The first in a series on how to plan an event in unique large scale venues.
Finding the perfect venue space is one of a meeting planner’s top priorities when they start to plan an event. Once you have that, you can piece together the rest of the puzzle.
KONCEPT EVENTS team of event professionals are the best when it comes to delivering a venue that will exceed client’s expectations. That frequently means stepping outside of the box and learning how to plan an event in a less common space; while still providing the seamless, high-level service that our clients count on. With hundreds of events produced by KE annually, we’ve gathered a pretty extensive arsenal of tricks to get our team through events in some of the more unusual places.
One of our favorite unique venues has become the sports stadium. These massive venues are perfect for large groups, fan groups, or anyone looking to have that wow factor experience that makes you feel like for that one day – you hit that home run or scored that winning touch down.
Recently, KE PROGRAM MANAGER KENDALL CASE executed a FRESH event at RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM in Tampa, Florida. Case delivered another massively successful event to KE’s clients in this large scale venue. Here are some of Case’s top secrets for planning a stadium event – inspired by the home of the world famous National Football League team the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS.
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Don’t Think of Your Back-Up Plan As a Back Up Plan: In an emergency, don’t expect to just shift your event from a lush green, wide open space lawn to an indoor restaurant or club style venue in the stadium and have it work the same way. Walk your back-up plan space in full and test out every aspect of what you have booked for the original event structure. Your decor, entertainment, heating and/or cooling, power source, vendor set and strike etc. can all be greatly affected and need a totally custom and detailed approach should you need to take advantage of “plan B.”
Seasonal Affects: Most stadiums are happy to host a corporate group throughout the year. But the time of year you plan your event may create many variables beyond just what the stadium was initially built to house. For example, if the stadium is being used more frequently for something such as football season, the building may already be structured and paid for to have certain flooring, AV capabilities, and more that you do not have to incur additional expenses to install for your event. This can greatly reduce the expenses that need to be budgeted. On the same token, many items are not kept in a stadium year round and your corporate group may incur those expenses depending on the time of year they are holding their event.
The Best Laid Plans: Many venues can supply a full floor plan for the space that will include all of the front and back of house specifications. Due to the high risk of terrorism or other security conflicts that may be a threat to a stadium venue, a floor plan of this extensive nature will likely not be available. The KE team utilized as many resources as they could to create their own custom venue layout at RJ Stadium.
Venue Vendors: Stadiums often have specific service standards and needs, high-level security and high-level contracts for their venue partners. This is important to note. This is often a very intimidating detail for the Program Manager that has promised the client the highest level of service – while having to relinquish some control over to the stadium staffing management. It is very important that the stadium contact and the Program Manager have a lot of communication and that the Program Manager has been very clear about the expectations for the staff for their event.
Kick-Off Time: Stadium turf (the special green grass that athletes play on) is very unique and expensive to maintain. The day of the event, additional time should be allocated to lay down plywood and vendors should be very carefully scheduled to load in their product. Due to the sensitive nature of the turf, having a large group of vendors all use the wide open space to deliver products won’t be acceptable. The turf can not be disturbed in any way – so paths for set-up are reduced and traditional dollies can not be used to deliver product. Each item must be wheeled over pre-set plywood boards to protect the ground.
It’s Showtime: Due to the sensitivity of the turf in stadiums, stages need to be elevated and dance floors can not remain laid for long. Therefore, depending on the duration of your event, the dance floor installation needs to be scheduled as one of your last pieces of the set-up. At RJ Stadium, the dance floor is not allowed to be down for more than 8 hours so this means that the set-up and break-down time must be taken into account for this total duration.
Security Check: Security in a stadium is traditionally high thanks to the extensive amount of entrances and exits to the facility, the overall massive size of the space, and the fact that crowd control is a part of the stadium’s daily functions. At RJ Stadium, Case was required to provide a very detailed list of vendors. This included photo ID’s and was delivered weeks in advance of the event. On the day of the event vendors were given wristbands and if ALL credentials did not align with the preceding provided information, then a vendor was not permitted to enter the premises without Case’s in-person approval.
With these top tips, every stadium event is a total touch-down!
Creative Inspiration: Program Manager, Kendall Case
Koncept Events Program Manager Kendall Case.