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London’s Wembley Stadium circa 2075? This painting by Charles Darby imagines a London skyline in the distant future. Against a backdrop of imposing skyscrapers and flying cars, Britain’s most famous sports venue lights up the night sky. The artist made his name creating visual effects for feature films such as Titanic, The Matrix, Minority Report, The Fifth Element, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Harry Potter series.





I have always loved magazines. From a young age they have been a reliable source of knowledge and inspiration for me. So I’m proud to introduce the first issue of Populous Magazine, our firm’s biannual publication, which we hope will be a source of knowledge and inspiration for the sport and entertainment industry for years to come. In it our writers discuss some very special topics. There’s a feature assessing whether we are in a new golden age of tennis – Roger Federer’s record Grand Slam haul and world spectator numbers would certainly suggest this. Mark Russell, from British magazine GQ, finds out why stadium concerts are now more popular than ever. Mihir Bose, the BBC’s former sports editor, explains the national obsession with cricket in India. And Colin Cameron, from the Financial Times, describes the unique personality of each of the world’s great horse racing meetings. There are also articles on electric-powered motor racing, weird and wonderful conventions, soccer club business strategies and the design of university sports stadia. We  even do a bit of gazing  into the future, predicting how sports and  entertainment architecture might change in the future. We love being part of an industry that draws people together, whether it’s sport, entertainment or conventions – anywhere, in fact, that people gather to enjoy a public event. The total event experience is what we, at Populous, are all about. Welcome to Populous Magazine. Rod Sheard

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8874 7666 Email: Web: Editor-in-Chief: Rod Sheard Editorial Team: Rebecca de Yong Nick Reynolds



Populous magazine is published by: Alma Media International London, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 20 8944 1155 Email: Web: Publisher: Tony Richardson Editor: Dominic Bliss Art Direction and Design: Deep

Cover image: Roger Federer, courtesy of Nike. Other images: Getty images; Corbis; Action Images; TTXGP; Populous. Illustration p26: Spencer Wilson © Alma Media International Ltd 2009 All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of Alma Media International is strictly forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at the time of going to press, but we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Alma Media International or Populous.


Left field // Predicting future trends in stadium construction and architecture.


TENNIS // With tournament venues bigger than ever, and attracting record numbers, are we now in a new golden age of the sport?


Conventions // Star Trek, Elvis impersonators, erotica, tattooists, Judy Garland and Harry Potter… is there any hobby or celebrity without its own dedicated annual convention?



MOTOR SPORT // How electric-powered vehicles are taking on their petrol-guzzling counterparts.


MUSIC // Huge stadium and arena concerts are now more popular than ever. Mark Russell, from GQ magazine, finds out why.

SOCCER // Soccer clubs both large and small are using ingenious methods to recoup money spent on building new stadia. What’s the thinking behind their business plans?


COLLEGE sport // Former NFL linebacker Scott Radecic explains how he uses his playing experience to help design sports stadia and facilities for colleges across the US.


CRICKET // In India cricket is more like a religion than a mere sport. The BBC’s former sports editor Mihir Bose explains this national obsession.


Horse racing // Colin Cameron, racing correspondent for the Financial Times, visits the world’s most important racing meetings and finds out what gives each one its unique personality.


POP HISTORY // Summer 2000 and the world’s focus is on Sydney’s Olympic stadium… enter a small female athlete in a silver jumpsuit.


Printed on Claro Silk, (the first PEFC certified coated paper in the UK market) comprising of fibres sourced from well-managed sustainable forests. Claro is produced from chlorine free pulp, ensuring that no chlorine gas has been used in the bleaching process. The production mill for this paper operates to EMAS, ISO 14001 environmental and ISO 9001 quality standards.


Populous magazine is sent to our clients and friends around the sporting world. POPULOUS MAGAZINE //



The architecture and technology of public venues is evolving faster than ever. Here we bring you some of the most exciting ideas of the near, and sometimes distant, future.

How to use crowd energy to power lights and machines around the stadium.

Stadium in a box In the future massive stadia and arenas could be disassembled after use, transported to a new venue and rebuilt. Imagine an Olympic Stadium you can pack up after The Games have finished and ship halfway across the world to the next host city. Or a concert arena that disassembles and then travels by truck around an entire continent, accompanying the band on its tour. As well as being much cheaper than traditional venue design, this ‘stadium in a box’ system could solve the problem of host cities being left with white elephants for sports venues. The London 2012 Olympic Stadium, is a perfect example of the ‘stadium in a box’ principle, known in the trade as ‘modular architecture’. While the bottom half (a 25,000-seat bowl set into the ground) will be permanent, the top half (a steel-frame structure with 55,000 extra seats and a fabric roof) can be broken down into its constituent parts and removed at the end of The Games, leaving a much smaller, more practical stadium in its place. “The challenge lies in creating a structure that is both temporary and permanent,” explains Philip Johnson, from the stadium architects, Populous. “This is the essence of our Olympic Stadium.” Anyone who played with Meccano model kits as a child will appreciate the concept: lots of constituent parts that can be bolted together on site, and then later disassembled. “Our stadium is almost like a Meccano kit on an industrial scale,” Johnson says. “You could even compare it to a Formula 1 racing car which is made up of thousands of individual parts, each designed to ensure the optimum performance of the final solution. With this Olympic Stadium we wanted an approach that was far more flexible than traditional construction techniques. In the future it’s possible Olympic stadia could be demounted at the end of each Games, transported and re-used in another city. This means major sporting events could eventually be hosted by countries which couldn’t normally afford to construct huge facilities.” What about the 2028 Olympics in Afghanistan, for example? Or the 2030 World Cup in Somalia? And what’s to stop U2 from staging their next major stadium tour in the poorest countries of the world? Pop 4


