Stoke City Football Club has shared plans on constructing a brand-new fan zone outside its home ground of bet365 Stadium.
The announcement comes as part of its four million pounds (7.6 million AUD) investment in a five-year infrastructure development programme which began in 2022.
The sketches released on the club’s website show a main-stage and LED screen facing an open-air space, with covered areas provided around the perimeter. The fan zone will also include several food and drink outlets, a dedicated children’s area, and restrooms.
The club has confirmed that a planning application has been sent to the Stoke-on-Trent council, with an intention to complete construction before the start of 2024/25 season.
The importance and popularity of fan zones has increased significantly, evidenced by successes in recent global tournaments and high-profile constructions in elite stadiums across the United Kingdom and Europe. Stoke City’s Chief Operating Officer, Simon King, highlighted the club’s desire to capitalise on this demand.
“In our dialogue with supporters, it has been clear that there is a significant appetite for a fan zone to be introduced as part of a first-class matchday experience, creating a hub of activity where fans can gather and enjoy live entertainment,” King said via press release.
“We also believe a facility like this will present an opportunity for regular supporter engagement and community activities. First and foremost, however, I hope this facility gives new and existing fans a reason to treat our matchday’s as a full day out with family and friends. Subject to planning, I’m hugely looking forward to seeing it come to fruition.”
Vice-Chairman, Richard Smith, reassured supporters that the club remains financially committed to providing high-quality facilities.
“Despite rising production costs causing the Club’s scheduled programme of infrastructure investments to increase significantly, there remains a steadfast commitment to fulfil our ambitions and make our facilities as good as they can be,” he said.
COO Simon King supported this sentiment: “We have unbelievable support from our owners whose continuing investment in facilities is enhancing the Stoke City experience and providing an elite environment for supporters, players and staff.”
A dedicated fan zone is the perfect way to drum up interest for match day, a worthy investment for the long-term.