Mott MacDonald and Restrata have teamed up to develop a five-step strategy to get sports fans back into stadia and enjoying live sports. The approach, which uses performance-based epidemiology principles alongside tried and tested digital technology, can be used by all stadia owners, enabling them to unlock sporting events which have been severely affected by Covid-19. It can also help businesses become more resilient to the impacts of future pandemics.
With many sporting events cancelled last season, there was uncertainty as to whether competitions could conclude. As the situation changed, rescheduled fixtures took place behind closed doors, but this has led to the loss of significant financial income for the industry. In the UK, Premier League clubs are reported by Deloitte to have lost a collective £850m last season as a result of the loss of TV income and matchday revenue. Events company Live Nation saw revenue plunge by 98% last quarter. There is potential for further financial loss unless systems are put in place to get fans back into venues and watching live sports.
In the UK, the government has issued a strategy with new guidelines to reopen stadia when it is safe to do so. Many sports clubs and associations need to understand what they have to do to comply and to minimise risk. To help with this and to help sport regain confidence, Mott MacDonald and Restrata have developed a five-step strategy to help clubs prepare for the return of fans. The strategy directly addresses the risks and the requirement that safety certificates will only be issued if the requirements of local authorities, police and transport operators have been met both inside and outside the stadium.
- Define the challenges both inside and outside the stadium.
- Establish a baseline through a compliance audit.
- Performance-engineered solutions.
- Manage residual risk.
As part of season ticket or pre-check risk assessments, health screening on non-matchdays can also improve community health and support track and trace. Information on fan movements and adjacencies through the stadium can be analysed for future contact tracing of subsequently-diagnosed Covid-19 cases who attended the event. This data is stored securely in the cloud allowing transparent and open collaboration with the relevant authorities.
James Middling, Mott MacDonald’s built environment sector lead, said: “Sport is an important and much needed part of any community and the trust between the club and its fans is at the very core of the business of sport. As fans start to return to our stadia, we need to work together to openly rebuild that trust and keep each other safe whilst enjoying a great day of sport. The fans need to be patient and follow the rules and the stadium operators need to show how they are managing the risks through applying world leading methods.
“We’ve come together with Restrata to deliver truly world class Covid-19 risk management which uses first principles epidemiology and engineering interventions to measure and reduce the risks then transparently manages the remaining risk through world leading technologies.”
Botan Osman, Restrata CEO said: “Through the live government trial we conducted at the Oval in September in addition to bio-secure cricket this summer we have proven that, done the right way, a fan-secure environment in stadia is safer than the high street. We have a clear, unequivocal message for when the ‘pause button’ on live sport is released: technology is a necessity to minimise the risk posed by this pandemic and provide a safe environment for fans. Our recent government pilot trial at the Oval proved that fans ability to comply with government safety measures was greatly enhanced by live data analysis and technical governance. Our system provides an environment that exceeds safety measures recommended by the government and we believe fans safety should be put first.”