With the 2014 FIFA World Cup soon coming to a close, it is a guarantee that the diehard fans who stood in line and bought tickets will remember the thrill of the games, the tension between the competing teams, the fierce efforts of the players, and the cacophony of cheers and singing heard throughout the matches. Not a lot of people know that these memories are made possible by creating the perfect stadium atmosphere.
In an in-depth article, the BBC’s Martin Vennard discusses the importance of creating a stadium’s ideal ambiance:
Creating an atmosphere is not only about generating as much noise as possible. It is also about making the fans feel they are a part of an event and giving them an experience they could not get by watching it on television at home.
So how do stadium designers across the globe achieve this much coveted environment?
Proximity to the field is the key. Roy Sheard, who designed the London Olympic Stadium, West Ham United’s home, created a tight but comfortable space in order for spectators to be close to the game. He said that, “we fought hard to keep that a tight bowl, so that the vast majority of the crowd were close. Even the last row felt connected.”
This is also true for the Millennium Stadium, another one of Sheard’s creation. “It’s almost impossible not to be engaged with what’s happening on the pitch at the Millennium Stadium, especially when it’s enclosed with the retractable roof on and the Welsh rugby fans singing.”
Acoustics is also an essential component. David Kerlie, Chairman of KSS Sports Architects and Designers, argue that people respond to long reverberations.
The closer people are, the more the audience hear the players, the thud of the ball, the cheers, and the melodic chanting, the more memorable the experience will be.
Finally, careful sectioning should also be taken into consideration. Architects, designers, and stadium managers must also consider where the home and away fans stand. They must both be able to enjoy the game and do their own cheers without alienating the other party.