Crowd Harvesting

One small step for man, one giant reduction in a stadium’s electricity bills. Scientists have come up with a way of harnessing the footfall of crowds in sports and entertainment venues and using it to provide electrical power to nearby lights and machines. It’s called ‘crowd harvesting’, and although the technology is still at an experimental phase, stadium designers are excited about the ecological and money-saving possibilities. “Imagine stadia or arenas of the future where, from the moment spectators arrive, their natural movement through the building generates energy,” says Nicholas Reynolds from architects Populous. “As they arrive through the turnstiles, the pressure of their footsteps on the floor is converted to powering the entry devices and the lighting. Then, as they sit down in their seats, the downwards pressure they apply drives a dynamo which supplies energy to the stadium. Or they join the masses on the arena floor which harnesses the  motion of thousands of fans dancing with the music.” So how does this all work? The technology is known as piezoelectricity. What happens is that devices beneath stadium or arena floors are depressed slightly when humans step on top of them. The mechanical energy from these steps is then converted into electrical energy and used to

power lights and machines elsewhere in the stadium. It’s similar to the technology in buttonpowered cigarette lighters or push-start barbecues, but obviously on a far grander scale. Similar crowd harvesting has already been tested in various public buildings around the world. A nightclub in the Dutch city of Rotterdam uses the kinetic energy of dancers to power lighting in the dance floor. A railway station in Japan uses passengers passing through turnstiles to supplement electrical power in the station. There’s even talk of gyms attaching dynamos to running machines and using the energy harnessed to run the gym’s lighting and TV systems. James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk, two students at the MIT School of Architecture, in  Boston, are researching ways of making piezoelectricity commercially viable “A single human step can only power two 60-watt light bulbs for one flickering second,” they explain. “But  get a crowd in motion, multiply that single step by 28,000 steps, and the result is enough energy to power a moving train for one second.” Imagine the day when crowd harvesting is so efficient that fans at a Beyonce concert end up powering the sound system through their dancing. It might encourage them to get out of their seats and dance harder. Pop

Our stadium is almost like a Meccano kit on an industrial scale. You could even compare it to a Formula 1 racing car which is made up of thousands of individual parts”




Court drama

With tournament venues bigger than ever, and record numbers watching both live and on TV, are we now in a new golden age for tennis? Dominic Bliss finds out.

Ultimately it’s all down to TV. Broadcast a sport into enough living rooms worldwide and it’s guaranteed to enjoy global appeal. But that sport needs an international fan base to start off with. This is where tennis is so fortunate. Fifty-two weeks of the year – even Christmas – professional players from virtually every nation under the sun pepper each other with fluffy yellow balls on courts all over the world. This year the men’s and women’s tennis associations (the ATP and WTA respectively) staged major tournaments in over 30 nations (even more at the lower levels) on six continents. The nationality of the players is just as cosmopolitan. In 2009 the top 100 rankings featured competitors from over 40 different countries including sporting minnows such as Uzbekistan, Slovenia, Kazakhstan and Paraguay. And the public’s appetite for watching all these players never seems to wane. 6


Last year, for example, live footage from Wimbledon was broadcast to 173 countries worldwide. The celebrity status of the players of course helps. Among sports fans there is an endless fascination for the hard-fought rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, regardless of whether those fans are from Spain, Switzerland or indeed Outer Mongolia. And it’s an added bonus that all four Grand Slam nations – France, Britain, Australia and the USA – have top-level stars such as Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, JoWilfried Tsonga and the Williams sisters to keep their hungry fans happy. Nor should one underestimate the recent growth of tennis in China. With a population of 1.3 billion – many now with access to live sport on TV – the size of the potential tennis fan base is mindboggling. You only have to see the crowds willing to pay weeks’ worth of wages to attend the China Open in Beijing or the International Women’s Open

in Guangzhou to realise how massive tennis could become in the world’s next superpower. Right now the People’s Republic can boast only four players with the talent required to sit at the sport’s top table. They’re all female – the men have yet to make an impact. Just imagine how huge the sport could become once the country’s many academies start churning out players on a regular basis. Thanks to tennis’s inclusion in the Olympic Games, this might simply be a matter of time. Meanwhile there seems to be no let-up in the number of club players enjoying the sport. The International Tennis Federation, which counts a staggering 205 member nations, estimates that there are over 60 million regular tennis players worldwide. Is this all evidence, then, of a new golden age for the sport? It’s certainly encouraging tournament venues to invest in their infrastructure. Currently across the world there are 38 tennis-specific stadia with seats for more than 10,000 fans. Anyone lucky

By the summer of 2009 Roger Federer had won 15 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other male player ever. POPULOUS MAGAZINE //


GRAND PLANS AT THE GRAND SLAMS All four of tennis’s Grand Slam venues have redeveloped in recent years.

Wimbledon, London New retractable roof over Centre Court and a new No.2 Court.

Roland Garros, Paris Plans for a new 14,600-seat centre court with a retractable roof, plus two outside courts with 1,500 and 750 seats.

Australian Open, Melbourne Plans for a piazza-style spectator area, a new roof on the Margaret Court Arena, renovation of the Rod Laver Arena and new offices for the tennis governing body.

Serena Williams is one half of the Williams sisters who share 18 Grand Slam singles titles between them. 8


US Open, New York In discussions with architecture firms about how they might upgrade their facilities – including perhaps a roof over the Arthur Ashe stadium.

