What is post-World Cup life like for Soccer City? South Africa Magazine asks Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO of Stadium Management South Africa, how he is filling seats.
By Ian Armitage
Stadium Management South Africa focus EVENTS
he Soccer City Complex in Soweto is a worldclass sport venue. Renovated specifically for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it is no “white elephant” and its success as a venue looks set to continue. The 94,000-capacity stadium, also referred to as “The Calabash”, hosted the opening game of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup as well as the final between Spain and the Netherlands, both sell-outs and huge successes. But the question following the event was, what would this and the other massive stadiums be used for next? Stadium Management South Africa already had some answers, having spent months before the tournament planning for life after the World Cup and securing new contracts. The forward planning obviously paid off. “The Stadium was built in the late 1980s on the brink of Soweto. It hosts major sport games like the Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs as well as international football and rugby matches,” says Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO of Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA). SMSA manages the Soccer City Complex, FNB Stadium, Soweto’s Orlando Stadium,Volkswagen Dobsonville Stadium and Rand Stadium in southern Johannesburg. “The Complex and the main stadium is a first class stadium, with a super atmosphere.” In addition to soccer and rugby, world-famous entertainers also perform at the venue. “We’ve hosted the 360 degree U2 concert, Neil Diamond, Coldplay www.southafricamag.com
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Stadium Management South Africa’s Portfolio: The Soccer City Complex, FNB Stadium (National Stadium) Situated off Nasrec Road on the outskirts of Soweto, the 94,000 capacity FNB Stadium hosted the opening ceremony, opening match, four first-round matches, one second-round match, one quarter final and the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Orlando Stadium Demolished and rebuilt from scratch, the new Orlando Stadium, in Orlando East, Soweto, was one of the training venues for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The stadium houses 40,000 seats, 120 hospitality suites, 2 VIP suites, One VVIP suite, Conference facilities, a Gymnasium, and a 200-seat auditorium.
Volkswagen Dobsonville Stadium Tucked away in the township of Dobsonville is one of Soweto’s famous football stadiums, the Volkswagen Dobsonville Stadium. Situated on Main Road, between Montlahla and Majova streets, the stadium has underwent refurbishments to the tune of R69 million in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Rand Stadium One of Johannesburg’s oldest stadiums, Rand Stadium, underwent a R76 million revamp in preparation for the World Cup. Located just a few kilometres from the central business district and a stone’s throw from the Turffontein Racecourse, Rand Stadium has a contemporary design and a highly technical nature. A roof covers the 3,000 spectators who can be accommodated in the grandstand and houses a total of 25,000 fans.
and Kings of Leon,” Grobbelaar adds. “So, although there were initial concerns that the World Cup stadiums wouldn’t be used to their full potential, this is definitely not the case with the stadia we manage.” 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup tournament CEO Danny Jordaan promised South Africans that the new facilities would leave a legacy for generations to come. “To ensure a lasting legacy and the commercial viability of the stadiums, they will be used for both rugby and soccer,” he said before the World Cup. “This country has also used sports stadiums for major political rallies, concerts and church events. They can, therefore, also be used for other events outside of sport.” Grobbelaar says Stadium Management South Africa has a 10year plan for the Soccer City Complex. “We have been given full responsibility to run the Stadium, which is owned by the City of Johannesburg and I think we are doing a great job. Perhaps our biggest problem is that there are just too many events, but it is a good position to be in.”
Stadium Management South Africa focus EVENTS
This country has also used sports stadiums for major political rallies, concerts and church events
Stadium Management South Africa receives no funding from the City for maintenance. It accepted full financial responsibility of the venue and Grobbelaar doesn’t have any concerns about future sustainability. “We know that the stadium will be utilised,” he says. “Stadium Management South Africa is a dynamic and capable team that manages flagship sport venues and that is exactly why I believe that the City of Johannesburg appointed us.” Evolving from a facilities management service, Stadium Management South Africa is now a multimillion Rand operation consisting of safety and security management, marketing, tourism, hospitality, sponsorship, commercial and events management. One of the challenges faced by The Soccer City Complex is the low game attendance in the PSL league. To tackle it, SMSA has created series of creative initiatives such as allowing two people into the stadium on one ticket purchased for certain games. Happy hours with beers costing less than they would at local shebeens is another way to encourage fans to come to the stadiums early. END To learn more about Stadium Management South Africa and its fabulous sport venues visit www.stadiummanagement.co.za. www.southafricamag.com
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