A Very Seasonal Stadium: Windsor Park

This year at Belfast’s iconic National Football Stadium: Windsor Park expect some glitz, glamour and grandeur.

Windsor Park is named after the district in which it resides, in beautiful Belfast, Northern Ireland. With a rich sporting history, this venue is nothing less than iconic. As well as a functioning stadium, the building houses state of the art conferencing and events spaces and a museum too: The Education and Heritage Centre tells the unique story of Northern Irish football.

This Christmas, the stadium’s event suites will be transformed into ‘Glitz and Glam’ party areas. Hosted on Friday and Saturday nights in December, guests will be welcomed into the arena with a complimentary glass of fizz , with opportunities to take a pitch-side selfie or two and, of course, take in the epic atmosphere of the 18,434 seat stadium.

A delicious, four course Christmas dinner – made with hearty, local produce by our expert chefs – will be served indoors, in suites dressed to impress. Fuelling up for the party games and dancing to come!

A Windsor Park Christmas is not just for football fans, the grandeur of this setting is awe inspiring for all who visit. Plus, with event guests moving away from traditional private Christmas parties, to unique shared experiences and events, Windsor Park’s party nights are just that – offering a one-off occasion in a one-off space…

Brochure

DATES: 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th  December

TIME: 7pm – late

PRICE: £40 pp inc VAT

For more information on Prestige Venues & Events packages call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Want to see more? View Prestige Venues & Events #trulymagicalChristmas brochure here

Raise stein to Headingley’s Oompah Pah Parties!

Inspired by the famous Christmas traditions of Bavaria, Headingley Carnegie Stadium is hosting a series of Oompah pah parties this Christmas! Let us explain…

The much-loved stadium, home to the Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club and the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, will be transforming into a traditional German market for three nights in December: Saturday 2nd, 9th and 16th. Alpine-style stalls will serve classic Bavarian comfort food: frankfurters, bratwurst, sweet pretzels and hearty soups, home-made by our award winning chef team. And, at the center of feast will be a whole, suckling pig spit roast, served with sage and onion stuffing, salted crackling and apple sauce in a floured bap.

bavarian sausages with bretzel and beer
A Bavarian feast: bratwurst, beer & pretzels

 

Decorated with wreaths and Christmas trees – the ‘Christmas tree’ originating in Germany as a representation of the biblical Tree of Knowledge, whilst the baubles are the forbidden fruit – the atmosphere at Headingley’s Bavarian Party Nights is joyous. Enhanced further by an authentic Oompah band playing thigh-slapping brass music. They’ll certainly get you in the mood for a jig, helped along by along, in true Oktoberfest fashion, by a stein or two.

Building on last year’s success, this is the second Christmas Headlingley will be hosting their Bavarian market party… and this year they’re going the whole hog.

Dates: 2nd, 9th, 16th December 2017

Time: 7pm – late

Price: £28.95 per person, incl. VAT

Further information is available by calling 0113 203 3899, emailing events@headingleyexperience.com or visiting www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com

Want to see more? View Prestige Venues & Events #trulymagicalChristmas brochure here

Roll up, roll up! At Newcastle United’s St James’ Park

Newcastle United is having all the fun of the fair this festive season, with cupcakes, candyfloss and carnival-style party nights!

Each event will begin with a welcome cocktail and two course meal in the dining hall, before guests make their way to the stadium’s Platinum Club to have their pick of puddings:  from candy floss, toffee apples, cupcakes, mince pies and doughnuts. Aside from sweet treats, the Platinum Club will be decorated to the nines and filled with traditional fairground games and attractions – such as hook a duck, giant jenga and penalty shootouts – all of which have prizes on offer for lucky winners! Oh, and it wouldn’t be a Carnival without some dancing, courtesy of St James’ Park’s resident DJ… and their late bar too.

Hosting carnival themed party nights for the third year in a row, this event is fast becoming a Christmas tradition at St James’ Park due to its unabashed popularity. Also making a welcome return, is the stadium’s festive shopping fayre, which last year attracted hundreds of shoppers keen to snap up last minute Christmas gifts.

Christmas party table

Party table

Just part of a packed programme of festive entertainment at the stadium, which also includes the annual “Golden Oldies” lunch and disco on Wednesday 13 and 20 December and Santa Sunday lunches on 3, 10 and 17, when youngsters can visit Father Christmas in his glittering grotto.