Wimbledon 2009 welcomed over 511,000 spectators – more than in any other previous year.

enough to visit Wimbledon this year and see Centre Court’s new sliding roof will be well aware just how much energy the world’s most famous tennis venue has put into modernising itself. Redeveloped sports venues like Wimbledon often attract new fans to live sport. Just look at how popular the inaugural match under the new roof, back in May, proved to be: tickets sold out in five minutes. Nor are the other Grand Slam venues to be outdone. Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open, in Melbourne, has plans to build a piazzastyle spectator area, to lay a roof on their Margaret Court Arena, to renovate their Rod Laver Arena and to construct new offices for the tennis governing body. Roland Garros, home of the French Open in Paris, plans to build a new 14,600-seat centre court complete with a retractable roof, which should be ready for action within five years. And Flushing Meadow, venue of the US Open in New York, is currently discussing with architecture firms how they might upgrade their facilities, including perhaps a roof on the Arthur Ashe Stadium. The fans are hungrier than they’ve ever been for the sport. Just look at the figures from Wimbledon – by far the most famous tennis tournament on the planet: throughout all 13 days of the 2009 event the All England Club welcomed over 511,000 spectators – more than in any other previous year. On Wednesday 24th June, the third day of the tournament, just under 47,000 fans walked through the club gates – an alltime record. Worldwide the sport is in just as fine fettle. In 2008 ATP men’s tournaments attracted over four million spectators – and that doesn’t include the Grand Slams. Adam Helfant, the ATP’s new president, is quick to highlight tennis’s new found prosperity. “We have a wonderful sport and it’s hard to imagine a better time for the game,” he says. “Right now the quality of play is absolutely incredible when

you look at the rivalry at the top of the game between Nadal and Federer, what Murray and Djokovic have been able to accomplish, and, beyond that, the young emerging stars like del Potro, Cilic, Gulbis and Tsonga. It’s a wonderful time to be involved in the sport of tennis.” Like every other sport, tennis will of course be affected by the world recession. But this sport’s leaders seem to be mindful of potential problems. “We are certainly not recession proof,” Helfant adds. “We’re monitoring the effects on our tournaments in particular, and seeing how it is affecting fans’ habits. We know it’s had a big effect on hospitality, and the sponsorship environment is very different.” Larry Scott, outgoing chairman of the women’s WTA tour is equally wary. “I think women’s tennis is holding its own extremely well compared to other sports. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be difficulties ahead. No one’s got their head in the sand. We live in a broader world where there are challenges, and it’s hard to know how long this economic crisis is going to last and what the effects will be on sports, what the effects will be on tennis. But the [WTA] tour is very well positioned to deal with it in terms of its financial stability, its reserves, and the team we have in place.” As long as tennis maintains its presence on TV, the sport’s golden age should continue to shine. The numbers certainly look healthy: in 2008 the top tier of ATP events (now known as ATP World Tour Masters 1000s), plus the year-end ATP World Tour Finals, were broadcast worldwide for over 26,000 hours – up 20 per cent from the year before. The ATP estimates that a “cumulative audience” of 288 million people watched their players compete on TV. Provided the likes of Federer, Nadal, Roddick and Murray continue to dazzle audiences with their on-court exploits, these figures could increase even further. Pop



Will fans around the world really engage with a race that doesn’t feature roaring engines and the smell of burnt fuel?

Petrol heads will be up in arms. Whatever is the world of motor sport coming to? At the famous Isle of Man TT last summer, one of the races featured motorbikes with – wait for it – electricity-powered motors. While the riders didn’t quite reach the speeds of their petrol-powered counterparts, they still managed to put on quite a show. The top speed achieved was 106 mph. There are now plans for a worldwide race series for electric motorbikes in 2010. Called the TTXGP, the idea for the race came from a UK-based entrepreneur called Azhar Hussain. Backed by the British government, Hussain invited several teams to build bikes and enter teams into his inaugural race on the Isle of Man back in June. One of those teams was from Kingston University, in London, and led by motorcycle engineering director, Paul Brandon. His students were already very well-versed in the world of motorbike racing. “I came up with a few initial designs ready for our students to take on when they began their academic year,” Brandon explains. “That was in October 2008, which left us a very tight time frame because the race itself was due to take place on 12th June 2009.” A total of 11 teams from USA, India, Germany, Austria, UK and the Isle of Man eventually lined up their bikes on the starting grid and, after a hardcontested race, nine riders finished, the winner an American machine from Team Agni.

But the speed achieved by the riders, and the lack of noise from the electric motors was obviously very different to what TT spectators normally experience. Compare the best lap from the electric bikes (25 minutes with an average speed of 86mph/138kph) to that of the petrol bikes (17 minutes with an average speed of 131mph/211kph). But Hussain was quick to point out the positives. “These bikes have in a short build-time managed to find top speeds of 106mph,” he said. “It is my belief that in four or five years they will be as quick as petrol bikes. We can now attract a new audience to the sport.” Of course, a major part of motor sport is the petrol head atmosphere for the supporters trackside. Will fans around the world really engage with a race that doesn’t feature roaring engines and the smell of burnt fuel? Brandon says that if noise is crucial to the racing experience, then it’s easy to attach amplifiers to the TTXGP motors. Although, in his opinion, the “humming” sound of the electric bike is actually quite pleasant. Hussain agrees. “The quieter sounds are much better,” he says. “It is very distinctive. In any case, the noise [of petrol-powered races] is actually the sound of the inefficient petrol engines.” Efficiency is the buzz word in all of this. The Kingston University bike, for example, is 90 per cent fuel-efficient, compared to around 30 per cent efficiency on petrol bikes. In a world which is becoming more and more environmentally conscious, this is where the sport could prove really successful.

