Ahead of TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2022, Rob Wicks, commercial director at Scottish Premiership football club Aberdeen, discusses how Pittodrie stadium has fared during the COVID-19 reopening, along with what is on the agenda for the club in the coming months.
Wicks joined Aberdeen in January 2018 following over 10 years working for Powerboat P1 Management, latterly as managing director from April 2017.
Prior to that he served as commercial and sponsorship manager for Suzuki’s MotoGP operation from January 2005 to September 2007, and marketing and commercial manager for FGSport, a rights-holder for the Superbike World Championship, for over five years.
TheStadiumBusiness: How is the reopening/return of fans going for Aberdeen?
Rob Wicks: “Scottish football is far more dependent on income generated from season tickets and walk-up sales than most European leagues, so it’s been an incredibly tough two years with tougher restrictions here for longer than those seen in England.
“Our fans have been incredibly supportive, and we hit a record for the number of season ticket sales back in July of 2021. We know there are still some fans that have been reluctant to return, but our operations team have implemented rigorous procedures and been highly commended by the SFA (Scottish Football Association) for all that we have done to welcome fans back.”
TSB: What’s on the roadmap for the club over the next six to 12 months?
RW: “We are at an advanced stage of discussion with the City Council about the regeneration of the beachfront area in Aberdeen, a stone’s throw away from our current stadium, Pittodrie.
“The vision for the redevelopment of Aberdeen’s iconic beach includes the opportunity for a new stadium and new leisure facilities, significant improvements to the public realm and a real sense of placemaking.
“We are working with specialist consultants, the Council and our architects to develop a detailed business case and funding plan which could see the club relocate to a state-of-the-art new stadium for the first time in its 119-year history.”
TSB: What are you looking forward to most about the Summit?
RW: “Seeing people face-to-face again will be a highlight, as will the opportunity to see some of the new products and services on offer. We’re actively developing our sustainability strategy and journey to net zero so it will be interesting to see and hear developments from other clubs and stadiums that are leading the way in this.”
Join Rob Wicks – and hundreds of colleagues from the sector – at TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2022 in Manchester on 5-6 July. Sign up here.
Stadium rendering: Aberdeen/Aberdeen City Council