Belgium-based event services company The Arena Group has announced plans to expand into the Netherlands through agreements with three football clubs.
The Arena Group already has partnerships with seven Belgian clubs and the company has now added Eredivisie team FC Utrecht and Eerste Divisie clubs NAC Breda and FC Den Bosch to its portfolio.
The company has entered into a partnership with Top Events Group to support its expansion into the Netherlands, and also reached an agreement with Compass Group focusing on FC Utrecht’s Stadion Galgenwaard.
The Arena Group, which operates football stadiums on non-match days and helps clubs host corporate events, has also recruited additional staff and plans on growing its turnover to €10m (£8.7m/$10.7m) by 2025. The company’s expected turnover in 2023 is around €7m.
The Arena Group’s Belgian clients include KAA Gent, Anderlecht, KRC Genk, Standard Liège and Charleroi. The company, which was formed in Ghent in 2013, organises between 350 and 400 events annually for its clients.
Michiel Vanderheyden, general manager of The Arena Group, said: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find major sponsors. And in Belgium, new rules will soon come into effect whereby gambling companies will no longer be allowed to play a visible role as sponsor. Diversifying income and attracting new leads for sponsorship are therefore an absolute necessity.
“The potential of many stadiums is underutilised today, as they are ideally suited to host or organise events on non-match days. Consider, for example, seminars, staff parties, team buildings and conferences. In addition, a stadium is also ideal for large public events such as concerts. All these activities can generate additional income for the club.”
He added: “What we have noticed in recent years is that a leverage effect is created by opening stadiums for events. Companies are (re)discovering football and that leads to more commercial leads and business for the clubs involved.
“At the same time, we succeed in taking hospitality services to a higher level. As a creative partner, we are always looking for opportunities to improve the experience before, during and after a match, in addition to the logistical organisation in the stadium.”