“Efficiency relates to how good the vehicle is at using the energy it carries,” Brandon explains. “If a vehicle was 100 per cent efficient (and no system is – we have not invented perpetual motion yet!), then every bit of energy carried would be used in moving the vehicle forward. On our electric bike 90 per cent of the energy carried was used to move the vehicle, so we were only wasting 10 per cent. On a vehicle with a petrol engine only about 30 per cent of the energy carried is used to move the vehicle. 70 per cent is wasted, mainly through heat down the exhaust pipe or in cooling the engine.” Hussain says he has “big plans” for his race series. Once a UK series has been established he then hopes to launch his worldwide series, perhaps as soon as 2010. All races will be broadcast online, he says. “We can produce a fantastic race experience this way by letting people follow particular bikes around a course and see the speeds and other bits of telemetry. As traditional [motorbike racing] supporters get older, we are finding a young demographic that is spread throughout the world.” Recently the international governing body, the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme, publicly backed an electric bike series to begin in 2010. FIM President Vito Ippolito suggested these machines would soon be racing alongside petrol bikes in world championship races. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll have an electric-powered Formula One. It’s enough to give petrol heads a short circuit. Pop

Next year sees a worldwide race series for electricitypowered motorbikes. Rob Richardson finds out whether motor sport’s petrol engines could one day be replaced by batteries.







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Music // LIVE!




In the old days you needed to be U2, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC or Queen to fill a stadium. Nowadays dozens of new bands ranging from Coldplay, Jay-Z and Kasabian, to Green Day, Take That and Jonas Brothers have joined their ranks.

A balmy London summer’s evening, 13th July 1985. At a quarter to seven Freddie Mercury struts on to the Live Aid stage at Wembley Stadium. He punches the sky, launches into his most famous song Bohemian Rhapsody, captures the attention of 80,000 adoring fans – and millions more watching on TV around the world – and produces arguably the greatest moment in live music history. The rock band Queen’s performance that evening signalled both the pinnacle and the demise of stadium rock. How could anyone go on to better such a stratospheric display on such a seminal occasion? David Bowie, The Who, Elton John and Paul McCartney didn’t get close to it later that night. It’s possible nobody else ever will. Towards the end of the 1980s, after two decades of stadium rock dominance, the pop cultural pendulum began to swing the other way: small-scale alternative rock enjoyed a resurgence, with its shy demeanour and an amateur ethos that relied on lowkey, sticky-floored night clubs. The punk outlook of grunge in America, twinned with the almost backward-looking Britishness of Britpop caused bands to shun the pomp and grandeur of superarenas. Dance music and hip-hop also matured, and was far more suited to clubs than vast venues. And thanks to a series of highly publicised disasters at sporting events, football grounds in particular, the public fell out of love with big stadia. Now, more than 20 years after stadium rock began to wither, something rather unexpected

American hip hop artist Jay-Z


Music // LIVE!

has happened. The growth of the Internet and proliferation of online music piracy this past decade has decimated the established recorded music industry. But, conversely, mirroring the drop in recorded music sales, there has been a boom in live music business – in particular, stadium and super-arena concerts. Take the United Kingdom, for example, often a good barometer of global music trends. Last year live music generated £904 million, compared to £896 million in the recorded sector. “The fact is, live music is as popular, if not more popular, than ever,” says Stuart Galbraith, chief executive of Kilimanjaro, the world’s second-largest music promoter. For the first time ever, in one of the world’s crucial music markets, the live industry was more profitable than the recorded – and a large portion of the revenue was generated by stadium concerts. British pop band Take That’s 2009 Circus stadium tour – entertaining 60,000 fans at Wales’ Millennium Stadium and 80,000 at Ireland’s Croke Park among other venues – sold 700,000 tickets in just one day. “We knew a lot of tickets would sell out quickly but we surpassed the total levels of sales that even we thought we’d achieve,” admits the promoter Simon Moran. In fact, the sales surpassed everyone’s expectations, setting a new British box-office record in the process. To highlight the current thirst for super-gigs, the previous box-office record had been set just days before by rock band Oasis… for a string of stadium gigs. It’s not just a British phenomenon,

either: globally the live music business grew by 10 percent last year to a staggering $25 billion. The drop in recorded music sales has obviously forced artists to generate income from other sources, and embarking on longer tours and staging stadium shows – events that sell tens of thousands of tickets for one night’s work – has been a successful strategy. “Touring, as is widely reported, is now much more of an important income stream for the majority of bands than it has ever been,” says Galbraith, who helped bring American rock band Eagles to London’s 23,000-seater O2 arena last year. However, this willingness to tour and rocketing interest in stadium gigs has only been made viable thanks to consumer demand; after all, promoters don’t take chances on events they don’t believe will sell. The Internet has, ironically, aided the new enthusiasm for stadium rock, helping fuel fans’ appetite for older, unfashionable acts who are less likely to feature in the mainstream media, providing a bulletin board for tour information and, via the credit card, acting as a box office. David Hepworth, founder of rock magazine The Word and one of the BBC’s television presenters at Live Aid back in 1985, believes increased interest in live music is part of a wider, wholesale cultural shift. “The audience for all entertainment – blockbuster movies, bestselling books, platinum records, stadium shows – is way bigger than it ever was because everyone likes to think that they’re young and in touch,” he says. It seems the Internet has been a particular boon for middle-aged music fans. “I meet people at dinner

