C+S March 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 3 (web)

Game Changing Venue Design Trends Modern venues have evolved to serve as multi-purpose year-round destinations By Bart Miller, PE

The design and construction of sports venues largely stalled in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic created massive uncertainty amongst professional franchises, venue developers, and local governments. For perhaps the first time, the ability of sports venues to host large crowds safely and the reliability of event-related revenue was in question. The market has rebounded in the past year based primarily on increased demand and heightened expectations for live events and entertainment intensified by the pandemic. In addition, ballooning media rights deals in professional and collegiate sports, new investment from private developers taking advantage of a favorable financing environment and the proven success of multi-purpose venues in creating new and diverse revenue streams have experts predicting a building boom over the next few years. Multi-purpose Venues and Mixed-use Developments This coming wave of new sports venues will likely continue pre- pandemic trends, which included strategies to maximize revenue both inside and outside the venue walls. The primary goal of many new projects is to deliver a truly multi-purpose venue capable of anchor- ing a mixed-use development or entertainment district to draw crowds before and after events. Venues are being designed strategically to complement and sustain surrounding entertainment, retail, hotel, and office space by attracting a wide variety of events, a diverse array of fans and customers, and maximizing the number of event dates. For example, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, anchors the 298-acre Hollywood Park. The stadium is home to two National Foot- ball League teams—the Chargers and the Rams. The area currently includes five acres of green space and the 6,000-seat YouTube Theater. In time, a 300-room hotel, nearly 5 million square feet of office space, 890,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, and 2,500 residences will be constructed. With the increased emphasis on concerts and other touring acts in par- ticular, every new venue must be purposefully designed to attract and ac- commodate top performers and massive crowds, not just on game days, but throughout the year and across a wide range of events and attractions. Developers and entertainment agencies are leading many of these projects during design and construction, driving new business to the venues once complete. Texas Live! in Arlington, Texas, is an entertainment district that in- cludes a wide array of restaurants as well as mixed-use residential, and hotel accommodations that cater to a broad assortment of game day

Photo: Populous

experiences. Situated between AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Field, and Choctaw Stadium (previously known as Globe Life Park), Texas Live! is open year-round and includes over 200,000 square feet of space as well as a 5,000-seat outdoor event pavilion. Designing for Concerts Sports facilities must be designed with the fan experience in mind, but multi-purpose venues must be conceived with a speci c focus on the experience of the performers, convenient access for stage crews, and on proportioning the seating bowl to maximize and enhance end-stage performance viewing. The new 10,000-seat Acrisure Arena, a multi-purpose sports and en- tertainment venue in Palm Desert, California, is a game-changer for entertainment in the region. More than just the future home of the Coachella Valley Firebirds of the American Hockey League, the arena has been conceived as both a concert venue and a rehearsal facility for world-class acts prior to national tours, and boasts the rigging capacity, talent accommodations and loading dock access to attract premier live music performances as well as host multiple athletic events. The 270-degree seating bowl with retractable seating at the stage end is designed strategically to maximize the number of seats for stage end shows and minimize obstructed view seats commonly located behind the stage. Rather than a center-hung scoreboard, the venue also features a massive video board at the stage end to eliminate any interruptions to the continuous and highly flexible 200,000 lbs. capacity rigging grid. High-performing, high-capacity rigging grids that provide additional rigging locations and better access, support a wide variety of loading con gurations, and enable a show to be loaded and unloaded quickly are critical to ensuring that a venue can transition smoothly from one event to the next. Because concerts are becoming more immersive and dynamic, arena roof structures are being tested with each new tour due to heavier and more numerous structural loads, often loads that move, and are distrib- uted over much larger areas than ever before. Designers of long-span roofs can no longer simply plan for a one-size- ts-all, distributed show rigging allowance. Instead, they must consider a myriad of theatrical


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