Tonight Brighton and Hove Albion kick off their sixth League campaign at the Amex.
One of the key figures in the planning and building of the stadium at Falmer, executive director Martin Perry, looked back – and forward – in an article for Latest magazine.
He wrote: “During the battles for planning permission between 1999 and 2007, one of the arguments that we made was that the development of the stadium would bring huge social and economic benefits to the Greater Brighton region.
“After five years of operation it is worth reflecting on just how successful we have been in delivering in those promises.
“Brighton and Hove Albion is not just a football club. Our stadium is not just our home. The Amex is also a conference and events venue, a provider of community services and an international visitor destination.
“In the past few years our chairman Tony Bloom has invested more money into the Greater Brighton city region than any other developer.
“Our business links are nationally recognised and in 2015 we won the accolade as the best football club to work for after our employees voted for us in the Football Business Awards.
“The American Express Community Stadium is delivering significant benefits for the local economy. An investment of over £120 million in the 30,000-seater stadium has resulted in the creation of over 1,200 full-time and part-time jobs, over 80 per cent of which are local people with a BN postcode.
“Independent analysis has shown the stadium generates £32 million in the local economy each year
“We are proud to be a key partner to many public, private and community sector partners in the Greater Brighton area.
“We have also invested in Lancing where our £32 million American Express Elite Football Performance Centre opened in June 2014 for all the teams in our Academy from under-nines to the first team squad.
“It contributes a further £3 million each year into the local economy and the community pitch was used in its first year of operation by over 61,000 people including 83 local clubs and 33 local schools.
“The state-of-the-art training and teaching facility has gained category one status, the highest award under the Premier League’s new Elite Players Performance Plan, confirming its standing as one of the best training facilities in the UK alongside some of the top Premier League clubs.
“Over the five years the Amex has attracted over three million supporters to the matches played there and global brands including American Express and Nike.
“But it is not just about football. It is a community hub which also includes a medical diagnostic centre and office accommodation for the University of Sussex and the Lawn Tennis Association.
“The stadium has resulted in a significant boost in media publicity for the city and it has attracted hundreds of thousands of away supporters from across the country, over £3 million of nationwide media coverage during its launch year and up to £10 million of media coverage in its first five years.
“As a first class conference and events venue, since opening the stadium has hosted events attended by in excess of 540,000 people across a wide range of business, public sector, education and community sectors.
“It has become a high-quality meeting location for Sussex businesses and community groups and is an excellent venue for local businesses to entertain clients.
“The stadium is firmly on the international stage. We have attracted international artists such as Fatboy Slim and Rod Stewart and it has been used by the FA for England under-17 and under-21 international matches.
“The England Women’s team played their World Cup qualifying match against Montenegro at the stadium and the England Rugby Union played their Six Nations under-20s game against France there in 2015.
“We were awarded two Rugby World Cup matches last year and, with the Japan v South Africa game, we hosted probably one of the most exciting rugby union internationals in history.
“In fact, the stadium has become a must-see for Japanese visitors to the UK.
“KPMG reported that on that Rugby World Cup weekend, the local economy was boosted by £46 million.
“Beyond the stadium we operate one of the most far-reaching community engagement programmes of any football club in the country.
“Our award-winning Albion in the Community programme works with a wide variety of schools, community groups and organisations across Sussex.
“Since its inception AITC has delivered programmes in football development, health, education, sports participation and social inclusion.
“It employs 60 core staff and 120 part-time staff and reaches out to around 50,000 participants, changing lives and creating opportunity, particularly among those who are disadvantaged.
“We have future ambitions including the building of a new hotel next to the stadium which will add further economic benefit, create more local jobs and add additional facilities for the visitor economy.
“The record book shows the Amex has been a resounding success.
“Since 1997 when we were ground-sharing at Gillingham and contributing nothing to the local economy, we have built a community asset that has become part of the fabric of our city.
“The club is now one of the city’s major employers. It is one of a small elite group of businesses in the city that contributes over £30 million a year to the local economy and it has put the city of Brighton and Hove on the world map.
“The club and the city are Premier League ready!”
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