While it is no secret that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the global events industry, the Arena Group is proud to have been able to persevere, adapt, and excel in the delivery of a number of world-class projects throughout 2020, despite the challenging conditions and restricted landscape.
In addition to a wide range of COVID-19 relief structures including temporary testing sites, field hospitals, and cold storage which the Group has delivered globally, Arena has continued to deliver both semi-permanent projects and infrastructure for live events. All these projects have been delivered under strict guidelines to ensure the safety of the company’s staff, clients, and event attendees. The Arena Group’s ‘COVID-19 Workplace Operating Procedures’ were put in place by the company’s in-house HSE team, led by Alex Spinks, Head of Health, Safety & Environment, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the safety protocols recommended by the UK Government.
In February 2020, Arena was awarded a contract with E20 Stadium LLP, owners of London Stadium, to develop new seating systems in the north and south of the stadium. The contract saw Arena deliver two, new, lower tier stands bringing 6,000 fans up to four meters closer to the pitch than the existing system allowed. The design created a traditional “kop” feel to the seating arrangement for pitch-based events, such as football, helping to enhance the match-day experience for fans. The system also allows for faster seat moves between events to help reduce costs in the UK’s largest multi-use stadium.
Graham Gilmore, CEO of London Stadium said: “We are delighted to have delivered this project because of the additional benefits it brings both in terms of bringing the stand closer to the pitch and providing more efficient seat moves.
Our multi-use Stadium brings major global sporting and entertainment events to London, along with Premier League football, benefiting the local and city-wide economy. This is a further example of the efficiencies and improvements we are driving to create a sustainable business for the long-term.”
Following the successful delivery of the seating retrofit in September 2020, London Stadium appointed Arena Group to install safety rails for more than 3,000 spectators. The rails will be installed in the South Stand following consultation with the Sport Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) over persistent standing in isolated areas of the upper tier of the stand. The work is a positive move to ensure a safer experience for football spectators at the venue and is scheduled for completion by March 2021.
The Group also commenced work for Scottish Rugby in early 2020, having been awarded a contract to develop and supply a new seating system for Edinburgh Rugby’s new stadium on the back pitches of BT Murrayfield, in December 2019.
Arena delivered a traditionally styled, 7,800 capacity stadium consisting of four, covered seating grandstands and three, covered standing spectator terraces, including a disabled viewing platform, designed to enhance the match-day experience and accessibility for Edinburgh Rugby’s dedicated fan-base. This was a full turnkey seating solution for Edinburgh Rugby’s new home, complete with dugout seating, a coaches’ box, media enclosure and a camera gantry.
Scottish Rugby Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay, commented on Arena’s appointment: “Arena Group are a proven leader within their industry with an excellent reputation. We’re really excited to work with them as they help develop a fantastic project for Scottish Rugby as well as the new home of Edinburgh Rugby.”
Located on the back pitches of Murrayfield Stadium and featuring Arena’s cost-effective, proprietary grandstand seating solutions, the new venue was ready to host matches from the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
Later in the year, Arena supported Matchroom Boxing in bringing top-tier boxing back, with the supply of temporary event infrastructure for the revolutionary Fight Camp boxing event which took place over four weeks from 1st August 2020. Situated in the Gardens of Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex, the Fight Camp event was the first boxing series of its kind in the UK since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Arena supplied a diverse range of services for the series including full site production and HSE management, changing rooms with bathrooms and air conditioning, security cabins, sanitisation stations, welfare cabins and marquees, and temporary pad and canopy for the ring, in addition to flat spectator seats and ancillary services inclusive of toilets, generators, trakway and floodlighting.
Frank Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Matchroom Boxing Global, said: “As always, it’s been a true pleasure to work with the Arena team. During these testing times we are delighted to be putting on an event of this magnitude and Arena have been a huge part of making the event the success it is!”
Arena rounded off its year with the seamless delivery of three fully managed ‘COVID secure’ Ice Rinks, located at Hampton Court Palace, Warwick Castle, and Royal Museums Greenwich. In the face of extreme adversity, and an ever-changing regulatory landscape, Arena took the tenacious decision to move forward with the three rinks and offered 100,000 members of the British public the opportunity to get outside and skate over the festive period – for which the Group has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.
This success would not have been possible without the unwavering support of each of the rink partners, Historic Royal Palaces, Royal Museums Greenwich and Warwick Castle, and Arena now looks forward to further strengthening these relationships in 2021.
Jamie Turner, Head of Sales & Marketing at Warwick Castle said:
“We have been really impressed with Arena in what has been an incredibly challenging year, they have delivered an amazing Ice Rink experience this Christmas. Their professionalism and health & safety knowledge has been second to none and the experience was safe, magical and as festive as ever. In a difficult period, the rink still drew impressive numbers of visitors and helped to position the Christmas at the Castle event as a tradition now, in many families across the midlands and beyond. We hope to make next year’s event bigger and better!”
Claire Bastin, Head of Events at Royal Museums Greenwich said:
“This is our second year of working in partnership with Arena on Queen's House Ice Rink and despite Covid-19, the ice rink - albeit for a short season - was a roaring success.
The whole team at Arena poured their heart and soul into opening the rink in the middle of a global pandemic and overcome every challenge presented by the restrictions that were in place. Their professional and customer centric approach ensured that skaters were able to enjoy a safe and memorable experience. We look forward to working with Arena in 2021.”
So, as Arena enters 2021, they will continue to consciously set themselves big goals. They will plan for how to achieve the impossible and stick with their goals, even if the landscape changes again and again – they will adapt along the way. They will stay focused, believe in themselves and achieve great things. 2020 was a year of tenacity, flexibility, and resilience, combined with over 250 years’ experience. They truly believe they are unique and that their customers are in safe hands with Arena.