Status above other sports

Sport is a part of culture, and is a part of most people’s everyday lives. If not participating then listening or watching through the media, everyday day, day in day out. There are many different types of sports and therefore there are many kinds of developments needed to accommodate these activities. In particular football in this country is given elevated status above other sports, due to the easy accessibility of the game, whether it be a kick around in the local park or going to a world-class stadium to watch an international match. However the divide between these two extremes is getting wider and wider due to the construction of high tech SPV stadia (sport venue and event).

Stadium developments should recognise and promote sport, they should be a celebration of the country and inevitably provide a boost to economic activity. Nevertheless they should be sustainable, that is they do not compromise the quality of life for future generations by current practice. Construction of these super stadia affects the community, environment, services, goods, and people and provides benefits as well as drawbacks.

The relative advantages of stadium developments can be seen across the board. Economically, the boost to employment is immediate with jobs being created both directly and indirectly. The construction of the new stadium can create in excess of 3,000 jobs and although these jobs are not lasting, permanent staff can then be employed at the facilities. The impact of the new stadium creates a ripple effect amongst the local community, infrastructure will be improved, and although on match day’s congestion and volume of people will be increased, the improved services and amenities in the long term should compensate for a days disruption.

Tourism also increases as a stadium of national importance can attract visitors from abroad. Advertising and sales of souvenirs and programmes can also bring a lot of money to the area as well as an increase in tertiary industries. Flexible, viable, realistic, high tech construction and entertainment venues also need to be deliverable. Relocating existing centres can cause upset in the local community. Wimbledon football club is being relocated 60 miles away from its present site to Milton Keynes, Bucks.

According to the supporters of the club, no regard is being shown for their interests and the long-term well being of the club is not being noted. Due to clubs selling off their grounds there is a lack of players, referees and facilities at a local level. Another argument against the creation of stadiums is that jobs may be lost on brown field sites, but this is counteracted by the fact that jobs can be relocated and that the benefit of not using greenfield sites is outweighed.

To make the stadiums more sustainable plans are made to hold events there on other days of the year when the stadium is not being used for its primary use of football matches. At the proposed new Ashburton Grove site (London) for the Arsenal football club music concerts are proposed to being held there. This idea stems from that of the horse racing world where racing grounds are only used for 15 days a year but the facilities are used everyday for other functions such as conferences, and weddings etc.

Overall stadium developments are the future of sport, with new technology being introduced all the time to accommodate the increasing demands of the local community, media, government and inevitably the football clubs themselves. Each different case in question has different pros and cons, however no one can deny the long-term returns that these developments bring to the people on a local and national level economically, environmentally and socially.

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