Imagine a world where a city’s team, brand and venue are the catalyst for reinvigorating and transforming communities. These would be districts in which all facilities are interconnected and operating autonomously as a sustainable, confluent ecosystem. In this vision of the future, stadia would be unrecognizable as coliseums where assembly is integral. Instead, they would serve as transit hubs, sources of power generation and centrifuges of intelligent data. They would also be centers of commercial enterprise, workplace, residential and greenspace environments, serving to future-proof the communities they serve.

In an increasingly fragmented industry with splintering audience segments, teams are using advanced insights like fandom and data analytics to validate their decision making. These new competencies have allowed teams, organizations and cities to increase their revenue streams to include partnerships expanding into peripheral uses such as retail, residential, recreation and the broader commercial environment. As representatives of cities and states, team brands are now evolving to actualize the power they hold in a broader regional economic optic. New and exciting trends and technologies are emerging and influencing the future form and function of stadia. Here are a few examples of this new vision:

1. Integrated Mixed-Use Developments

New venues will not be master planned. Instead they will be anchor tenants for broader enterprise-level strategies. Districts integrated with venues will act like small cities and drive new year-round revenues radically increasing team portfolio values. Diversified real estate development and multiuse venue design will also incorporate secondary emerging properties including esports, betting, athlete development, training sites, health and wellness.

2. Data, Sensored Environments and the New World of Revenue

Teams and the venues they inhabit are primed to become data factories and no longer data warehouses. This wealth of data will include financial transactions, consumption behavior, ingress, egress patterns, traffic flow, uploads and downloads. Data as a service will become a valuable new revenue stream that will also enhance team partnerships. Sensored environments, digital twins, haptic technologies and Internet of Things (IoT)/smart-stadium systems will add to this complex world of data while artificial intelligence will bring actional insights and real-time feedback loops to enhance the fan experience.

3. Advanced Mobility

The future of transportation is in advanced mobility. Large crowds will be moved with autonomous vehicle systems, hyperloops and ride-hailing not tethered to the ground. Electric, vertical takeoff and landing vehicles will change how fans arrive and depart. Stadia will become the crossroads of infrastructural networks.

4. Sustainability and Energy Resiliency

Substantive changes in transportation, connectivity and diversified developments will rely on advanced electrification strategies. Biomimicry and the study of natural systems will inspire solutions for carbon neutrality, reduced energy consumption, water collection and managing emissions.

5. Design and Construction Methods and Material Innovation

Venue designs originated and optimized through digital twin simulations will bring certainty to programs, function and efficiency. New building supplies will be 3D printed from feedstock on-site. Prefabricated, modular components created from recycled material will dominate evolving construction methods. Pozzolanic green concrete will result in stronger, more economical structures that will help alleviate carbon dioxide emissions from conventional concrete production.


Understanding evolving trends and fandom can help influence sports organizations’ decisions, venue design, revenue opportunities and the way we create and enhance experiences. Learn more about fandom and how a diverse group brings human scale to the complex planning, design and construction of sports and entertainment facilities, now and in the future.

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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.