company listing for the global design firm, following their previous recognition in the Sports (2009 and 2010), Architecture (2013) and Live Events (2018) categories.

“This level of recognition from an industry leader like Fast Company is an incredible honor,” said Bruce Miller, Populous Americas Managing Director. “As we begin this next decade, we’re excited to continue to draw people together through innovative, thoughtful and sustainable design.”

Specifically, the firm was honored for the innovation of the following in the sports business industry:

The multi-award-winning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the first of its kind. Debuting in London in 2019, the stadium features a retractable pitch, providing ultimate flexibility for the venue to host a variety of events, including concerts and the NFL London Games. Populous used their world-leading expertise across global elite-level sports to design the only true hybrid soccer and NFL stadium outside of the United States, furthering the world’s connection to American football.

To visit Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota is to experience the intensity of the international soccer atmosphere while still staying true to its Northern roots. Pitch proximity, a 360-degree open concourse, various premium seating and social gathering spaces, and a field club with direct access to players helps to fully immerse and connect fans to this global sport.

The 2019 MLB London Series was an exercise in both balance and agility. Over the course of 21 days, the Populous event team transformed the Populous-designed London Stadium into a world-class MLB ballpark, equipped to successfully introduce the American sport to the English (along with ballpark favorites like eating hot dogs and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”) and deliver an amazing experience to long-time fans who were attending their inaugural MLB game on their home turf.

As attendance at live events continues to grow, Populous recognizes the importance of human data in helping deliver safe and enjoyable experiences. By comparing ticket sales to real-time video footage at Gillette Stadium, Populous determined that fans wanted more personal space as they moved through lines. This data helped in designing more spacious gate entry experiences and determining the proper level of security during peak entry times.

The 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville saw record numbers in attendance and spending, with 600,000 people enjoying the three-day event and bringing $132.8 million in direct spending to Music City. By using a combination of quantitative data and predictions of how the host city would influence attendance, the Populous event team was able to design a right-sized space and inform the NFL on how to best prepare for future events of this size.

This year’s list of Most Innovative Companies in Sports includes the St. Louis Blues, Fanatics, IBM and more businesses that continue to push the envelope in the sports industry.

The staff at Fast Company researches thousands of companies across multiple industries to develop its annual Most Innovative Companies list. This highly anticipated issue provides a who’s who of innovative businesses and thought leaders across a variety of sectors. For more on Populous’ previous awards, check out https://populous.com/project-awards.


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