Sunderland AFC supporters celebrated the opening of the new football season in style by enjoying a newly- installed pre-‐match Fan Zone area designed and developed by Centerplate, the Club’s catering partner.
The Fan Zone, a festival and street market space for match day ticketholders with the capacity to accommodate up to 6,000 guests, will be open three hours prior to kick‐off and for one hour after the final whistle, offering exclusive entertainment and an enticing array of food and beverages in a fun, family-friendly environment.
Created and implemented expressly for Sunderland AFC by Centerplate’s own Hospitality Solutions Group, which provides a seamless, end-‐to-‐end experience design solution to its clients, the Black Cats’ Fan Zone brings a new element to the stadium and adds to the excitement of match- day for supporters.
Live music, entertainment, games, and the opportunity to build community with fellow supporters and visiting fans are central to the Fan Zone experience.
A new ‘Legends Area’ offers the opportunity to meet some of the Black Cats’ football heroes; whilst ‘The Deck’, an elevated mezzanine area overlooking the festivities, can be used as VIP party area. A large format screen on the south east corner of the stadium site will allow for special programming and telecasts.
The Fan Zone will also be open as an amenity to concert‐goers and other special event attendees during major shows at the Stadium of Light.
Adrian Dishington, Chief Operating Officer of Centerplate’s UK Division, says: “We are extremely excited to be thinking quite literally ‘outside the box’ when it comes to the amenities we can offer supporters at the Stadium of Light. ‘Making it Better to Be There’® is the foundation for everything we do at Centerplate, and we take a holistic approach to enhancing the match-‐day experience for fans so that they get the very most out of their visit.
The Fan Zone is the first of its kind for the supporters of a Premier League Club, and it provides a fantastic and unique opportunity to build community and excitement around the Black Cats in a family-‐friendly environment.”
In January this year, Sunderland AFC signed a new long-‐term contract extension with Centerplate to continue to provide public match-‐day catering at the Stadium of Light, a role it has played since 1997.
Sunderland fans will just be hoping they have something to cheer about next time they visit the fan park, as they have lost both of their games so far in the Premier League.