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Volume 21 No. 1
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Plugged In: Matt Rossetti

Matt Rossetti is a principal with Rossetti, a Detroit sports architect, and the son of Gino Rossetti, the company’s founder. The junior Rossetti talks about overseas venues catching up with North America, a “fresh” new fan experience, and the high of kiteboarding.

Most of our attention right now is on the Mideast, Europe and Asia. We see a lot of new work in those three markets. Europe is so backward in their venues, having been municipally owned and run for so long, it’s like we were in the ’50s and ’60s here in the States. Now they’re embracing the revenue picture and the fan experience picture. It’s beginning to happen in the U.K., Sweden, Spain and Germany.

On trends in designs and renovations today:
Everybody seems to be embracing technology. People have talked about it for 20 years, but for the first time, I see it going from back of house to really front of house. … The ownership group [with Sporting Kansas City] came from advanced media backgrounds and they have combined ownership of the team with their own knowledge of the industry. They are coming up with great in-venue applications driving business and increasing per caps three or four bucks. Those kinds of numbers are really turning heads.”

Fans want sports facilities that are _____?: That provide a new, fresh experience. So many venues provide the same kind of thing. They want to be able to go back to folks in the office and their families and say, “Holy shit, you wouldn’t believe what I got to do the other night,” whether it was high-fiving the team on the way out or having a beer with the coaching staff afterwards.

Lessons from the London Olympics: They seemed to approach it so much more strategically in terms of legacy versus venue approach. They were real smart about how things will be used after the Olympics. It just seemed like an extraordinarily well-organized Games this year as opposed to the big blowout party that Beijing did.

A new summer experience: I’ve been windsurfing for 30 years and made the transition to kiteboarding, a phenomenal high. I’ve raced sailboats all my life so I love the aspect of sailing from windsurfing, but you can only get launched so high on the waves. On a kiteboard, you can launch 20 to 30 feet in the air and the speed gets up to 25 to 30 knots when the wind is howling.