This exclusive insight into Villa Park is part of “Fan XP” – a newsletter designed to keep you abreast of the latest innovations, strategies and more regarding fan experience across the globe. To sign up, please click here.
Aston Villa welcomed back their fans to a new-look Villa Park for the club’s first Premier League home game since 2016 at the weekend, having brought on CSM Live to carry out a summer makeover at the historic ground.
Although Villa did not get the result on the pitch that they had hoped for, with Bournemouth winning 2-1, it was impossible to ignore the ground’s “carnival atmosphere”, as described by the BBC’s Match of the Day programme, while the alterations have attracted overwhelmingly positive feedback from fans on social media.
“As Villa Park is one of the oldest and most famous football stadia in the world, the work has been sympathetic to the stadium’s existing architecture, but with the aim of engaging visitors through a consistent visible presence of brand and stadium identity,” David Bull, CSM Live’s Business Development Director, told Fan XP.
Within days of the team securing promotion in the Championship play-off final in May, Villa gave the green light to enhance the look and feel of the stadium to reflect the proud heritage of the club and the passionate fan base that has snapped up 2019-20 season tickets in record numbers.
CSM Live kicked off the project with a venue analysis and wayfinding audit to discover the physical movements of fans and key ‘touchpoints’ throughout the stadium before working closely with the club to define a creative solution to deliver a consistent brand and experience.
New wall graphics and stunning visual structures showcase the club’s history, with the 11 faces of Villa’s all-time legends, as voted for by the club’s fans, adorning the venue’s exterior.
Fresh player imagery, wayfinding signage, messaging and photo opportunities through improved sightlines have also been introduced to boost the matchday experience, while dashes of striking claret-and-blue have been sharpened up in various parts of the ground.
Aside from offering greater opportunities for commercial partners, the project aims to instil a sense of pride amongst the supporters, with a record-breaking 30,000 having bought season tickets for Villa’s Premier League return after the club capped sales due to rocketing demand.
Having been given four weeks to complete the work, CSM Live carried out a deep clean of the stadium before embarking on projects ranging from painting to installing fresh branding, signage, wraps, wayfinding totems and lightboxes, inside and outside Villa Park.
Thanks to the vital support of the club and the efforts of specially-selected local contractors, CSM Live worked tirelessly to complete the work on Friday, a day before the Bournemouth match.
“This was always going to be a difficult project to keep under wraps as the stadium has been buzzing with activity ahead of Villa’s return to the Premier League,” Bull said.
“But we believe the look and feel of Villa Park now truly reflects the club’s glorious past and ambitious future.”