Irish rock band U2

parties who go to far more of these big shows,” he adds. “20 or 30 years ago they would never have gone.” Paul Sergeant, who used to work at Wembley Stadium in London, and the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, admits stadium businesses took time to respond to this attitude change. Many in the industry even saw the Internet as a threat at first, because it was a rival form of entertainment. “There was a time when the whole industry was worried people were never going to go to live events again,” he says. “So the industry had to reinvent itself to make that experience, that atmosphere, things you can’t get when you’re at home in your bedroom.” One way in which venues have achieved this reinvention is by providing first-class facilities beyond the four walls of the concert hall. Caroline McNamara, head of sales at London’s £350 million O2 arena, believes this has been vital to the venue’s success. “There are 26 bars and restaurants at The O2 and when we had [American heavy rock band] Metallica here, for example, thousands of fans were here early to use those facilities. It’s all part of the experience.” She also points out that, as The O2’s parent company AEG has proved, additional amenities and conveniences can be developed at stadia used primarily for sports. AEG’s Staples Center in Los Angeles is home to basketball teams the Lakers and the Clippers, as well as being one of the biggest concert venues in the world. Sergeant believes stadium businesses have raised their game as multi-purpose arenas. “You can’t survive on 20 or 30 sports events a year,” he says. “Whether those other revenue streams are from megaconcerts or functions, it really needs to be a sevenday-a-week business that lives, sleeps and breathes events.” He highlights the success of the Millennium Stadium, in the Welsh capital Cardiff, where he was CEO for three and a half years until 2006. Here he brought in staff who could operate in both the sports and music worlds. “It’s chalk and cheese, the way the two industries work, so you need people who speak the same language as the promoters. If you don’t talk their language then you’ve got a fair chance you’ll never secure their business.” For their part, bands and artists have long forgotten that “stadium” was once a word in rock circles. McNamara emphasises this by pointing to The O2’s packed diary. “The way that the business has gone means bands want to play here, they want to put it on their tour.” Once upon a time the only bands willing to  tackle stadia were monsters of rock and global stars. Now more new bands are making the leap to  the widescreen of the big stage, while the old masters continue to hone their shows. “There are more artists now that can play stadia and multiple arenas than there have ever been before,” says Galbraith. He’s right. In the old days you needed to  be U2, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC or Queen to fill  a stadium. Nowadays dozens of new bands ranging from Coldplay, Jay-Z and Kasabian, to Green  Day, Take That and Jonas Brothers have joined their ranks. If Freddie Mercury was still with us he’d be proud of the next generation. Pop

The Top 10 Greatest STADIUM Gigs EVER? The Beatles Shea Stadium, New York, USA, 15 August 1965 At their absolute peak, the Fab Four broke box office records, performing to 55,000 fans and pulling in $304,000 for one night’s work. The Rolling Stones Madison Square Garden, New York, USA, 26 July 1972 This concert, on Mick Jagger’s 29th birthday and at the culmination of their American tour, sealed their position as the then greatest rock band on the planet. Led Zeppelin Tampa Stadium, Florida, USA, 5 May 1973 With 56,800 fans in attendance, this beat The Beatles’ Shea Stadium record. Zeppelin would go on to raise the bar again throughout the decade, but this was the original and best. Bob Marley & The Wailers One Love Peace Concert, National Stadium, Jamaica, 22 April 1978 Jamaica’s favourite son brought together the country’s warring politicians, Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, on stage, holding their hands together during his famous song “Jammin”. Elton John and John Lennon Madison Square Gardens, New York, USA, 28 November 1974 John Lennon’s last ever live performance saw him team up with another rock’n’roll titan. U2 Zoo TV Tour, Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, Australia, 27 November 1993 Still widely cited as the most ambitious live tour ever, spanning five continents and two years, its highlight was the Sydney performance, captured on a Grammywinning film. Wings Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 21 April 1990 Notable because Paul McCartney’s “other band” performed to an astonishing 184,000 people – more than three times the crowd the Beatles ever pulled. Oasis Maine Road Stadium, Manchester, UK, 5 May 1996 During a time when no other rock band wanted to go near stadia, Britain’s Oasis played their hometown football ground, and performed as if they owned the place. Bruce Springsteen Wembley Stadium, London, UK, 4 July England 1985 He opened the show with an Independence Day solo and played for more than three hours. Only the Boss could get away with that. Queen Live Aid, Wembley Stadium, London, UK, 13 July 1985 A perfectly condensed display of stadium rock showmanship, with the whole world watching.



CRICKET // In India cricket is more like a religion than a mere sport. Mihir Bose, FORMER sports editor at the BBC, explains how the Indian Premier League has spearheaded the country’s world domination of the game.

FEVER PITCH It was the English who first struck leather with willow. And it’s Lord’s, in London, which still calls itself the headquarters of cricket. But it’s Indian money that runs the sport. India provides 80 per cent of global cricket income and, when this nation of over a billion moves, the cricket world moves with it. Just look at India’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year. According to the New Zealand cricket authorities, the income they make when India visits dwarfs anything they earn from any other source – well over $25 million were earned from TV rights and sponsorship to the Indian market. The Indian Premier league (IPL) is the most successful domestic cricket tournament in the world. In public auctions IPL franchise-owners have paid millions to lure the world’s best cricketers to their teams. The league has completely transformed the sport. Until its arrival, ambitious cricketers from round the world seeking money were forced to come to England to play in English county cricket. Now top cricketers can earn millions for just a few weeks of Twenty20 cricket. Two of England’s leading cricketers, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, had no hesitation in playing IPL just before an international 16

Cricket // FEVER PITCH

Ashes series. All of which means that, for the first time, a major team sport is not controlled by the West. It marks an important moment in world sport, if not social history. For decades the economic axis of world cricket had been England versus Australia. This all changed when India emerged as the sport’s economic giant, with a huge domestic market lapped up by the country’s TV channels. At the heart of this was the IPL, a sporting sensation imbued with what Indians call “masti”. It’s a Hindi word meaning “mischief and fun”. The starting point of masti was September 24, 2007, in Johannesburg. That evening the first World Twenty20 final took place between India and Pakistan at the Wanderers stadium. The Indians had certainly not expected to get to the final, or even fare very well in the tournament. When this new form of cricket was invented by the English, they had initially rejected it as worthless. Originally they didn’t even want to take part. In the end they agreed but sent a virtual second eleven to South Africa, minus some of their biggest names. Sachin Tendulkar, their greatest batsman, didn’t make the trip, nor did Rahul Dravid, the man who had captained India to their Test series victory in England just a few weeks earlier. POPULOUS MAGAZINE //


