6.4 General Spectators
Main User Groups


05 min. reading time

Throughout Chapter 5, we looked at the stadium as a whole. General spectators are the largest user group of a stadium and therefore we have automatically considered many of their requirements. This chapter focuses on additional aspects that apply specifically to general spectators, such as ticketing, food and beverage and other retail, and finally their overall experience at the stadium.



A ticket office should be provided at the stadium, even if the majority of tickets are sold electronically or from another location (e.g. city centre).

The size and location of the ticket office will depend on the size and intended use of the stadium.

The ticket office should be situated near the entrance that the greatest number of ticket holders are expected to use. It should not obstruct spectator ingress or egress.

The space should be divided between:

• a reception area: this is for people buying or collecting tickets. A suitable queueing space is required to ensure that sufficient numbers of spectators can be accommodated under cover.
• an administration area: this is for the staff. It is important that this area is separated from the reception area and fully secure in terms of the safety of ticketing staff and the storage of tickets and cash.


In most stadiums, food and drink are often an important part of the matchday experience and can impact on a stadium’s reputation. Food and beverage concessions should offer high-quality produce at a suitable price point, with sufficient points of sale that manage queues during times of peak demand.

Figure 6.4.1
A typical food and beverage concession layout

The range of food and beverages to be offered should be decided at an early stage in the project to ensure that the appropriate service points and other support infrastructure are designed into the stadium.

Concessions should be provided within easy access of seating areas. Each concession will contain several points of sale (PoS). A typical allowance is one PoS for every 200 spectators, which equates to a provision of seven linear metres of counter length for every 1,000 spectators. However, more space can be provided if justified by local customs or a supporting business case.

Each PoS should be at least 1m wide, but more space could be required depending on the type and range of products offered.

A recommended best practice is for all food and beverage concessions on all levels to have at least one lower counter accessible to wheelchair users. As a minimum, all levels where wheelchair user spaces are located should have a least one lower counter. Concessions on other levels should have a lane dedicated for disabled people and people with limited mobility. Any signage and merchandising displays also need to be visible to disabled people. Any concourse areas for food and beverages should be accessible to disabled people and people with limited mobility.

Food and beverage kiosks can be separated by the type of produce that they sell. Kiosks serving food can vary in size, scale, the type of equipment used, and the number of staff required to operate them. They can range from a primary cooking kiosk with food preparation to those that re-heat or maintain the temperature of food. In this latter case, the food could have been prepared in the stadium’s central kitchen or made off-site and then delivered to and stored within the stadium (refer to Sub-Section 5.6.7).

Most kiosks serving food also serve beverages, however, other kiosks could offer only beverages. This may include a range of beverages served from an integrated distribution system from centralised cellars or bottles served from refrigerators.

Stadium concourses should be designed to include spaces where the spectators can gather once they have bought their refreshments. These spaces should be away from the main queueing and circulation zones so that spectators can enjoy their purchases in comfort. These could include wall-mounted shelves and tabletops.

Mobile kiosk

The concourse spaces also provide further commercial opportunities for more temporary and informal food and beverage offers.

Apps are available that allow spectators to make “in-seat” purchases. Where offered, spectators can pre-order food, drinks or other merchandise that is then delivered to their stadium seat or collected from specific locations with reduced queueing. Other “pre-order” or “click and collect” type services can also be incorporated in the stadium’s design if this type of service is deemed appropriate.

Integrating the latest technology can help stadiums mitigate the peak operational flow of people and assess the crowd distribution with dynamic and real-time monitoring of queues. Real-time updates to digital wayfinding screens or to the stadium app can notify fans which kiosks have the shortest or longest queues. The data gathered from purchases can also then be used to monitor and assess retail trends across the stadium. This can provide real-time information for re-stocking or troubleshooting, but can also be factored into the ongoing business strategy.

Food and beverage concession


Further commercial opportunities can be created from merchandising and retail facilities adjacent to and within stadiums. The provision of these facilities should be linked to the business case and any wider development plans.

Multi-use venues that do not have a main “home team” tenant may not be able to support the operational cost of a fixed, central retail store but are more likely to have a series of smaller “pop-up” type stands located around all the stadium concourses and within hospitality spaces with event-specific merchandise. Stadiums designed for one specific club often have a central retail space that can be accessed before and after a match and on non-match days. This central location is typically supplemented with smaller merchandise stands or kiosks located around the stadium.

This central store can be located within the envelope of the stadium with external access so that fans can enter on both matchdays and non-matchdays. Alternatively, it can be detached from the main stadium as part of a wider development plan.


Spectator services

Consideration should be given to spectator service points where staff or volunteers can be available to provide information and to answer any questions that visitors might have. Not all spectators will be regular visitors to the stadium so they might not be familiar with its layout and facilities. Ideally, these should be available both outside and inside the stadium and be clearly signed and close to (but not obstructing) the busiest spectator approaches and areas. These service points can be linked to other functions such as the provision of mobility assistance and wheelchair storage.

Good customer service should be embedded in all parts of the stadium and matchday organisation.