With nearly 300 delegates from over 30 countries, representing more than 50 stadiums, over 25 soccer clubs and approximately 20 future stadium projects, Stadium Business Summit 2011 was an international industry event that attracted many well-known global sports executives. The Summit was held in Barcelona, Spain, from June 14 to 16 and was supported by a host of industry backers.
This year’s Summit aimed to explore the critical issues facing the stadium and major sports venue sector, with a special focus on customer service. Paul Barber, chief executive officer of Whitecaps FC, was invited to attend the Stadium Business Summit to deliver a presentation titled “Vancouver Whitecaps FC: One Team. Three Stadiums. Twelve Months.” His speech touched on the re-launch of a near 40-year-old soccer club in North America, which is based on a European model, grassroots development, and community involvement.
Barber presented alongside Michael Bolingbroke, chief operating officer, Manchester United FC, Jean-Claude Blanc, a member of the board of Italian giants Juventus FC, and Steve Sayer, operations director from our summer visitors, Manchester City FC.
“It's fantastic for our club to be positioned amongst the biggest and best soccer clubs and other sporting organizations in the world,” said Barber. "Opportunities such as these will help us realize our vision of being one of the best sport franchises in the world.”
Other major soccer clubs represented at the Summit included FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, Real Madrid, Galatasaray, and Arsenal FC, among others.
The Summit included presentations from other top sporting organizations including the Canadian Olympic Committee, a tour of Estadi Cornella-El Prat stadium and Camp Nou, and the Stadium Business Awards. Empire Field was shortlisted for an award in the New Venue category alongside Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, Turkey; New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey; Legia Warsaw Stadium in Warsaw, Poland; AVIVA Stadium in Dublin, Ireland; Omnilife Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico; and Haydock Park Racecourse for Live Music Open-Air Concerts.