The Indian captain was a young man called Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the very unfashionable Indian town of Ranchi (renowned back home for its mental asylums). He had never captained the side before. But suddenly the Indians were in the final against their bitterest rival, Pakistan, and, after a titanic struggle, they secured a dramatic victory in the last over of the match. It was only the second time in the history of cricket that India had won a major world tournament. The Indians had gone to South Africa expecting nothing. They had unexpectedly discovered gold and were now determined to mine it. Just six months later, in April 2008, they launched IPL, a domestic Twenty20 tournament that went on to take the world by storm. It was India’s Twenty20 cricket revolution, the biggest change in the sport for decades; possibly even the biggest change since overarm bowling was legalised more than a century and a half before. What IPL did was bring something called “tamasha” to world cricket. It’s a colloquial Hindi term meaning ‘an activity of fun, frolics, and excitement’, all rolled into one. Cricket had always been a tamasha, and a hugely popular sport across the Asian nation. But in 1947 when the country became independent, it was by no means certain that cricket would be the dominant sport. Most Indian leaders under Gandhi didn’t like cricket, or even sport in general. Cricket also had rivals: both hockey (India didn’t lose an Olympic hockey match between 1928 and 1960) and football were very popular. But Indian business saw in cricket a vital marketing tool. Encouraged by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, it soon became the national sport. 1991 was a crucial year. With the Indian economy facing collapse, and the country running out of foreign exchange, the government, under pressure from the World Bank, was forced to open up and allow foreign investment into what had been one of the most protected markets in the world. Cricket benefitted massively from this investment. 1991 was also the year when cricket finally became one global family. For the first time in its cricket history, South Africa, having abandoned sporting apartheid, played a non-white country. Appropriately it launched its rebirth with a one-day series in India. That historic tour made the Indian cricket board realise it had television rights it could sell. Before that Doordarshan, the state broadcaster, had televised domestic cricket. Far from paying anything, it had often demanded fees from the sport’s governing body to cover the production costs. But IPL has taken Indian cricket to a new level. Attracting both Bollywood stars and businessmen as franchise-owners, it had soon engineered a 10-year television deal with Sony worth $1.5 billion. Cricketers from around the world were offered football-level wages – hundreds of thousands of pounds for just six weeks’ work – while evening matches, finishing well past midnight in order to escape the stifling heat of April and May, proved so popular that thousands packed the grounds. Domestic television channels had to adjust their programming. No domestic cricket tournament anywhere in the world had ever been so popular. 18


PALACES OF THE IPL While new teams will be added to the IPL in 2010, currently there are just eight. Most of the stadia they play in are very large – one with a capacity of 90,000. What they lack in modern facilities they more than make up for in atmosphere.

India provides 80 per cent of global cricket income. The IPL is the most successful domestic cricket tournament in the world.

Wankhede Stadium Mumbai Home team: Mumbai Indians Capacity: 45,000 Built: 1974 (currently being renovated) M. Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore Home team: Royal Challengers Bangalore Capacity: 40,000 Built: 1969 Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium Hyderabad Home team: Deccan Chargers Capacity: 40,000 Built: 2004 M. A. Chidambaram Stadium Chennai Home team: Chennai Super Kings Capacity: 50,000 Built: 1916 Pop

Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi Home team: Delhi Daredevils Capacity: 48,000 Built: 1883 Punjab Cricket Association Stadium Mohali Home team: Kings XI Punjab Capacity: 40,000 Built: 1993

The revolution was masterminded by Indian entrepreneur Lalit Modi. To make the league work the organisers shamelessly borrowed from the West. Not only did they take the original English invention of Twenty20 cricket, but they closely studied English football’s Premier League and the American NFL to work out how the tournament should be structured and how income from television and sponsorship should be shared. From the English Premier League they borrowed the concept of having city-based teams. America provided the idea of sports franchises and of the televised auctioning of players, with franchiseowners bidding millions. Nothing like this had even been attempted in cricket before. Modi also brought on board Western sports agencies such as IMG. The involvement of Indian entrepreneurs and Bollywood film stars spiced things up further. In 2009 when, for security and political reasons, the IPL couldn’t be held in India, Modi successfully moved it to South Africa, just weeks before the tournament was due to start. It proved how modern Indians can react to events with great speed. It is clear that international cricket is struggling to come to terms with India’s rise as the greatest power within the sport. How the rest of the world adjusts to this new reality will provide the next, fascinating chapter in the history of the game. Pop

Eden Gardens Calcutta Home team: Kolkata Knight Riders Capacity: 90,000 Built: 1895 Sawai Mansingh Stadium Jaipur Home team: Rajasthan Royals Capacity: 30,000 Built: unknown



UN conveNtionAL? From Elvis Presley impersonators and UFO spotters to Judy Garland devotees and tattoo enthusiasts… convention centres the world over regularly host some of the most weird and wonderful fan fests you can imagine. As Dominic Bliss discovers.



