Sport 26.02.24

Partner Profile: Canon Medical Arena

Yuri Matischen, acting Managing Director of Park Community Arena which operates the Canon Medical Arena, shares his thoughts on being part of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

Can you tell us briefly about your organisation and your role in that organisation?

I have a few roles at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park but they are complementary and all to do with sport. I am the acting Managing Director of Park Community Arena which operates the Canon Medical Arena. In addition I am the Chairman of the B.Braun Sheffield Sharks and Managing Director of our major sports events company, MLS, which has its new home in the Canon Medical Arena.

It is important to add, whilst I have these titles/roles, there is a group of common directors and senior executives that have been together for many years that have enabled MLS, the Sharks and ultimately the arena to be come a reality.

How does being a part of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park help contribute to your organisation’s mission and goals?

I believe it’s the other way round! Our organisations promote the missions and goals of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. However, we are at the active end of the health continuum, where the Park promotes health and innovative diagnostics and cure and we promote health and advocate active lifestyles, providing access to professional athletes and role models to the wider community and the children on the Park.

Our clubs in the arena are diverse and appeal to all our communities through the medium of sport and particularly basketball. After football, the second most played team sport in the country is basketball (Sport England Active Peoples’ Survey). In addition to the health impacts of promoting sport, we also use sport to reach out to 3,000 children annually through our education programmes in the arena and through our outreach work in schools.

We promote healthy lifestyles, self-discipline and respect, and we do this through the funding from three major health brands in Westfield Health, BBraun Medical and Canon Medical Systems.

Are there any unique partnerships or initiatives that have emerged as a result of being part of the Park?

The most unique relationship is that of the Sharks and Canon Medical Systems that has brought about the investment in building the Canon Medical Arena. It is a truly unique partnership between a professional sports club with a huge community ethos and a global medical brand.

The other vital partnership is that the arena hosts a Medical Diagnostic Centre accessible to NHS and private patients as well as sporting customers which allows them to access in the community, the latest diagnostic scanners and expertise. The Medical Diagnostic Centre is operated by LivingCare (Sheffield), who are a vital partner in the arena, creating an important commercial triangle, enabling the arena and its component parts to be sustainable.

Can you share any specific success stories from the last 12 months that highlight the advantages of being part of the Park?

Since arriving at the arena, the Sharks have doubled their ticket revenues and spectators love the arena and its atmosphere. We can entertain both on and off the court.

Crucially, within the British Basketball League, we have become the most televised venue with eight Sky sports live dates and regular broadcasts from the arena into the USA and Canada. We are promoting the arena, the club, the Park and the city into new markets and profiling the city in a very positive way.

In addition, as a flexible and multi-sport arena we have already generated significant visitor income to the city. In the months since opening, we have held two live major boxing promotions, national karate championships, netball internationals, Super League Netball, National University Fencing Championships, regional and national street dance events, and there are more potential eclectic activities on the way, from opera to robot wars!

Looking ahead, what future opportunities do you see for your organisation as a result of being part of the Park?

In terms of the Sharks, I see the potential for growth of the Sharks and the Hatters and as we become attractive to major investors, I can see us moving into the realms of topflight European basketball.

With regard the arena, I see us becoming entrenched in the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park sports and wellbeing ecosystem. We hope that our current health brands with which we work will be augmented by the likes of Google Health and BT Health in wanting to support major health promotion initiatives across the region that can be scaled to national programmes. Just like parkrun!