2021 in review – August

Oak View Group announced plans to merge with venue management and hospitality provider Spectra, with the move designed to create a “leader” in the live events industry.

OVG and Spectra said that the combined company would provide expertise in booking and creating content for the venues it manages. It will also be committed to sustainability across its business operations by “harnessing the power” of the sports and entertainment industries to “inspire positive change robustly and at scale”.

On the events front, the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England was postponed by a year after Australia and New Zealand said they would not participate due to concerns over COVID-19.

In a statement, organisers said they determined that only a delay would ensure the best competition for fans and players. The event will now take place from October 15 to November 19 next year, with St James’ Park in Newcastle staging the opening match and Manchester’s Old Trafford hosting the men’s and women’s double-header finals as originally planned.

Elsewhere in rugby league, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was awarded hosting rights to the 2022 Challenge Cup final. The match on May 28 will mark the first time the venue has staged a rugby league fixture.

Meanwhile, Leicester City revealed the first renderings of its planned expansion of King Power Stadium as public consultations for the project officially opened.

The proposals will see the stadium’s capacity increase from 32,000 to 40,000, with the wider project also including a new multi-purpose event and entertainment arena, a club megastore and a 220-room hotel.

In New Zealand, plans for a new stadium in Christchurch were revised after the city council voted to restore the seating capacity of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena to 30,000.

The move came after the council’s decision to approve a concept for a smaller design was criticised by locals. The new design concept will mean that the venue is capable of hosting up to 41,000 people for concerts.

In August, NFL teams welcomed fans back to stadiums for the first time in more than a year following the easing of COVID-19 measures. While some franchises were able to host fans in a limited capacity last season, all teams were cleared to open their venues without restrictions ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Supporters returned in their tens of thousands for the first round of games in the pre-season schedule, with the Las Vegas Raiders able to welcome a capacity crowd of 65,000 to Allegiant Stadium for the first time since the venue opened in the summer of 2020.

Image: Leicester City