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Building of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium [VIDEO]

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Arsenal have won one trophy in the last nine years and while patience is wearing thin for the club’s performances on the pitch, one aspect that the club has succeeded tremendously has been off the pitch.  The club recently signed a lucrative kit deal with Puma, which was preceded by a new sponsorship deal with Emirates for shirt and stadium rights.  In addition, much of the club’s debt from building Emirates Stadium has been reduced as the club has successfully reinvested its revenues into paying off the stadium.  Along with the new lucrative television deals that the Premier League has signed, Arsenal have benefitted greatly from a financial standpoint.  Of course, having one of the newest stadiums with upgraded facilities and a new pitch has also contributed greatly to Arsenal’s recent financial resurgence.

The short film, “Building the Emirates Stadium,” summarizes the conceptualizing of the stadium and briefly outlines the progress throughout the construction.  What distinguishes the film is not so much the construction of the stadium, but how the relationship between Arsenal, the builder, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, and the designer, HoK Sport Architecture, positively impacted the whole project.  Had the 3 entities not worked well together, the film makes it clear that the project would not have gone as smoothly.

There are some highlights that indicate the strength of the relationship between Arsenal and its construction partners.  One example was when one of the banks that had committed funding to the stadium suddenly withdrew from the project, meaning that construction would have to be halted.  Given the importance of having the stadium being completed on time, the Arsenal board injected some of the club’s money into the project in order to avoid a lengthy interruption in the construction until another lender was found.  Sir Robert McAlpine and HoK made it clear that the club’s investment kept the Emirates Stadium project on track, and was able to carry on without incident thus ensuring that the stadium’s completion date was unaffected.

Another potential challenge that the stadium project faced was that there was a recycling plant on the site that served the county.  The club and council discussed the issue, and a deal was completed that saw Arsenal assist the community in relocating the recycling plant to a larger, and new facility.  The good faith shown by the club as well as an early start to negotiating with the local council ensured a smooth relocation process and again, avoided potential delays.  The club was able to secure a new site for the plant and helped the council in its construction to ensure a smooth completion.  Thus, the old plant could be demolished for the stadium construction to commence.

Emirates Stadium’s completion date was supposed to be August 1, 2006.  However, Arsenal’s fourth place finish the previous season meant that the club would have to play an early qualifying match.  As a result, the club asked to have the completion date moved forward.  By July, the stadium was completed and Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial was the first match where a capacity crowd was able to visit the stadium.  Again, while HoK and Sir Robert McAlpine had to scramble to ensure the completion date was met, both entities credited the collaboration with and working together with the club as one of the chief reasons the earlier date was able to be met.

The film really goes into a lot of detail regarding the other challenges that were faced and emphasizes that despite the challenges, the stadium was completed on time and on budget.  With clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea looking to get new stadiums, each club could look at the Emirates Stadium template as a guide to getting their stadiums built.  I would recommend that Arsenal fans and neutrals watch the film as it is informative and focuses on the importance of constant communication and teamwork amongst those involved in a daunting project where there are numerous stakeholders.

Mobile app users, watch the video here.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

    • Christopher Harris

      October 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Thanks Cody. I wasn’t aware that we had already published that. The documentary is so good that we published it twice! 🙂

      • Cody

        October 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

        it is good 🙂

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