This year’s 146th Open at the prestigious Royal Birkdale surpassed the attendance record set by Royal Liverpool in 2006 of 230,000, making it the largest ever Championship held in the UK. This reflected a 17% increase since the last Open held at Royal Birkdale in 2008. Record advance ticket sales made it the fastest-selling Championship in history with all six hospitality packages selling out.
Combining in-house expertise, four of Arena UK and Europe’s specialist divisions delivered temporary structures, furniture, tableware and event environment design. The company delivered a total of 26,000sqm of world-class on-course facilities to host both main brand partners and hospitality guests, including Mastercard – a patron and official card of The Open.
Working on behalf of Octagon, the longstanding relationship between Arena UK and Europe and the Open Championship was further extended in 2017 when Arena Concept, the company’s interior and exterior design and fit-out division, was entrusted to deliver the interior styling and delivery of the Mastercard Club. The structure was located in the heart of the spectator village surrounded by a wide range of Arena’s structures an impressive retail outlet with Boss housed in the company’s flagship I-Novation temporary building.
To ensure the event organisers’ creative briefs are exceeded year on year, Arena UK and Europe has supported the expansion from 2012’s 15 x 10m footprint to 2017’s 15 x 20m double decker structure. It also featured a 5 x20m decked area at the front of the Mastercard Club and a 3m x 20m balcony on upper level offering views over the hospitality village.
Situated opposite the HSBC Golf Zone, the exclusive structure was only accessible to those visitors who owned a Mastercard. The ground floor featured a fully-branded hospitality bar and wall graphics, with three large screens to keep guests updated with all the on-course golfing action. A sweeping staircase led guests up to a contemporary hospitality area and second bar area, furnished by Arena’s Spaceworks division, with high white tables and bar stools. One end of the structure featured a large entertainment screen to ensure key moments of the Championship and player interviews weren’t missed, with branded beanbags in Mastercard colours for guests to watch the action from the comfort of indoors. In front of a screen built into the structures’ walls, a small stage was constructed for Mastercard sponsored presentations, exclusive talks from professional golf players and ‘meet and greet’ celebrity experiences for fans, complete with mixing desk to control on-screen golfing footage.
Arena Concept was also on hand to construct a low-level presentation table at the opposite end of the upper level, containing the Open Championship Winner’s Gold Medal received by Arnold Palmer in 1961. The special commemoration display featuring images and plaques from the momentous occasion also included an inset screen tilted down for optimum viewing.
Michael Wells, Director of Championship Staging for the R & A, states: “We have a fantastic team which been focused for many years on improving the on-course experience for the players, spectators, partners and broadcasters.
“Working with all our supply partners we have made significant advances in the eighteen years I have been in this role and I believe it is that continual improvement in standards that underpins ever-increasing popularity. Arena has been a significant part of that journey through the years.”