Case study 6

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium

A football match as a system of systems

The match-day experience begins months before with fans purchasing tickets for the North London derby. These are selected not only for their view, but also for their proximity to the most convenient post-match route from the stadium, as defined by the local police in line with its crowd management policy.

The police presence around Highbury operates to a well-rehearsed plan accompanied by the usual assortment of temporary food and memorabilia vendors. Programmes and scarves, bespoke for the day, sell quickly along the directed route.

On the stadium plaza spectators are guided through colour-coded quadrants to lettered turnstiles where their membership card, pre-allocated a ticket, is read by a laser scanner ensuring that they enter the correct zone. Inside, fans can immediately access food and drink counters that provide quick service, as well as an extensive number of toilets. The whole system is simple to ensure the efficient handling of the large crowds that will converge on such events.[1]

Ultimately, the fans’ experience is likely to be dominated by the final score. However, it will also be influenced by the carefully choreographed system of systems, comprising both the physical architecture of the new stadium [2] and its surroundings, and the numerous organisations and businesses that provide for a safe, fun day out.

All these stakeholders will take much satisfaction from successfully serving a typical 60,432 person match day crowd.

Success factors

The continued success of match days at the Emirates Stadium may be attributed to:

understanding the match day fan behaviour and role of stewards and policing

seeing the stadium as one part of the wider transport, retail and policing system

careful design of major access routes to and from the stadium plaza

active consideration of match day crowd safety within and around the stadium

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[1] Creating systems that work, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2007.

[2] Emirates Stadium, United Kingdom., 2016.

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