GL events UK supported the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championships, transforming Manchester Central Convention Centre’s Exchange Hall from a blank, multi-purpose event space into a dramatic and intimate 360° ‘bowl’ arena for the week-long Championship, which hosted players and fans from more than 30 countries.

With both men’s and women’s prize-funds equal for the first time, this watershed event, the most prestigious tournament on the AJ Bell PSA World Tour, featured 200 of the world’s best squash players and drew record crowds. GL events’ spectator seating team collaborated with Manchester City Council, venue operations managers, England Squash and the PSA to deliver an impressive showcase for the sport.

Event organisers strategically hosted the Championship in an intimate space, which would enhance the excitement and drama of the event, intensifying viewers’ focus on the central court. In support of this plan, we provided a total of 1,300 padded and cushioned, numbered, tiered spectator seats; installed with a combination of 166mm and 333m rises to create a wraparound, ‘bowl’ formation. To one side, the angle of the grandstand rose steeply after the initial seven rows, enhancing the dome effect.

Our temporary grandstand incorporated splays to the corners to bring all audience-members as close as possible to the action. They were fully numbered to assist guests in finding their place, and were carpeted and finished with bespoke timber cladding for aesthetic and noise-reduction purposes, creating a high-end look and feel, in keeping with the prestige of the event.

Our solution featured lateral walkways as well as twin rear-access staircases positioned in two corners. The main, high-rise block incorporated a smartly timber-clad internal access tunnel and towered above the central squash court, rising by nearly six metres and 22 rows to offer dramatic views of play. A series of perimeter handrails separated spectators from the action and allowed for the installation of advertising boards. Behind the scenes, we erected a media platform to the rear of the main block; along with an event control and lighting platform, accessed by technicians using a restricted access staircase.

With a tight installation schedule (not to mention the space-related challenges associated with a tight venue), as well as partner suppliers’ operations taking place side-by-side with GL events’ contribution to the tournament, our site-team completed the seating installation in less than 24 hours, working overnight to accommodate daytime events at Manchester Central Convention Centre. Our overnight dismantle operations were even swifter, and the project was delivered seamlessly from start to finish.