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Behind the trophies and tournaments at top stadiums​

All aspects of the stadiums – through from building and grounds maintenance to managing the myriad of staff behind the scenes – are also under pressure to put on a good show to ensure a positive customer experience.

Wimbledon just crowned its winners after two weeks of tennis’ most competitive play – on grass courts, which experience much more wear and tear than the more common surface, asphalt.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosted a total of 1.3 million fans across six Canadian cities throughout its tournament – and broke broadcast viewing records in the process. And earlier this summer at the United Center in Chicago, the Chicago Blackhawks clinched the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League’s top honor. While the ice was perfectly chilled inside the arena, heat, humidity and tornados greeted fans outside on that June day.

And while these events are often among highlights of the sporting calendars for fans, for people managing the stadiums they’re all part of the day job – and a new week often comes with new events.

“When you manage an arena, you need to consider a variety of events that may require swapping hard courts for hard ice, accommodations for camera crews and tens of thousands of visitors coming through the doors,” says Kim Sinkovic, Senior Vice President of Operations for JLL’s Property Management platform. “There is a great deal of behind-the-scenes action to deliver a seamless, unforgettable experience for visitors, but also drive efficient, cost-saving operations for the building’s owner. Property management plays an integral part in all of that.”

FOX raked in $40 billion in ad revenue during the Women’s World Cup broadcast and in spite of holding no official sponsorships, Wimbledon brings in nearly $50 million. Clearly, events being held at arenas are a revenue-producing business. But profitability requires effective property management.

Getting the right technology​

Arenas have thousands of pieces of equipment and Sinkovic points to the importance of investing in sophisticated energy management systems (EMS), which aligns indoor and outdoor temperatures with the machines’ start and stop times. This reduces costs regardless of event or season, but factor in a playoff run like the Chicago Blackhawks: warm temperatures and increased humidity can lead to a hot, uncomfortable spectator area and ‘soft ice,’ which directly impacts the game’s play. And without an updated EMS, owners will end up spending extra on utilities to mitigate these potential pitfalls.

Another cost-saver is installing variable-frequency drives (VFDs). Think cooling towers, fans, pumps, motors: these drives can be installed in machines throughout the arena and allow property managers to adjust the frequency and voltage to meet the requirements of the electric motor’s load, rather than constantly running at full speed. This plays an integral role not only in saving money but sustainability.

Beyond savings, though, is safety. With millions of visitors pouring through arenas annually, and tens of thousands of guests at a given event, a vetted emergency action plan is crucial. Ensuring the response team understands their duties, has a recently updated and well-rehearsed plan in will save lives in the event of a real emergency.

Just like the sporting events held at arenas, effective property management comes down to teamwork. “Building a well-versed and collaborative team of property managers, property administrators and engineers is crucial to seamless operations with properties highly sensitive to a variety of maintenance factors,” says Sinkovic.

This article originally appeared on Real Views, JLL's news site that features stories exploring the world of real estate and its impact on the wider business world. Visit the Real Views site to subscribe for our weekly email of top stories, delivered direct to your inbox.