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Trends in Venue Design and Innovation for Stadiums and Arenas

Soccer Stadium

It’s clear that our expectations of what makes an exceptional event venue are evolving rapidly. The days of singular-purpose arenas are giving way to multi-faceted entertainment districts, with a focus on frictionless experiences, enhanced fan engagement, and environmental sustainability. Here’s an in-depth exploration of some of the most notable trends in venue and arena renovations and new builds.

1. The Rise of Entertainment Districts

Young Couple Eating Pizza

The modern venue is no longer just about the main event. From pre-game gatherings to post-event entertainment, there’s an increasing emphasis on providing a comprehensive experience to attendees. Venues are expanding their real estate footprint to accommodate a variety of entertainment options and often double up as community event spaces on off-days.

SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park

A shining example is SoFi Stadium, which isn’t just a venue, but the crowning jewel of Hollywood Park. This 298-acre mixed-use development is home to retail spaces, commercial offices, a hotel, residential units, and verdant park spaces.

Deer District at Fiserv Forum

A testament to the potential success of such initiatives is the Deer District. In 2021, it stole the spotlight when an astonishing 65K fans congregated outside the arena during the finals, showcasing the appeal of such integrated spaces.

Midway Rising in San Diego

 Another promising venture is the newly announced Midway Rising which is revitalizing the Midway District and Sports Arena. It’s providing over 2000+  affordable homes and adding parks, open space, and climate-resilient development.

2. Embracing Frictionless Food Markets

Woman Grocery Shopping

With technology revolutionizing the retail landscape, venues are hopping aboard the frictionless food markets bandwagon.. These futuristic food markets allow fans to grab their snacks and beverages and walk out, all without standing in long lines or checking out with cashiers –  not just an innovative solution, but a delightful fan experience.

Some of the arenas incorporating this seamless experience include Intuit Dome, Arena, Allegiant Stadium, and Lumen Field.

3. Amplifying the Fan Experience

In an era where we appreciate the comforts of home and could easily stream a game if needed, venues have to go the extra mile to make the live experience worthwhile. The result? Enhanced parking facilities, state-of-the-art apps for seamless navigation, superior amenities, and of course, the aforementioned entertainment districts and frictionless markets.

All the buzz currently in the venue world is about the incredible Sphere at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. This 18,000+ capacity venue provides a new visual experience for audiences, with stunning animation displays on the venue exterior and within the seating bowl. 

4. Championing Sustainable Venue Designs

The global call for sustainability is echoing in the world of venue designs too. Today, arenas are not just constructed to be grand and aesthetically pleasing but are also built with a conscious purpose. From the choice of construction materials to how they are powered, there’s an undeniable push towards eco-friendly methods. Many new venues are seeking the LEED building status, which is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint.

One way to do this is through the creation of a digital twin. This enables all of a venue’s stakeholders – its internal teams, brand partners, suppliers, talent and athletes, local authorities, security services and more – to visualise the venue exactly as it will be for any given event. This makes venue planning more efficient and sustainable, with less site visits needed, and so a reduction in the associated carbon emissions of less travel. 

Football pitch in Venue Twin, OnePlan's digital twin software

It’s exciting to see how venues are being reimagined and reinvented to offer unparalleled experiences while staying attuned to global needs and technological advancements. Whether you’re an event planner, a sports enthusiast, or just someone keen on witnessing the future of entertainment spaces, the horizons of innovation are undoubtedly bright.

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