Sports stadiums are communal hubs where thousands of fans come together to cheer on their favorite team with fellow enthusiasts. Beyond fulfilling the technical needs of the teams, stadiums and arenas shape and enhance the experience of fans and players alike. However, rapidly changing technology and consumer expectations can have an impact on that experience from year to year, which could mean a decrease in attendance and revenue if venues are unable to respond accordingly. By reducing costs with strategic design and cost-efficient construction processes, stadiums can enhance the fan experience while still boosting revenue from filling a stadium.

As new builds and large renovations have occurred, the industry has seen a steady increase in cost per square foot of construction, which can seem counter-productive to the goal of maximizing revenue. Design, ticket pricing and revenue are often considered separate entities, without intertwining the goals of each from start to finish.

Planning Based on Strategy

There is a need to reevaluate the typical design and building approach by taking a holistic look at revenue goals, seating and premium offerings and amenities, and overall fan experience. By examining these factors, a more strategic path can be planned for a construction spend that will support an organization’s financial goals and allow for flexibility and growth for years to come. Taking a well-rounded approach can help identify the right solution for a stadium’s unique challenges and its assets to determine which design aspects to focus on, as well as how best to allocate money. An efficient budgetary spend paired with a creative approach focused on a specific market can help stadiums hit anticipated financial and experiential goals yearly.

An integrated design-build company with architects, engineers and construction under one roof can provide the first-hand experience of knowing the internal workings of sports organizations, which can help clients achieve business objectives. Surprises often arise during projects and an integrated team that understands the business goals upfront can guide the design and construction team through evolving situations.

Construction Considerations

With design trends focused on implementing strategies to maximize revenue for stadium owners, saving costs throughout the construction process involved with incorporating updated designs is also achievable through innovative techniques. By combining strategic design theory with an efficient construction team, stadium owners can save money throughout a stadium’s build or renovation.

A design-build team can expedite the process by streamlining the design phase, allowing construction start sooner. An integrated team also creates clear lines of communication between the client and all members of the design-build team.


Creating a customized fan experience cost-effectively requires flexible stadium design and construction — and an integrated team to tackle the challenge. Our experienced, diverse team brings human scale to the complex planning, design and construction of entertainment districts, stadia and sports performance hubs.

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Jeff Sittner leads development for sports, performance and entertainment at Burns & McDonnell. With nearly 30 years of experience, he has extensive knowledge in all phases of the architectural process, including expansion, renovation and creative visioning of professional sports venues and large-scale developments.