THE POINT, LANCASHIRE
Lancashire County Cricket Club's new £12m conference and event space was officially opened in June. The modern pavilion occupies an elevated position overlooking the Old Trafford ground and provides a glass-fronted view of the pitch for 1,000 delegates. Incorporating a number of environmental initiatives, the seven-metre-high venue can be divided into three separate spaces and has already hosted the North West Football Awards in October and radio station Key 103's charity summer ball.
The completion of the South Stand gave England rugby's home 25 meeting areas, including the 800-delegate Rose Suite, as well as the 156-room Twickenham Marriott, totalling 7,000m2 of event space. Recent South Stand clients have included Microsoft and Alfa Romeo. Ongoing development is now bringing facilities in the rest of the stadium up to the same level and the latest to get a facelift is the East Stand's St George suite, which seats 300 for a conference. Meanwhile, corporate entertainment has gone experiential with Keith Prowse's new Players' Lounge package, which brings players from the pitch for post-match Q&As.
The Home of British motor racing will open its new paddock area in May 2011, including a conference complex for 5,000 delegates. The futuristic 'fin' will include extensive corporate hospitality areas covering 8,200m2. Existing facilities can cater for conferences of up to 300 in the Jimmy Brown Centre and a further four spaces are available. Events can also take advantage of Silverstone's driving packages and other options such as clay-pigeon shooting and helicopter rides.
STADIUM MK, MILTON KEYNES
MK Dons moved to their purpose-built 22,000-capacity stadium in 2007. Located conveniently between London and the Midlands, with excellent communication links and 1,800 parking spaces, the stadium incorporates the 127-room Doubletree by Hilton hotel, which opened 12 months ago. It provides 27 meeting rooms, and a dedicated conference entrance. The largest space is the Clydesdale Bank Ballroom, which seats 1,000 delegates, and the arena is due to open next year providing a 3,000m2 exhibition space. Clients have included Dominos, Volkswagen and Tesco.
The future £400m Vision for Lord's project will increase capacity, add apartments and improve facilities. For now, Lords offers an impressive range of meeting spaces, from the Victorian splendour of the Pavilion's Long Room, which hosts 200, to the space-age Media Centre. The Morocco National Tourist Board used the Thomas Lord Suite for a networking event last year for tour operators. Stacey Hodgkinson, client services manager of agency The Network, which organised the event, said: "The client was extremely happy with the event and found a significant increase in agents registering on the Morocco Champions website."
RICOH ARENA, COVENTRY
Improvements continue apace at the home of Coventry City FC with the completion of a £3.5m development, extending its conference and exhibition facilities. The 5,000-capacity Jaguar Exhibition Hall remains the biggest space, but the new Ibex Hall 3 adds a 1,000-capacity room, and Mercia Live Level offers a 650-delegate auditorium. Ricoh's hotel is now managed by De Vere, which is spending £1m on expanding to 80 rooms and launching a 460m2 training suite. Clients have included Argos, Whitbread, Avon and Rolls Royce.