Colm Moran, facility manager at Thomond
Park, shares how stadium operations can
be transformed for the better by technology
tadia are hard venues to manage. Many
rely on hundreds, if not thousands, of
part time sta to ensure event days go o
without a hitch.
At omond Park, the home of
Munster Rugby Club, on a match day,
we see the number of sta rise from a few
dozen to over 1,500. Relying on paper-based methods is
untenable in the long-term when dealing with that many
contractors, so what are the alternatives?
Today, there is the trend to make many things
smart. From smart watches to smart cities, technology
is revolutionizing all aspects of our lives. Stadium
management is no di erent. However, when we
redeveloped omond Park in 2008 to increase capacity
to over 26,000, our paper-based operation was anything
but smart. e clunky and clumsy operation worked, but
it was neither streamlined nor intuitive. Reports had to
be written up based on the event’s notes, with data o en
being inaccessible until a week a er gameday and o en
not before the next event. By the time we had properly
analysed our data, it was already old.
Many in the industry rely on the same slow process.
However, thanks to innovations in sta management
and operations technology, the industry can nally step
up to the next level.
A smart stadium is relatively straightforward to
implement and requires just two changes: the deployment
of sensors and the use of mobile devices by sta and
contractors. Wireless sensors can be deployed in various
parts of a stadium to track key assets, from making sure
screens are working to monitoring lighting infrastructure.
ese can feed back data in real time to central
management as well as triggering di erent tasks and
work ow orders to ensure action is taken when required.
However, as all operations professionals will know,
the key to a smoothly run stadium is good sta . It’s the
use of technology to empower sta and contractors that
really makes a stadium smarter. Solutions such as those we
employed at omond Park can be used by sta members
on their mobile devices. All of the data being monitored
by those sensors can be loaded onto an app and sent
directly to relevant teams through their mobile devices.
ese systems also allow for sta members to update their
location through the use of RFID tag technology. e
bene t of this allows the control room to see exactly where
in the venue sta are, and to be able to coordinate quicker
and more e ective responses to problems as and when
e core of what we do in the stadium management
industry is ensuring the fan experience is the best it
can possibly be. By empowering our frontline sta and
streamlining their work, as well as being able to track
what needs to be done and who is doing what, stadium
managers can spend less time managing people and more
time getting on with operations. is allows both the
management team and frontline workers to spend less
time lling in forms and more time championing and
improving the fan experience during an event.
To say that smart stadia are the future would be an
understatement. Removing paper-based processes and
replacing them with real time data collection, which can
be accessed by front-line workers is already revolutionizing
stadium operations. Our experience at omond Park is
proof that it is a smart idea. ■
Colm Moran has 29 years’ experience working as an operations manager
across multiple disciplines, including at a multi-award winning stadium.
omond Park, in Limerick, Ireland, has recently deployed a bespoke
digital solution from Over-C to automate operational processes.
FINAL WHISTLE www.stadia-magazine.com March 2020 66