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#SBS23 Guest Spotlight: Bristol Rovers FC

Featured image credit: Bristol Rovers FC

Featured image credit: Bristol Rovers FC

Ahead of TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2023David Bright, Head of Sales at Bristol Rovers, discusses the League One football club’s plans to enhance the Memorial Stadium site.

Bright joined Rovers in December 2021 and, in his current role, oversees the revenues generated for the club across the likes of sponsorship, hospitality, non-matchday, ticketing, retail and marketing.

Bright was previously Head of Cricket Sales at Glamorgan Cricket from February 2020, joining the Cardiff-based organisation having worked as Golf Day Sales Manager at Celtic Manor Resort from November 2016.

TheStadiumBusiness: What are the key current challenges and opportunities in the football stadium and events marketplace?

David Bright: “The biggest challenge is being unique in the marketplace. We are operating on a site that is almost 100 years old, so we have to be clever in how we retro fit new experiences and new technology into our space.

“You then need to draw people in with content to show what you are doing, under the skin of a historic stadium venue. With so much content to digest, we have to make sure that we keep up with competitors and then try and stand out with small wins.”

TSB: What are the most interesting trends you are witnessing in the football stadium and events sector?

DB: “There are so many at the moment, that, by the time I’ve written this, next week we’ll see something new.

“I think the contactless beer dispensing marketing is amazing. To be able to offer that experience in your stadium can reduce queuing and becomes another unique experience you have that others don’t.

“I also think that those stadiums offering any hospitality that blends a view into the tunnel, really gives fans the chance to feel even closer to the game. The rotating glass at Saracens (StoneX Stadium) takes that another step further and I think that’s really key for 365 stadium use as well.”

TSB: What’s on the roadmap for Bristol Rovers over the next six to 12 months?

DB: “We need to continually improve the site we are on, so we will be refurbishing another hospitality lounge and introducing a new product in that category for the 2023-24 season. We are looking at the basic facilities that fans should expect to see improvements in, so adding more toilets, more F&B outlets and improving the ones we have currently.

“But probably the biggest project for us this summer will be the regeneration of the Brunel Group South Stand in the stadium. A semi-permanent structure 20 years ago, it’s reached the time where that needs to change.

“We are looking to increase the seating capacity in that area from 1,300 to around 4,000. This is a big investment and needed a plan that showed we had the appetite for that many more fans to attend games. But we feel confident we’ve answered our own questions when it comes to that, and what we can see as a return on the investment.

“Retro fitting this means that we have to consider existing floodlights, the location of our big screen and the need for more services and facilities, so you end up working with a number of outside agents, on one single project.”

TSB: What are you looking forward to most about the Summit?

DB: “Last year I bumped into someone that I’d not seen for six years, so I have to say that catching up with people who’ll be there is on the list. Then I’d say taking in as many of the talks as possible. I listened to some really good people last year, so hope to hear more again this year.”