Preparing a football stadium for a big match involves a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure everything is in place for a seamless and memorable event. From the playing surface to the seating arrangements and security measures, here are some things that happen before the first whistle is blown.
Groundskeeping and Playing Surface
The playing surface is the most crucial aspect of a football match. Groundskeepers spend countless hours preparing the field for the game, from mowing the grass to watering and fertilising it to ensure it is in optimal condition. They also carefully mark the field with white paint to ensure the correct dimensions and lines are in place.
For example, the pitch is prepared several days before the match at Wembley Stadium. This includes cutting the grass to a specific height, aerating the soil to promote drainage and oxygenation, and applying nutrients and water to ensure the grass is healthy and lush.
Security is also a top priority when preparing a football stadium for a big match. A comprehensive security plan is put in place to ensure the safety of players, staff, and spectators. This includes screening all attendees for prohibited items such as weapons, explosives, and drugs and conducting bag searches.
At Manchester United, for example, several layers of security are in place, including perimeter fencing, CCTV cameras, and security personnel. Fans must also go through metal detectors and bag searches before entering the stadium. In addition, plainclothes security officers are stationed throughout the stadium to identify and neutralise potential threats.
Setting Prices and Distributing Tickets
Setting the right price for tickets is crucial for a successful match. The cost of tickets depends on several factors, including the teams playing, the stadium’s capacity, and the ticket demand. The football club’s management team analyses these factors and sets a price range for the tickets, varying from a few pounds to hundreds of pounds.
Once the prices are set, the football club starts distributing the tickets. The demand for high-profile matches, such as the FA Cup final, can be very high. In such cases, the club may use a ballot system or an online ticketing platform to allocate tickets to fans.
The ticketing process is closely monitored to ensure that tickets are distributed fairly and securely. Clubs may also implement measures to prevent ticket fraud, such as barcodes and other security features.
An example of distributing tickets is Manchester United’s online ticketing platform allows fans to purchase tickets directly from the club. The club may also use a ballot system to allocate tickets fairly among fans for high-profile matches. The club also implements measures to prevent ticket fraud, such as barcodes and ticket security features. It has a dedicated ticket office and call centre to handle ticket-related inquiries and issues. The Old Trafford tickets staff work hard to ensure that the ticketing process is smooth and efficient and that fans have a positive experience from when they purchase their tickets to when they enter the stadium on match day.
To ensure that fans have a good view of the game, the seats are allocated according to the ticket price and other factors, such as the fan’s loyalty to the club or previous attendance at matches.
Clubs also allocate seats to the opposing team’s fans to ensure that they have a section of the stadium to themselves. This helps to prevent clashes between rival fans and maintain a safe and secure environment.
At Wembley Stadium, for example, the seating capacity is around 90,000, making it one of the largest football stadiums in the world. The seating is carefully arranged to ensure that fans have a good view of the game, with the most expensive seats located near the centre of the pitch. The stadium also has wheelchair-accessible seating areas and dedicated seating for disabled spectators.
Several other preparations must be made before a football stadium is ready for a big match. These include:
- Media facilities: The stadium must have facilities to accommodate the press, including dedicated press boxes, interview rooms, and media lounges.
- Lighting: The stadium must have adequate lighting to ensure the game can be played in the evening or at night.
- Stadium announcements: The announcer must be prepared to make announcements throughout the game, such as player substitutions and goals scored.
- Refreshments: The stadium must have adequate food and beverage facilities to accommodate the expected number of fans. This includes concession stands, bars, and restaurants.
Preparing a football stadium for a big match is a significant undertaking that involves a lot of work behind the scenes. Every detail must be considered to ensure a successful and memorable event, from preparing the playing surface to ensuring the security of fans, players, and staff.