Sports venue architects and designers are being tasked to come up with ever more ingenious ways of making venues pay their way. At the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the press room doubles as a café and bar during the week. The press conference room can be hired out as a private cinema. Operators are also putting on a wider than ever variety of events. More events equals more visitors, equals more revenue. This is leading to the rise and rise of the multifunctional stadium.
The London Stadium, now home of West Ham United, is no stranger to hosting a wide variety of different events. It started life as the centrepiece of the 2012 London Olympics. It has also staged the IAAF World Athletics Championships, multiple concerts in 2018 and Premier League football throughout the year. But the changes that are taking place this weekend are quite extraordinary. The stadium is being transformed into a baseball park. The Boston Red Sox will play old rivals the New York Yankees at London Stadium on 29 and 30 June 2019.
Major League Baseball
Announced in May 2018, the Mitel & MLB Present London Series is part of a long-term strategy to grow Major League Baseball in Europe spanning two years, 2019 and 2020. London Stadium will be transformed into a 60,000-seater ballpark where the famous rivals will play each other for the first time ever on British soil. To make it all happen, a decision was made to install artificial turf, which has been shipped in from France, instead of real grass. This can be reused when baseball returns to London in 2020. Clay for the pitcher’s mound has been shipped over from Pennsylvania in the US. All this should generate a unique baseball feel. And when it’s all over, the stadium will be morphed back into athletics mode for the London Anniversary Games. That’s what you call sweating the asset!
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