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The ESSMA Summit 2018: Day 1 recap

Dublin fair city’s Aviva Stadium, the world-class, all-seater home of the FAI and the IRFU, and Ireland’s only UEFA Elite certified stadium, was this week transformed into the host venue for the ESSMA Summit 2018.


Organised by ESSMA (European Stadium & Safety Management Association) in partnership with the ECA (European Club Association) and the EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues), the ESSMA Summit has become the must-attend event for those involved in the stadium industry.


The ever-growing popularity of the event was highlighted by the record-breaking attendance, with some 375 participants representing clubs, teams, stadiums, leagues, federations, and those members supplying products and services to the sector from across Europe and beyond.



The 2018 event marked the fourth in the Summit’s illustrious history, with the previous issues having been held at Olympique Lyonnais’ Groupama Stadium (previously Parc OL), Munich’s infamous Allianz Arena and the stunning San Mamés Stadium.


Those attending the 2018 Summit were the first to benefit from the newly launched ESSMA app – developed in cooperation with myStadiumsApp – which put all practical event information at their fingertips, from the event programme to all ESSMA-related news.



Next, Declan O’Brien, Operations Manager at the IRFU and John Beattie, Stadium & Facilities Director at Arsenal FC, welcomed attendees to the 2018 Summit, alongside moderator, Robbie Irwin, who wished everyone a typically Irish “Cead Mile Failte” or “A Thousand Welcomes”.


ESSMA Managing Director, Dimitri Huygen, then introduced the first section on the Stadium Lifecycle, with in-depth keynote presentations by Martin Murphy, Stadium Director, Aviva Stadium and Eric Hart, Head of Tampa Sports Authority.


The next topic covered was Matchday Operations, introduced by ECA’s Head of Communications and Marketing, Marc Schmidgall, with comprehensive keynotes by Roger Brosel, Head of Content and Programming at LaLiga, and Francesco Gianello, Head of Stadium, Juventus FC.


The last industry niche to be discussed was the Fan Journey, introduced by Alberto Colombo, Deputy General Secretary, EPFL, with insightful keynotes from Eric Cosset, Director of Product and Development, Disneyland Paris, Benjamin Steen, Head of Digital Projects and CRM, FC Bayern Munich, and Rory Sheridan, Head of Sponsorship Europe, Diageo (Guinness)…after which, attendees were able to sample pints of the “black-stuff” during a fantastic evening of entertainment, which ended in Dublin’s Temple Bar.


As for the 2019 ESSMA Summit, Beattie announced that the event will now move from Dublin, and the home of Guinness, to Porto and the home of Port.


Day 1 was aptly kicked off with a tour of the 51,700-seat Aviva Stadium, with presentations by Campey, Genetec and VOGO Sports, followed by an informal lunch, giving members the first of many vital networking opportunities, for which the event has become synonymous.


Recap Day 1 ESSMA Summit from ESSMA on Vimeo.