Participants from the Polish city of Poznań deliberated on the possible uses of a stadium at the conclusion of Euro 2012. They considered pros and cons of four scenarios for the future of the stadium. This is the first time Deliberative Polling® has been used in Poland.
Problems and Purpose
UEFA’s decision to hold the 2012 European Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine was enthusiastically received not only by soccer fans, but by rest of the country as well. The European Championship is expected to attract thousands of visitors, bring attention of the international media, and provide a boost to the economy.
First, however, significant expenditures have to be made, particularly on stadiums, hotels, and transportation infrastructure. The stadiums must meet UEFA standardson, among other things, number of seats and security measures.
Four Polish cities are getting ready to host football teams and their fans during EURO 2012. The stadium in Poznań is being modernized, while Gdańsk, Warsaw and Wrocław are building new stadiums. Apart from the National Stadium, construction and maintenance costs of stadium infrastructure are to be covered by city budgets.Such large scale public investment naturally brings up questions about how stadiums shall be utilized once the EURO 2012 tournament is over.
A variety of proposals have been made about how best to utilize the facilities, but each proposal has its strengths and weaknesses. These pros and cons should be considered ideally in a process that is open, allows all participants access to comprehensive and balanced information, offers them a chance to share their point of view, and engage in dialogue with fellow citizens.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Of the 880 people who participated in the initial poll in Poznań, 148 people participated in the Deliberative Poll. People who chose to participate in the deliberations did not differ significantly on sex, educational background, and financial status from those who did not take part in the deliberations. However, on average the participants were slightly younger than non-participants. Residents of Poznań involved in the debate were slightly more physically active. Ultimately, the breakdown of answers to the questions about world views was similar in the group participating in the deliberations and those who only participated in the initial poll. Thus, on the basis of the responses provided by the participants in deliberation, we can draw conclusions about the views of the entire population of Poznań.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The first Deliberative Poll in Poland took place in November 2009 in Poznań. Its objective was to gather data on city residents’ preferences about the management of the stadium in Bułgarska St. following the UEFA EURO 2012 tournament.
Bułgarska St. stadium, which belongs to the city, has until now been managed by POSiR or Poznań Center for Sports and Recreational (Poznański Ośrodek Sportu i Rekreacji). The maintenance costs of the stadium have mostly been covered by public funds, and the principal user of the facilities is a private football team, Lech. Given maintenance expenditure of the new stadium are expected to increase roughly fourfold, stadium maintenance is expected to become a substantial burden on the city budget if its patrons do not contribute substantially.
Four proposals for the future of the stadium in Bułgarska St. were developed. The proposals differed as to the choice of the future operator, management strategy, extent of commercialization of the stadium, and accessibility to recreational use.
The first proposal entrusts the management of the stadium to Lech football team, its principal user so far. The city would continue to financially support the maintenance of the facility. Proponents of this choice stress that a world-class stadium should have as its host a football club of the same status. Without doubt Lech is also an element of Poznań’s promotion strategy. This scenario envisages the location of four training fields in the vicinity of the stadium. The remaining area around the stadium would be used in line with arrangements between the club and the city. Support for this scenario would trigger substantial outlays from the city funds.
The second proposal stipulates that the stadium be managed by POSiR, the Centre that has managed the stadium up until now. Under this proposal, apart from the construction and maintenance costs of the stadium, the city would partly cover the expenditure of using sports and recreational infrastructure. City support would ensure participation by residents of different economic status in sports events held at the stadium and in its vicinity. Opponents of this scenario believe that a sports facility of this class should host sports, and possibly entertainment events that would generate revenue. Opponents believe that residents can get access to the aforementioned sports and recreational facilities at other venues. The cost of this proposal would be exorbitant for the city.
According to the third proposal, the stadium is to be run by a private or a public-private enterprise. While the stadium would be run by commercial principles, its surrounding would be an open space for non-commercial sports, and recreational purposes. The surface of the stadium building would be leased to the tertiary sector at market prices. This would likewise apply to sports clubs. Lechand other football clubs would not receive financial resources from public funds. This proposal would most probably ensure the city the revenues needed to cover the construction cost of the stadium, but would not bring a profit.
Fourth proposal would offer building and the vicinity of the stadium for commercial use. Shopping and service establishments would be located in the immediate surroundings of the stadium. Space within the entire stadium complex would be leased on market principles. The entire management would be entrusted to a private commercial investor, who would finance the construction of new facilities. This scenario is the most commercially viable out of the four. While the proposal limits access of people with insufficient income to the sports and recreational complex, it offers the city hope for higher revenues, and possibly a profit.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Results of the poll indicate that most of the participating residents of Poznań have been to the stadium at least once, and many visit it regularly. Initial results also indicate that residents take active interest in the stadium. Many of the participants of the consultations admitted to following the progress of preparations for European Football Championship. Some of the participants showed comprehensive knowledge about specific architectural considerations during group deliberations. Deliberations also revealed enthusiastic support for Poznań-based football teams,Lech and Warta.
Deliberations were dedicated to the future use of the city stadium and its immediate surroundings. Residents of Poznań quickly recognized the opportunities and limitations offered by the stadium complex. During the deliberation they tried to strike a balance between the profit-making and providing open-access recreation to the city’s residents. Special emphasis was laid on the fact that the stadium is the property of the city and as such should be accessible to all, irrespective of divisions arising from socio-economic factors.
At the same time, the deliberation made the participants more aware of the question of costs of stadium use. For instance, talking about the use of the main pitch, participants pointed to the need for restoring the grass. Deliberation were not limited to football with participants holding lively debates on the development of other sports and non-sports activities, and providing examples of how stadiums have been used in other countries. For instance, they indicated the possibility of, and need for, more concerts at the venue.
Interestingly, when the participants of the consultation came to the understanding of the level of maintenance costs of the stadium, they grew more willing to pay for using its facilities. Participants indicated that if the facilities were free of charge, people would not take care of the sports infrastructure, and it will fall into disrepair. It was also suggested that the city might invest the money raised from payments for the stadium infrastructure in small sports facilities located in various places throughout the city.
An evaluation of outlays connected with the construction and use of the stadium in the context of the city budget and other public expenses proved a challenge during the deliberation.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Deliberative Polling in Poznań consulted the public about the future of the stadium in Bułgarska St., a major investment connected to the city’s preparation for the EURO 2012 tournament. While the city’s participation in an international sports event adds to its prestige, infrastructure investments required to host such events are costly. Therefore, a decision was made to subject the long-term strategy of managing and financing the facility to public consultation.
A representative group of city residents took part in the Deliberative Poll. Consultations took a whole day. The participants learned more about the issue under consideration. After reading the briefing materials, discussing various arguments within fellow citizens, and representatives and experts, they aired their considered preferences. Participants changed their mind on some questions while their opinions remained unchanged on some other issues. More important, in each case the opinions resulted from consideration of the pros and cons of different options.
Equipped with facts, and after weighing opinions of their fellow citizens, residents saw the future of the stadium in a broader perspective of the city and the local community. The issue at hand was carefully scrutinized from the point of view of various needs.
A consultation process conducted in this way builds respect for opposing views and both trust between residents, and between residents and elected representatives.
Taken directly from https://cdd.stanford.edu/2010/how-best-to-use-the-stadium-after-the-uefa-cup-results-from-the-deliberative-poll-in-poznan/