Batman looks slightly jealous of Darth Vader’s shiny suit. He adjusts his mask, hitches up his tights and very nearly knocks over a Dalek from Dr Who. On the other side of the convention hall, a fat, bearded fellow dressed as Hagrid, from Harry Potter, is walking arm in arm with a young girl disguised as Hermione. Everywhere you look there are characters from movies, comic books and TV series, some worldfamous, some downright obscure. This is the London Film and Comic Convention, staged at one of the UK capital’s largest convention centres, Earl’s Court 2. Many of the hundreds of fans are taking their costumes very seriously indeed. Star Wars, Dr Who, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, Manga and Marvel comics… it seems just about every sci-fi or fantasy franchise ever created is represented in force. While some have come mainly to buy memorabilia from the dozens of vendors, others obviously relish the chance to hang out with like-minded fans. 20-year-old student Daniel Woburn, aka Wolverine, has hired a suit and mask in tribute to his favourite Marvel Comics character. “I never thought I’d do this in a million years,” he says after admitting he has over 2,000 comics in his private collection. “But I got upset there were so few people representing comic books.” He stops to pose for a passer-by who wants a photo of him and his friend. The latter is dressed as another Marvel Comics character, Thor, complete with Viking helmet and huge foam hammer. On offer elsewhere at the convention are displays of original props from the films and TV

series. (One Doctor Who fan seems to have got himself stuck inside a Dalek.) There are also chances to hear lectures from those who work in the industry. But the biggest draw by far is the star autographsigning sessions. Fans are queuing as many as 30deep to pay £15 a time for the signatures of actors from Star Trek, Heroes, Stargate SG-1, Babylon 5, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Doctor Who, Harry Potter and, perhaps most popular of all, Star Wars. David Prowse is the man who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Now 74 years old, he’s sat behind his autograph desk wearing grey slacks, a peach-coloured shirt and a purple tie. (Hardly the uniform of the evil commander of the Galactic Empire.) Next to him is Kenny Baker, who  was the little robot R2D2, and Peter Mayhew, the big, hairy Chewbacca. “I’m busier now than I’ve ever been in my entire career,” says Prowse who travels to film conventions all over the world. “It’s amazing to think that Star Wars has gone on for so long. Coming to these conventions you’ve got the generation who went to see the original film in 1977. Now they’re bringing along their own children. It looks like it could go on forever.” While most fans are happy just to get a signature, a photo and a chat, some insist on a bit more. “I was once in Belgium when suddenly this guy jumps up on my table, pulls up his trousers and there’s Darth Vader tattooed all over his leg. He got me to sign his leg so he could get my signature tattooed on top of it.” It’s veneration and hero-worship such as this that fuels so many of the weird and wonderful

conventions staged worldwide. Elvis impersonators, Trekkies, UFO spotters, Judy Garland fans, Hell’s Angels, Rocky Horror transvestites, Harry Potter wizards… on any day of the year you can guarantee that a group of like-minded aficionados will be gathering somewhere on the planet to celebrate their mutual obsessions. Just look at the next 12 months. In the USA, Superman fans will be flying down to the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce, in Metropolis, Illinois, for the Superman Celebration 2009. Rocky Horror fans will no doubt be doing the time warp again at Rocky Horror Con, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. And UFO spotters will be gathering at the Roswell Convention & Visitors Center in Roswell, New Mexico. But it’s not just the Americans who love a crazy convention. In 2010 the Norcalympia Arena, in the British city of Blackpool, is hosting the annual Elvis European Championships. At the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Malaysia there’s the Feng Shui and Astrology for 2010 seminar. And the Gallagher Convention Centre in the South African city of Johannesburg is hosting SEXPO (“health, sexuality and lifestyle”), a worldwide franchise which later tours Australia, UK, Greece and USA. All of which is a refreshing change from some of the dull business conferences and trade shows staged at other times of the year. Anyone for the International Congress of Oral Implantologists? (Yes, this took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Canada, in August.) Or how about a trip to the International Convention Centre Durban for the Suicide Prevention Conference? That would have been a barrel of laughs. But it’s the wacky fan conventions which draw in the most dedicated followers. Conventions, it seems, are anything but conventional. Pop

Elvis impersonators, Trekkies, UFO spotters, Judy Garland fans, Hell’s Angels, Harry Potter wizards, Rocky Horror transvestites… like-minded aficionados gather to celebrate their mutual obsessions. POPULOUS MAGAZINE //




Soccer clubs are resorting to more and more ingenious methods to recoup the millions they spend on building their new stadia. But are there risks behind these transformations into multi-use venues? Joe Boyle finds out.

Ice covered the pitch. Penalty spot, centre-circle, halfway line – none of them were visible. A cluster of men in all-in-one ski suits, goggles and blades sliced across the outfield. Once a FIFA World Cup venue, Tokyo’s Sapporo Dome later took on the guise of an Alpine wilderness, part of the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. It was yet another example of the creative uses to which modern soccer stadia are put. And yet, the Sapporo Dome, 53,796 capacity, ice and all, appears to be falling out of love with soccer. Consadole Sapporo play second fiddle to the city’s baseball team, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and are often shunted to the 30-year-old Atsubetsu Park. On one occasion last season they played in front of just 7,010 spectators. Relegation followed. A new stadium may offer a field of dreams in CGI 22


rendering. But blithely assuming that ‘if you build it, they will come’ can result in hollowed-out shells. Whether it’s the Rolling Stones playing FC Porto’s Estadio Dragao, sell-out ice-hockey matches at Bern’s Wankdorf Stadium or university graduation ceremonies at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, new soccer stadia are designed to host a range of activities. At Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, which opened in 2006, conferences and exhibitions are important revenue drivers. “At our old stadium we had limited facilities to build such a service,” says Adrian Ford, who was commercial director during the stadium construction. “But here we’re a £4 million turnover meetings-and-events business.” For all the financial gains, Arsenal’s relocation was initially controversial, not least over the issue of naming rights. (Middle-eastern airline Emirates paid £42 million in a 15-year deal.) But, as Andy Stevens, POPULOUS MAGAZINE //