The Carnival Party Nights take place on various dates throughout December. For further information about the party night or the festive programme at Newcastle United visit: https://www.nufc.co.uk/stadium/events-page/latest-events/experiences/a-carnival-christmas

For more information on Prestige Venues & Events Christmas packages see our brochure here.

Festive fun (& fundraising) at Newcastle United

Our colleagues at Newcastle United are busy preparing for their second Festive Fayre in support of a local children’s charity.

The event, which is due to take place over the weekend of 11 and 12 November, will build on the success of last year’s event and feature around 100 stalls selling a selection of handcrafted gifts, novelties, outdoor decorations, festive food, live cookery demonstrations and Christmas gift ideas for the whole family.

Santa will be on dropping in to meet young visitors too! Plus there will be live music and entertainment throughout the weekend.

Frankie Angus, general manager at St James Park said: “Our annual festive fayre will give shoppers the chance to pick up gifts, browse some fantastic Christmas decorations and ornaments and, of course, there will be entertainment throughout the weekend to get everyone into the festive spirit.”

Monty Maggie Festive Fayre

Come meet Monty & Maggie Magpie!

The event will support Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids charity, which supports disabled and disadvantaged children aged up to 18 in the North East. Visitors will be encouraged to donate gifts to the charity’s Mission Christmas appeal, which aims to give all children the chance to wake up to a gift on Christmas morning.

Anyone donating a gift on the weekend will have the chance to go pitch-side and have their photo taken with the Cash for Kids’ mascot Courage the Cat along with NUFC’s Monty and Maggie, while the kids can enjoy a free face paint.

Frankie added “We are extremely proud to once again be supporting Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids as they launch the Mission Christmas appeal. Last year we managed to collect 355 gifts, so this time we’d like to surpass that total. We will be encouraging everyone who comes along to bring a gift, so we can do our bit to improve Christmas for those youngsters in our region who really need it.”

The 2017 Festive Fayre will be held at St James’ Park on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November from 10am-5pm each day. Admission will be £3 in advance per person and £5 on the door. To buy advance tickets call the events team on 0191 201 8535 or email candb@nufc.co.uk

 

 

 

Who’s behind the mask? A festive Masquerade Ball at Hampden Park

Masquerade balls first took place in the 15th century and were held as part of pageants, processions, marriages and other events of late medieval court life. They were originally held for members of the upper classes but eventually extended into public, costumed carnivals  in Italy during the  Renaissance (16th century).

Three going to Carnivale

Masked revellers at the Venice Carnivale

Over the years and centuries Masquerade balls have turned into highly entertaining events as guests try to guess the identity of the person behind the mask. The theme proves popular today with the mystical disguises becoming even more elaborate. They also feature in lots of high profile romance novels, TV programmes, movies and theatre productions. Who doesn’t know or love The Phantom of the Opera?

This year Hampden Park is embracing the Masquerade Ball and encouraging all guests to join in the fun by wearing their own mask (the more elaborate the better!) to their special party nights. There is of course a bottle of fizz for the best mask on the night. The special themed events take place on various dates throughout December, as well as a special lunch event on the 22nd December. Packages include a festive cocktail reception, three course meal, festive novelties and music until the early hours.

In total contrast the venue will also be hosting Christmas Curry Karaoke Party nights on selected dates throughout the festive season.  A two course, curry themed buffet will be followed by music, dancing and of course Karaoke – which tune will you be singing along to?

To learn more about our #trulymagicalChristmas offers, see our brochure here.

For further information about Christmas experiences at Hampden Park visit our website at www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com or call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com

Promotion, Pies & the Premier League: Part 2

St. James’ Park stadium, a true landmark in Newcastle upon Tyne, is home to Newcastle United Football Club. The team were recently crowned Champions having secured a promotion to the Premier League after their 4-1 win against Preston North End this April.

NUFC Celebration 2017

The Newcastle United team celebrate their promotion

The Club’s history has undoubtedly had its highs and lows. This will be the Club’s second return to the top flight in seven years; having previously been relegated back in 2009 and bouncing straight back to the Premiership in the summer of 2010. Six years in the Premier League were then abruptly halted with relegation in 2016. However the club, headed by Rafa Benitez, returned back to the top at the first opportunity, proving that they are well and truly a top flight team in every sense.

