May 30, 2024

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AA Gent turned upside down: Baro turns everything around

AA Gent turned upside down: Baro turns everything around

Sam Barrow has announced a radical transformation at AA Gent. The stadium will now be known as Planet Group Arena after a sponsorship deal that doubled the naming rights.

Barrow's ambitious strategy includes improving the stadium experience through investments in the park, business, lighting and sound infrastructure.

In addition, he is intensifying dialogue with pro-Russian groups, such as Tribune 7, which advocates a culture of expertise and collaboration, as well as crazy “ideas.” These innovations aim to attract more fans to home matches and ultimately return the club to success.

Planet Group Arena: Baro doubles naming rights

The era of KAA Gent and Ghelamco Arena is over, and now a new name shines at AA Gent Stadium. After negotiations with several interested parties, Planet Group Arena has consolidated its position as the new stadium sponsor.

Located at the intersection of two important highways and along the Outer Ring of Ghent, the stadium provides a unique location for companies wishing to expand their brand awareness.

Chairman Sam Barrow's human resources firm Planet Group has linked its name to the stadium indefinitely. With an annual payment of €1 million for naming rights, Planet Group almost doubles the amount of its previous sponsorship contract with Ghelamco.

This major investment underlines not only the ambition of the Planet Group, but also the vision of Baro, which is serious about keeping the name of the stadium unchanged for several years.

Sam Barrow's ambitious stadium strategy

The sponsorship deal is an integral part of AA Gent's ambitious Sam Barrow Stadium strategy. Since taking up his position on the Ghent City Board, experience has been key.

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The goal is to fill the stadium to the brim again and create a lively football atmosphere. Barrow, himself a psychologist by training, understands the psychological impact of a full stadium.

“A full stadium has a psychological effect, especially in the first 15 minutes. So there should be a roar in the stands when the players enter the field, as there is in Bruges.” latest news.

To achieve this vision, Barrow is actively engaging the new Supporters Council in improving the stadium experience. Through the AVS media channel, a strong focus will be placed on the experience surrounding the matches.

In addition, a new catering offering will be introduced, DJs will play their sets to enhance the atmosphere, and the problem of reusable cups seems to be a thing of the past.

Barrow goes further by investigating whether the stadium could be used to hold events, similar to the concerts held at King Baudouin Stadium.

The hype generated by AA Gent has faded: rarely does a stadium sell out

Although AA Gent has the only new, modern stadium in the country, the club has faced a challenge in terms of stadium occupancy in recent years.

Although the stadium is profitable and generates attractive recurring income, the 20,000 available seats were often not fully occupied. This is in stark contrast to the 2015 season, when Gent won the title and it was difficult to get a ticket at all.

In the 2017-18 season, there were approximately 18,000 subscribers who faithfully attended every home game, but today that number has dropped to 14,362 signups. “The blue and white noise has faded,” he said. Standard Pinned.

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He added: “It is worrying for the club, which relies heavily on food and ticket income, and whose operating losses, had it not been for the sale of players, would have already reached 10 million.”

Chairman Samu Barrow recognizes the potential the stadium still has and is determined to attract more fans to home matches. He even took the initiative to provide public transportation on match days, as De Lijn no longer provides sufficient bus connections, especially on weekends.

This is a financially unprofitable operation for AA Gent, but it demonstrates the club's commitment to attracting more people to the stadium. In addition to retaining the existing P&R shuttle at Gentbrugge, a shuttle from the south is now being added.

Barrow announces changes to the stadium: “Crazy ideas”

In recent months, Sam Barrow, hidden and discreet among the home team's fans, has searched other stadiums for new ideas. The president wanted to see how other clubs organize their affairs and whether AA Gent could learn from that.

In an interview with The newspaper Barrow revealed that there will be changes to the park experience and to the business sector, while investments will also be made in improving lighting and sound infrastructure.

In addition, dialogue with supporter groups will be intensified, as highlighted by Tribune 7. This supporter group advocates for a culture within AA Gent where expertise and collaboration are key.

“Where crazy ideas get a chance and egos don't clash anymore,” they said. The newspaper. He added: “Good financing should not be an end in itself, but rather a means to win titles and cups, with convincing players who show enthusiasm, and for whose sake the fans come to the stadium.”

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