Everton Stadium sui generis fan experience



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Neil Russell at Coliseum Europe 2024 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Neil Russell is a true Evertonian (someone connected with the Everton Football Club as a fan, player, coach, etc.) as he says proudly that “wherever you go around the globe – be it in Australia or Boston (US) you will find Evertonians”.

He is brimming with confidence that the new home venue of the Premier League team Everton F.C. – the Everton Stadium under construction in Liverpool, UK – will provide a completely out-of-the-world-experience to its staunch fans. Russell repeatedly asserts that the premium offerings at the new home of the top-flight club will be amazeballs.

Neil Russell is holding a top post at the Premier League club Everton F.C. Russell has a passion for large stadiums and arenas, specifically focused on commercialization, but also in creating memorable experiences and ensuring the operational delivery is of the highest standards.

Neil Levett has worked in the Arena and Stadium sector since the late 1990s following the implementation of legislation in the United Kingdom for all-seater stadia to be introduced after publication of the Taylor report.

In an exclusive conversation with ‘Coliseum’, Neil Russell, Director, Venue Experience and Revenue, Everton FC, UK, wax eloquent to Neil Levett, Emcee, Coliseum, UK, on how the Everton F.C. boasts “an incredibly loyal fan base and every match is a sellout”. He also asserts that the premium offerings and fan experience at their smart new home – the Everton Stadium – will be “exalted and elevated”.
 

Everton F.C.

The Everton Football Club is a professional association football club based in Liverpool, England (UK). The club competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football.
 

Goodison Park

The Goodison Park is a football stadium in the Walton area of Liverpool, England (UK), two miles (three km) North of the City Centre. It has been the home of the Premier League club Everton F.C. since 1892 and has an all-seated capacity of 39,414.
 

Everton Stadium

The 52,888-capacity Everton Stadium is a football stadium under construction on Bramley-Moore Dock in Vauxhall, Liverpool, England (UK) that will become the home ground for Everton ahead of the 2025-2026 seasons replacing the Goodison Park. It will open in the year 2025.

Neil Russell began by stating, “Building the Everton Stadium has been a long arduous process for us and we are probably around six months away from getting the keys to the new stadium. The new home of Everton is going to be transformative.”

Neil Levett pointed out that the Goodison Park too is an iconic venue, to which Russell replied, “It is indeed a legacy stadium and an incredible venue. It’s called the ‘Grand Old Lady’ and it is one of those most iconic football stadiums.”

The duo agreed that the Goodison Park is “of a very compact nature”.

Remarked Russell, “The Goodison Park is part of our transformative journey that we are on as a football club. We obviously want to replicate a lot of what we have at the Goodison Park but at the same time the new Everton Stadium will be in a class of its own.”

Levett asked whether the Everton Stadium will be a “legacy stadium” a la the Goodison Park.

Russell agreed that the Goodison Park is indeed an iconic stadium but when it comes to the fan experience side of things “there is hardly any space in the concourse which makes things difficult for our caterer and also causes a dent in our revenue earning which will not be the case with the new arena which will provide a unique experience to the Evertonians.”

Talking about the ‘ALL’ concept of Everton, Russell remarked that the “‘ALL’ delivers a revolutionary reset of traditional football hospitality and we have created choice and flexibility across an innovative range of bars, restaurants and experiences tailored for the Evertonians. As far as our premium offerings are concerned, we are moving from 1,300 at Goodison Park to over 5,000 at the new stadium. We are bringing the High Street (primary business street) into the new stadium.”

Levett asked what will not be run-of-the-mill kind in the new Everton home and Russell informed that they are bringing the most popular restaurant and bars in the High Street to the Everton Stadium “and the success so far on our sales campaign on the premium side has been absolutely phenomenal”.

Russell also pointed out about the “incredible Fan Plaza” in the Everton Stadium which he termed as “unique in the football world”.

Located in the East corner of the South Stand, the Fan Plaza will see blue glass ‘Kellen’ blocks installed to create a shimmering water effect. Pine, alder and dawn redwood trees have also been planted in the Fan Plaza.

Levett wondered if the Fan Plaza would be active only during the matchdays and Russell stated that the Everton Stadium has been built with the 365 days element to it (abuzz with activities the whole year round) and the Fan Plaza will hold concerts and various types of festivals – “We are right on the banks of the River Mersey. The cruise liners that come in there for nine-10 months of the year is just like constant so our stadium will be incredibly visible. The stadium tours and visitor attractions are becoming absolutely critical and we will be able to hold stadium tours in the new facility unlike Goodison Park as the present home of Everton is of a very tight nature and venue tours are impossible.”

Levett inquired about the season tickets sales and Russell replied that the “premium tickets are pretty much sold out. We literally have a waiting list for the season tickets that has run into tens of thousands. Regularly selling the 53,000 seats on a week-by-week-basis is least of my concern because I know the loyalty of the Evertonians.”

He also asserted to Levett that the fan experience at the new Everton Stadium will be sui generis and the supporters will be treated to distinctive dishes and taste. It will be the ideal spot for the gastronomes.

Keeping the 365 element in mind, Russell said that “we will pivot from a matchday to a non-matchday”.

Russell informed Levett that the “keys of the stadium will be handed over by the end of 2024 and the first game will be held in August 2025”.
 

Wrap-up

Neil Russell wrapped up by averring, “The new Everton Stadium is going to be a game changer and we are going to sweat the assets. It will be transformative for the football club. We will have to sweat it out on the 365 days a year element. I am not a status quo kind of guy and I will ensure that our fans will get significantly enhanced offerings in the chic new home of the Everton F.C.

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