Sodexo has provided catering at the stadium for the last seven years and shared this promotion-journey with them. We caught up with Frankie Angus, General Manager, who talked about what the promotion means for the club and the catering team moving forward.

What has the journey been like to secure promotion?

An emotional rollercoaster to say the least! The Championship brings so many more matches to the table.  We have provided hospitality at 27 home games this season including league, competition and friendly matches – far more than previous years in the Premier League. After a disappointing start, we picked up the pace and by mid-October we remained in 1st and 2nd position in the league table until the end of the season.  Our hospitality has always been of Premiership standard and therefore as a catering-provider our service has always remained top flight quality.  Following our match against Preston North End which secured promotion, we were then challenged with the chance of being hailed Champions, approaching the last two games with a 7 point deficit against Brighton. We were crowned Champions on the last game of the season and the celebration roar from the crowd could be heard for miles around.

How has your journey to the Premier League affected day to day operations?

We’ve always thought and operated like a Premier League club so we’ve not really seen a huge difference. From the start of the season, our crowds have always remained high, due to the immense passion in the city for the football club.  Crowd numbers haven’t faltered all season and averaged 51,000 at home games.  Our hospitality numbers have also remained strong all season, however, following our promotion we were completely sold out in all hospitality areas, with over 2,500 hospitality guests attending the last game of the season. We have a very close working relationship with the club and we also have nine years’ worth of intelligence to make sure we forecast and stock up accordingly.

What does being promoted to the Premier league mean to you all?

It’s a big operation here at St. James’ Park. We have a team of 65 and on match day we can have 1000 staff. We all feel extremely proud of the promotion and privileged to have been part of it. When Rafa, our First Team Manager decided to stay at St James’ Park at the end of the 2015/16 season we all knew that we were in safe hands and confident he could get us back to top flight football.  His passion and desire to succeed is emulated throughout our whole business and we all strive to be the best.  Now that we are back in the Premier League we can prove that’s where we should always be.  We are United in every sense and the forthcoming season is going to be very exciting.

Looking forward to next season, what can we expect to see?

Our Stadium Manager is constantly refurbishing the stadium both on the concourses and in the hospitality areas, so this year is no exception.  Plans are in place to refurbish 3 of our hospitality suites and also to improve our onsite car parking areas surrounding the stadium.  Less matches in the Premier League doesn’t mean we will be any less busy.  Plans are continuing to expand on menu offerings on matchdays while ensuring our hospitality remains second to none.

For more information about St. James’ Park visit www.nufc.co.uk

Hampden Park’s New Look

Last month, Hampden Park football stadium – known proudly as Scotland’s National Stadium and situated in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow – unveiled a luxurious, new suite of event spaces.

The refurbishment resulted in the rebranding of 26 executive boxes. Now known sonorously as ‘Skyboxes,’ this new title denotes their extraordinary vantage point over the pitch. Decorated in a modern style, with sleek, minimalist fittings and colourful new furniture, they’ve been ‘kitted’ out with the latest technology too, supporting corporate clients in hosting board room lunches and meetings at the venue.

Hoping to attract a more versatile events business, the space is now more flexible than ever – boxes can be joined together to create rooms double or even quadruple their original size. Plus, if you want to get closer to the feeling of football, or create a break-out space for events, access to outdoor pitch-side seating (and some glorious, brisk Scottish air) is easily accessible.

SkyBox

The spaces’ breath-taking views and new look have already been met with admiration, as Peter Dallas, Hampden Park Ltd’s Managing Director, stated: “We are extremely pleased our vibrant new Skybox concept has received such positive reviews from our visitors so quickly. Working in partnership with our long-standing partner Sodexo, Hampden now offers conferencing and banqueting facilities that are amongst the best in the country.”

Hampden Park’s renovations also extended to their North Stand lounge, transforming it into a contemporary events space and re-dubbing it the ‘Skylounge.’. Now suitable for both private and corporate bookings (whereas before this space was reserved only for match-day hospitality guests), the lounge has a generous capacity of 150 persons.

Hampden SkyLounge © Sandy Young

SkyLounge

The new designs accommodate all types of visitors to Hampden Park; from events guests to football fans, the local business community and beyond. Despite being one of the oldest football institutions in the country (with the first Hampden Park stadium, originally at a different site, dating back to the 17th century) this stadium is clearly stealing a march on the stadia competition.

