May 11, 2017, Tianjin, PRC. Venues are essential for hosting a large sports event. As nowadays sports venues have encountered many problems, there is need and necessity to contemplate the solutions from coordinated perspectives of investment, planning and design, and operation.
It is undeniable of the advantages of a large sports event in enhancing national pride, establishing the city’s image and boosting the tourism and employment in order to improve the local economy and the environment.
Sports venues are part of the social undertaking which also attaches great importance to reasonability of the operation. Firstly, the economic benefits need adequate attention. Take the well-known Warbler Sports Park in the U.S. for example. With a total investment of around USD 200 million, the rate of return on investment is only 1.5%. Secondly, the high-speed development of the economy and technologies leads to users’ higher expectations for lifestyle and digital experiences. As conventional sports venues need substantial social investment to either maintain the operation or make upgrades or renovations, the low return on the investment makes more people in a country lose interest to host large sports competitions. The bidding cities for 2024 Olympics were only Los Angeles of the U.S. and Paris of France left. Finally, due to the limitations of the functional layout design in sports venues, they will encounter many difficulties to improve overall operation through refurbishment and renovation.
Then what is the development direction for future sports venues? We believe:
Sports venues will trigger and promote more lifestyle-oriented development of surrounding areas integrating sports and entertainment.
The buildings should be more fast, convenient and sustainable with less capital investment. To use a temporary sports facility for a large sports competition will reduce the carbon footprint by 50%-80% comparing to traditional buildings. Usually, temporary facilities require less time to build. Moreover, unlike permanent buildings, the costs will be considerably lowered without the need for maintenance of a temporary one.
With the National Games Tianjin in August, 2017 approaching and at the invitation of Tianjin Association of City Planning, Michael Mitchell, CEO of MCM Group International, with his 40-year extensive experience in sports venue planning, delivered a special training on sports facility planning and operation at Tianjin Planning Exhibition Center on May 11, 2017.
The lecture focused on the role, influence and planning of a large sports venue in a city, and stressed the economics in venue construction and operation, the evolution of sports venues worldwide and the spread of sports event culture.
It is worth mentioning that the lecture has been approved to be part of the training programs for licensed planners by the National Planning Association.