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Monetize, commercialize and “Americanize” the stadiums of Europe? I say “Be careful what you ask for”

Jan 10, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

Emirates Stadium

In terms of transfer news happening overnight – It’s not really “overnight” in Europe, see? So things, you know, “happen” – there were no big haymakers, only a few little jabs here and there.

In terms of potential U.S. players moving overseas, there wasn’t even that.

But one prominent newspaper took the opportunity to evaluate how a significant element of American sports definitely is being transferred overseas, if only bit by bit.

It’s the American ability to monetize a facility.

Personally, I do enjoy the older world European model, where a stadium is actually a place to play an athletic event, and for fans to actually get lost in an athletic event (rather than getting lost in a gooey bowl of nachos). You might get a beer or a hot chocolate before kickoff, and if you’re fast, you can sneak in a bonus refreshment at halftime. If you’re fast – because those lines inside the cramped concourses get long in a super-big hurry.

I don’t need to stock up on chicken tenders and all beef doggers or purchase bags full of memories. And I certainly don’t need to be up-sold the “premium experience,” whatever that is. (Jeezey-Pete, it’s a soccer game, not a Caribbean Cruise!)

But some people clearly like it and are willing to pay for it. Hence, the massive American football grounds with massive opportunity to throw down as much green as you darn well please. We enjoy our excess in American, and this is the reality of modern sports.

Now, the author of this piece in the Guardian, who works for a design firm that specializes in facility research, says Europeans are slowly getting better at emulating their American counterparts.

He uses Arsenal’s relatively new Emirates Stadium as an example, and says the new ground recently announced for AS Roma (you go, Michael Bradley!) will feature much of the same lucrative fancy-schmancy.

It’s not just the premium pricing where Americans excel, it’s also the overall commercialization aspect. Over here, of course, we probably are thinking, “Be careful what you ask for.”

Where I live, the big colossus of a football stadium includes a store just to sell freakin’ women’s panties. Panties! At a football stadium.

Any-who … here’s what Joshua Boren has to say about it in this morning’s Guardian (linked above).

Given the overall success of the business model it was only a matter of time before it was imported and replicated by overseas clubs seeking new – and renovated – stadiums. The most notable and easily recognizable example is that of Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal and opened in 2006.

Emirates, boasting American influence and design elements, became the model for UEFA and other European clubs seeking ways to maximize revenue and better the overall fan experience. Emirates has been hailed for its success and has highlighted another area where clubs could compete beyond the pitch in the ever-growing arms war that is football; stadium development and commercial rights.

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