Exhibition arenas for your talent

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AMEX Stadium, Brighton Brighton and Hove Albion’s new £93m American Express Community (AMEX) Stadium, which had its official opening last summer, has made a quick impact in the exhibition market. In June, it hosted the Eco Technology Show, which had 4,600 attendees over two days, Tool Show 2012 in July, which welcomed 4,500 attendees across two days, and 4,000 attendees for the one-day BabyExpo in November. The stadium has four exhibition venues, which provide a total of 4,400sqm. The largest is the West Concourse with 1,400sqm. The North Concourse has 1,200sqm. The venue has nine lounges, five concourses and outdoor space. There’s also car parking for 800 cars and Falmer train station onsite, which is an eight-minute ride from Brighton station. It offers complimentary Wi-Fi, steward-assisted traffic management for exhibitors to ‘get in’ and ‘break down’, complimentary office space for show organisers and use of the press and media lounge for attending media teams, partnerships with local hotels to provide preferential rates on accommodation for exhibitors, exclusive exhibitor parking, a dedicated area for oversized vehicles and vans, and crew catering packages. Event sales executive Niki Davis said organisers are looking for new and innovative ways to offer an ‘experience’ at shows. “We have installed a giant scalectrix track at a recent health and safety exhibition and conference, while for the Tool Show we hosted product demos pitch side with exhibitors seated in the terraces, having the stadium bowl as a fantastic backdrop,” she said. The AMEX has also won an international award for its new venue facilities. The Seagulls’ home beat seven other stadiums around the world to win the New Venue Award at the Stadium Business Awards in Turin, Italy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Emirates Stadium, London The Emirates Stadium, home to Premiership giants Arsenal, hosts about 20 exhibitions a year and up to 100 events which have an exhibition element. These include music exhibitions, academic venue shows and student fairs. Events at the North London stadium attract up to 2,500 visitors a day, according to meetings and events manager Dina Toori. “Many of these are repeat clients, perhaps testament to the fact that we are an ideal location for exhibitions,” she said. “Accessibility to the stadium is easy as we’re only two tube stops from Kings Cross St Pancras with two tube stations (Arsenal and Holloway Road) and one overland train station (Drayton Park).  Entrance into the stadium includes underground access into the suites, via lifts.” The Emirates Stadium has four interconnected suites, each over 1,000sqm and two of about 500sqm with ceiling heights of six metres and pitch views. To attract organisers and exhibitors, the venue offers free Wi-Fi connection for organisers and visitors, crew catering options, enhanced portering services and exhibitor drop-off and pick-up parking slots. Toori has noticed that with many of the free-to-enter exhibitions at the site, organisers look for a ‘hook’ to attract more visitors.  “We help by offering options such as our self-guided interactive stadium tours or visits to the Arsenal Museum. The intrigue the venue naturally attracts often helps,” she said. “They may also look to organise seminars around the exhibition to help attract visitor numbers.” The club recently refurbished its Woolwich Suite to include lift access and a dedicated reception area. “It really is the ideal exhibition venue,” Toori added. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chelsea Football Club, London Champions League winners Chelsea FC have three main exhibition halls at the Stamford Bridge ground. The Great Hall is the largest function room within the stadium offering 1,400sqm of exhibition space and accommodating 750 guests. The stadium also has the Centenary Hall, which was refurbished last year for meetings and events. It can host 550 people in 520sqm of space. Centenary Hall is the largest space at the venue with direct views of the pitch and includes two bars, an adjoining enclosed seating area in the stadium and direct access to the two onsite hotels. Under the Bridge, the venue’s state-of-the-art music venue can also host events. It claims to be one of the most advanced music venues in London, with 720sqm of floor space including a dance floor, two large bars, onsite catering facilities, a purpose-built stage for music acts and a luxury green room. Under the Bridge is set within an industrial-styled interior, boasting the largest photography display of British artists under one roof. It has a basement gross area of 718sqm. The club’s Millennium and Copthorne Hotels offer 281 bedrooms and four restaurants and bars, including Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White’s ‘Marco’ restaurant, and Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, co-owned by Frankie Dettori. Centrally located in the West End of London, the club is 12 miles from Heathrow Airport, 10 minutes from West Brompton rail station, and 400m from Fulham Broadway underground station. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ricoh Arena, Coventry The Ricoh Arena in Coventry has 16,000sqm of flexible space catering for up to 7,000 delegates. The purpose-built exhibition and conference centre includes the 6,000sqm Jaguar Exhibition Hall, a 650-seater auditorium with retractable seating, the 1,000-seat column-free E.ON Lounge, the 1,000sqm IBEX Hall 3, the Yorkshire Bank Lounge and the Legends Lounge. Other facilities include 2,000 secure onsite car-parking spaces, one of the biggest casinos in the UK, and offices for exhibition organisers. Wi-Fi is available throughout. The venue is also looking to increase the exhibition space in the Jaguar Exhibition Hall. “We have attracted a number of organisers who have started small and grown their exhibitions significantly,” said Ricoh Arena marketing director Liz Cooper. “Typically, our exhibitions are centred on the clothing, fashion, IT, utilities, energy efficiency, food, industrial and sport industries. Similarly, large-scale national association meetings and retail high street brands are a real focus.” Exhibition organisers have stated their focus for the venue is value for money rather than simply requiring the lowest possible venue rates. “We are also looking at our hotel sourcing service and onsite hotel check-in to ease and reduce transfer time for exhibitors and delegates who are not staying onsite,” said Cooper. With the Ricoh Arena hosting 12 matches in the Olympics this summer, and with a train station planned to be open by next summer, the venue is set to increase its reach in the exhibition market.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wembley Stadium, London The iconic Wembley Stadium has three significant exhibition spaces. The venue has a busy few weeks lined up, as it is currently hosting Olympic football matches including the final on 11 August. The Great Hall is Wembley Stadium’s leading exhibition area, providing 2,080sqm of space. Next in terms of size is the Atrium, which has 1,400sqm, and can be used in conjunction with The Wembley Suite, which offers 616sqm and is suitable as a reception area, potentially for exhibition registration. “Many clients use the two rooms to hold different aspects of an event, such as an exhibition and conference in one room, and a reception and dinner in the other area,” said Jackie Boughton, head of sales, conference and banqueting. Wi-Fi connections are available in all rooms on request, and the stadium has Eclipse Presentations as an onsite AV supplier to meet client requirements. The venue re-opened in 2007 and has already attracted regular repeat bookings. For the last four years, The Sport Merchandise and Marketing Exhibition has held its annual exhibition there, and recently signed a contract to stay at Wembley for the next two years. The exhibition attracts more than 120 exhibitors and 700 key decision makers and buyers from more than 20 sports. According to Boughton, business events at Wembley are not just an alternative revenue-generating use of space but a core part of the stadium’s business plan. “Unlike older venues, the facilities at Wembley were built with the end user in mind, and the size of our rooms make it perfect for conferences with supporting exhibitions and small- to medium-size start-up exhibitions looking for a new home,” she said. The venue is easily accessible by road, rail and air. This was first published in the August edition of EN. Any comments? Email sarah@mashmedia.net
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