Keeping venues’ fiscal health robust ES:ME way


ES:ME venue utilisation Image: Coliseum GSVA

On February 15th, 2023, Alexander Wuerfel, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ES:ME Entertainment Services, Qatar, and George Gilfillan, Senior Lighting Technician, ES:ME Entertainment Services, Qatar, spoke at the Coliseum Summit MENA 2023 held at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai (UAE), before an audience of stadium planners and owners and highlighted how optimized venue utilization is crucial to the success of any event and the venues’ profitability at a later stage.

‘ES:ME’ stated that both the speakers from ES:ME discussed in the conference the benefits of including audio-visual (AV) experts into the planning and design phase of a venue as minor adjustments in the planning and construction phase can have a significant impact on the venue’s utilization and subsequent profitability.

Doha (Qatar)-based ES:ME Entertainment Services is an event technology company bringing the ingenuity and innovation that is necessary for rigging, lighting and other event-related technical requirements. Serving Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at large, the company provides its clients with the finest equipment and knowledge the industry has to offer. Its commitment to quality service, safety standards combined with progressive perspective makes the company second to none in the art and expertise of event technology.

ES:ME Entertainment Services is a Member and Partner of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

The Meydan Racecourse is a racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The grandstand is half a mile in length, and can accommodate over 60,000 spectators. The plush racecourse is owned by the Dubai Racing Club.

Common Problems in Venue Utilization

The duo spoke on – when setting up stadiums for events, there are numerous challenges that need to be overcome such as but not limited to: Difficult logistics, technical deficiencies and not fully utilizing crew efficiencies due to sub-optimal infrastructure and facilities. Introducing practical event setup knowledge in the venue planning process will lead to improved, more cost-efficient utilization along with a better attendee experience.

‘ES:ME’ further stated that the duo also pointed out that one of the most significant challenges is the lack of crew facilities, catering areas and changing rooms, all of which can cause disruptions to the work schedule. For example, the crew would have to leave the site to have their lunch, thus wasting valuable time that could have been spent fulfilling other tasks.

Another issue which frequently arises during the stadium setup is the delivery and unloading phase. Truck access can be challenging due to size and weight restrictions. In addition, the venue’s loading dock can sometimes present access problems due to insufficient service elevators or lifts to the roof. The landing platforms may also be too small or non-existent. These challenges can lead to delays during the loading and unloading process, further impacting the efficiency of the crew’s work.

Limited access to the roof or catwalk can also make it more difficult to hang equipment along with sufficient distribution of roof hanging points for AV loads coupled with inadequate power supply and primary power distribution positions only being at the floor level. In addition, cable runs in areas to place dimmer/distros or controls can either be missing or too small in the roof which also adds to the difficulties faced by the crew during setup. It is crucial for event planners and stadium management to anticipate these issues right in the beginning during the planning and design process in order to make adequate preparations and ensure a smooth, efficient setup process.

Solutions to Venue Utilization Problems

To illustrate the importance of proper planning, Wuerfel and Gilfillan focused on the recent case study from the FIFA Arab Cup Opening Ceremony. If only, a few minor adjustments were made to the hanging points for the event equipment, AV companies such as ES:ME would have been able to save 40 mandays on the bump-in and out process alone. Energy and equipment rental usage could have also been reduced by 15 to 20 percent whilst the number of accommodated shows could increase by 20 to 30 percent, if there was improved access to the loading areas.

The FIFA Arab Cup or simply Arab Cup is an international association football competition which has been organized by FIFA since 2021, and is contested by the senior men’s national teams of the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA), the sport’s governing body for countries in the Arab world.

Wuerfel and Gilfillan added that they believe that utilization-oriented venue planning is the key to maximizing venue profitability. By consulting with ES:ME or other AV experts, venue operators can optimize their stadium project and make minor adjustments in the planning phase which will make a huge positive impact on the venue’s utilization phase. ES:ME can also assess the current stadiums and arenas for suggested upgrades to ensure that the venue operators are making the most of their facilities.

The duo concluded by stating that venue utilization issues can be challenging but, with the right planning and adjustments, these can easily be overcome. The ES:ME team has the expertise to help venue operators navigate these challenges and improve the efficiency and profitability of their venues.

If venue operators are either planning or operating a stadium setup, check out ES:ME free planning checklist here:

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