Stadium Redevelopment – Reimagining Stadiums in 2020

With technological advances like streaming services changing the way fans consume sports and interact with their favourite teams, stadiums and stadium operators are challenged to find new ways of attracting audiences. Consequently, stadiums are moving towards multi-use, experiential spaces where the sports game itself is often merely a reason to gather rather than the main source of entertainment. 


As Gen Z and Millennials join forces as the biggest spenders in the market in 2020, all eyes are on young consumers to understand what they want from brands and experiences and how to best reach and engage this demographic.

The evolution of live sports

20 years ago, it may have been unlikely to put “retail” and “stadium” in the same sentence. But in 2020 we find ourselves in a thrilling space as stadiums are undergoing a major revolution in terms of customer experience and entertainment.

With digital innovation allowing fans to watch the game from many different areas within stadiums, additional room is made for restaurants and bars to be opened on-site without forcing spectators to choose between enjoying the game and getting something to eat. Stadium expansions also mean more feet can enter the arena, creating a demand for more and better food and drink options.

With the focus on Millennials and Gen Z, stadiums should adopt an engagement strategy that prioritises entertainment, socialisation and hospitality. 72% of audiences (driven by Millennials) seek experiences, particularly centred around an exceptional F&B program. From a social perspective, Gen Z consumers rate ‘socialising’ the number one driver for attending sports events (apart from the game itself).

Stadium redevelopment in Australia

While airports are transforming to serve as retail and entertainment venues on top of their practical and necessary value, stadiums are moving towards evergreen operations by creating intelligent and diverse spaces that can be utilised year-round. Part of this strategy is commissioning F&B partners who can fill their designated areas even in off-season, tapping into the extreme experiential potential that these large arenas present.

In Australia, there are fantastic examples of stadium operators who are showcasing incredible innovation and out-of-the-box thinking to improve their hospitality and dining options for fans. For one, the highly anticipated revamped Marvel Stadium following a $225 million redevelopment project aimed at the elevation of their customer journey, will function as a 365-day dining destination.

Engaging Millennials and Gen Z

A top trend in stadium experience this year will be the ‘festivalisation’ of sports, led by Gen Z, drawing inspiration from festivals that offer a hotpot of entertainment options, from musical performances and pop-up tattoo parlours to vegan food carts and craft gin bars.

Building an experience-centred retail and entertainment model around the sports game itself, opens the stadium to a much more diverse group of people, essentially attracting both loyal fans as well as cohorts who aren’t necessarily interested in the game but show up to see their favourite musical act or to explore the local shopping scene. One of good examples of stadium retail is Marvel Stadium Redevelopment.

Top 10 stadium trends in 2020

  1. The ‘festivalisation’ of sports with live entertainment acts
  2. Year-round retail opportunities
  3. Harnessing AR-technology for digital innovation
  4. Payment flexibility
  5. In-seat service
  6. Outsourcing to high-street retail partners
  7. Local brand and/or celebrity partnerships
  8. Providing new ways of interacting with teams
  9. Sustainable operations
  10. Premium and healthy dining options

At Ground Control Retail, we bring a combined experience of over 50 years in the industry to work with and guide stakeholders in the hospitality field to kickstart or transform businesses according to changing customer demands and new emerging trends. We are trusted by industry leaders to take the steer on rollouts that create memorable customer experiences and achieve superior returns.

Get in touch with us today!