Data is all around us. The sheer amount of data generated each day is continually increasing. A very small percentage is actually used and raw data on its own is worthless. It is the analysis and interpretation of the data and how it is applied intelligently to problems or answering questions that truly demonstrate its real value. As former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg said ‘If you can't measure it, you can't manage it and you can't fix it!’ With this in mind how can intelligent data be used to improve stadia design? What aspects of design, construction or their operation could data analytics be applied to gain meaningful improvements for spectators, owners or operators?

The basic design principals of a stadium are based on numerical parameters, formulae, ratios that together collectively form its DNA. From its fundamental setting out geometry, to the formulae that defines the sightlines and seating bowl to the area provisions applied to the different user group numbers in the stadium and the three dimensional form that is created they are all driven by data. But how can this data improve stadia design?

Within the sports team here at Arup we have been analysing and applying data analytics to a number of new projects and initiatives to improve our designs. We have developed a Stadium and Arena Benchmarking Tool to provide clients with the right information to manage their expectations and validate their design. We are applying knowledge gained from Arup’s Aviation team on airport design to understand optimum crowd flow movements in relation to locating retail units to maximise revenue. We have also been investigating football ticket prices and running simulations to see how different teams commercialise the quality of view that spectators have in their particular stadium.

These are just a brief snapshot at some of our current data driven initiatives being applied to our stadium projects as we continue to be a world leader in sports architecture and design.

 Andrew Edge Senior Sports Architect