Did this spark your interest? If so, check out our article ‘10 Reasons to choose a stadium for your next event

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

The season never has to end… 10 reasons to choose a stadium for your next event

 

1.Plenty of free parking onsite. No matter how good the meeting, delegates will always begrudge paying for parking at an event, or event struggling to find parking at all.

2.Easy to get to. Stadiums often have easy access to railways nearby and great road links.

3.An excellent view.  Many of today’s stadiums features lounges with pitch views.  This feature is one that is impressive to both sports and non-sports fans.

4.A sporting message. A sports stadium lends itself immediately to events with team work and success related objectives.  “Get back into the Game”, “What it takes to Win”, “getting to the Top of our League”, “Teamwork will help Drive Us”, and of course, the reference to goals is a natural tie-in.

5.Unique Style. Although built for a specific purpose, each stadium has its own particular character, which is driven by the colourful history of its home teams. This type of historical reference creates a unique quality in the venue that cannot be matched by another.

Headingley Experience

Headingley Experience

6.Quirky ‘extras.’ Events in the players’ changing rooms, plenary’s delivered from the stands, unique team photo opportunities –elements like these bring a new twist to events, that just cannot be duplicated in a non-stadium venue.

7.Universal appeal Whether it’s a small meeting for ten in a box, a large conference for 350, an exhibition, wedding or a dinner dance, the variety of spaces in a stadium ensure that it’s likely somewhere in the stadium will suit your event.

8.Space and plenty of it. Stadiums feature multiple lounges and boxes, usually allowing multiple events to be on site at the same time. The added bonus here is late lead-in flexibility, so when half the boxes are booked, there are still another batch available for last minute enquiries who may be stuck finding space at short notice.

9.A local message.  If your event is trying to deliver a message about the local market and community, the local sporting stadium is the ideal community location from which to deliver that message to the delegates.

Aberdeen FC - Web Sized_104

Angus the bull, Aberdeen FC

10.A memorable event . Every delegate who attends an event at a stadium, remembers that they went to an event at a stadium!

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Footy Fabulous: Sodexo’s awards sweep at the Stadium Experience Awards ‘17

Football Clubs – Hampden Park, Dundee United, Newcastle United, Everton, Aberdeen and Brighton & Hove Albion – put their best foot forward (pun intended) at The Stadium Experience Awards 2017. The awards focus on clubs’ off-the-pitch successes, recognising the achievements of the catering, conference and events teams, and hosted in the newly expanded Anfield, home of Liverpool Football Club.

The Brighton team, Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2017

Winning an outstanding total of 8 awards (out of 10 categories!), a huge congratulations is due. Sodexo could not be prouder of their partnerships with Hampden Park, Dundee United, Newcastle United, Everton, Aberdeen and Brighton & Hove Albion and are thrilled to have the efforts and dedication of their catering, conference and events teams recognised. A big well done to all!

The award wins are as follows:

  1. Hampden Park Stadium – WINNER – Overall Matchday Hospitality Award
  2. Hampden Park Stadium – Gold – Matchday Hospitality Award – Large Stadium
  3. Dundee United FC – Bronze – Matchday Hospitality Award – Small Stadium
  4. Newcastle United FC – Gold – Directors Choice Award
  5. Everton FC – Gold – Chef Team of the Year Award
  6. Hampden Park Stadium – Bronze – Chef Team of the Year Award
  7. Aberdeen FC – Gold – Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award
  8. Brighton & Hove Albion FC – Gold – Media Choice Award

 

Discover more about events and hospitality at our award winning football stadia here.

Following on from this fantastic news, Sodexo has also secured a new three-year contract with Aberdeen Football Club. This contract builds on a 23-year relationship between Sodexo and the club. Indeed, Aberdeen FC was Sodexo’s first stadia client in the UK and Ireland.

The club have ‘pitched’ a £5.7m extension that will see Sodexo continue to provide catering services on match days: operating the café and public retail units and all hospitality, conference and banqueting events.

With so many recent, winning developments in the world of football-catering, the presence of Sodexo Prestige Venue & Events within the sector is going from strength to strength as we aim to ‘match’ the clubs’ sporting excellence with our service excellence.

Learn more about the developments at Aberdeen FC’s Pittodrie Stadium here.

For more information on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events’ call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.