sports business consultant and senior lecturer at The University of East London, points out: “there isn’t any team in the Premier League with a naming rights deal at the moment that doesn’t have a new stadium.” The naming deal with Emirates works out at £2.8m a year, less than the club makes from a single match day. Yet, without that upfront payment the build would have been jeopardised. Naming rights deals are now accepted currency. Purists might wince at the thought of playing in Toyota Park, Pizza Hut Park, or Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The owners of the stadia in Chicago, Dallas and Colorado, however, will claim the estimated $10 million, $25 million and $40 million deals were critical to the development of their new facilities. New stadium, new name, new money. As Kevin Payne, president of Major League Soccer side DC United, put it, his side’s 48-year-old RFK Stadium “does not generate enough revenue on game day because it’s so antiquated.” To prove his point, Payne could cite a 2007 report by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte which claimed English clubs enjoy an average 66 per cent growth in revenue in the first season at a new ground. Arsenal’s total match-day revenue went from £44.1 million per season at Highbury (capacity 38,419) to £90.6 million per season at Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,355), which works out as £3.1 million in takings for each home game. The 54 per cent increase in attendance lead to a doubling in both the sale of match-day programmes and takings in the club shop. And then there are enhanced corporate facilities. Emirates Stadium entertains 9,000 “premium customers”, as they call them, who generate almost as much revenue on match days as the whole of Highbury was able to do. 15 per cent of Emirates Stadium’s capacity is devoted to luxury suites and premium seats, in comparison to just one per cent at Highbury. Similar figures can be seen at the Veltins Stadium, home of German side Schalke 04, which opened in 2001. The average attendance in the final season at the old Parkstadion

was 45,623. Since then Schalke have averaged over 60,000 per match every season. Revenue has risen, reaching €148.4 million in 2007/08. In 2001, prior to their move, Deloitte calculated their revenue at €55 million. Schalke, with its five kilometres of beer piping and schedule of non-soccer events, will continue to exploit the Veltins Arena, irrespective of on-pitch success. But Adrian Ford offers a warning: “Are we a football stadium or a multi-events facility?” he asks. “The football has to come first, the quality of the pitch has to come first. You can’t subjugate that to all types of events, all through the year, because you’ll compromise yourself. I think there is that tension and you need to understand where that boundary is.” Nonetheless, since moving to Emirates Stadium, Arsenal haven’t won a significant trophy or reached a major final. In these circumstances, the improved match-day experience of fans is crucial in keeping the stadium full. Everything is geared to enhancing the supporters’ experience, from an IT system that spots a failing cash-till before queues build up, to ample toilet facilities that ensure halftime can be spent eating hot-dogs rather than fuming in a log-jam. Bigger, however, needn’t be better. In the US, new stadia are being built out of a need for smaller

venues. “Major League Soccer are very much against their franchises playing in National Football League stadia,” says Stevens. “They don’t feel they can generate a sufficient audience to justify playing in an 80,000 capacity stadium.” Stevens points to Toronto FC as the perfect example of this growing trend: “They are selling out every week. And this is the team that went one period of eight games without even scoring a goal.” Toronto’s new BMO Field may hold just 20,000 but it has energised the fans and maximised their average spend. Last season Toronto fans spent an average $15 each game on food, drinks and merchandise, the highest in the league. A winter bubble means the stadium can also be used in the off-season. In its first year 500,000 people attended 30 separate events and 90,000 amateur footballers booked 1,500 hours of playing time on the pitch. Toronto, Arsenal and Schalke offer positive messages. Sapporo, and others, less so. New soccer stadia depend on two things: the quality of their facilities and the quality of the sport. “The value drivers are the facilities – how good or bad they are,” Ford stresses. “But also the product – in terms of the football – how good or bad that is. I think if we reach a point where our football is poor, or we become complacent and our catering and value-added products are poor, then fans will vote with their feet.” Pop

Bristol City FC’s future stadium

Building for the World There is little to link the English city of Bristol and Monterrey in northern Mexico. Except, both are on course for a new stadium designed by architects Populous. Both will have additional hospitality, commercial and conference space. And both will be hoping to secure host-city status for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals. A recent Deloitte report concluded: “Germany’s hosting of the 2006 FIFA World Cup has left a legacy of excellent facilities which has translated to match-day revenue benefits for clubs.” As part of its proposals, Bristol claims host-city status could generate £100 million for the city. Benefits of hosting a World Cup A German report after the 2006 World Cup calculated: €300 million tourism revenue $2 billion retail spending 50,000 new jobs €40 million to the treasury from ticket sales Bristol City FC vs CF Monterrey City population Bristol: 416,400 Monterrey: 1,133,814 Existing stadium capacity Bristol: 21,497 Monterrey: 33,500 Average attendance Bristol: 16,816 Monterrey: 32,875 New stadium capacity Bristol: 30,000 (42,000 on expansion) Monterrey: 50,000 New stadium estimated cost Bristol: €70 million Monterrey: €108 million

The Estadio de Futbol Monterrey will open in 2011

What they say Bristol: “This is one of the first stadia built with extension expansion very much in mind. It will be Bristol’s biggest conference and banqueting centre.” Colin Sexstone, chief executive of Bristol City FC. Monterrey: “The Estadio de Futbol Monterrey will be a world-class stadium that Rayados fans and the people of Monterrey will call their own.” American Institute of Architects, on awarding Design Excellence Award.

Arsenal’s total match-day revenue went from £44.1 million per season at Highbury (capacity 38,419) to £90.6 million per season at Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,355), which works out as £3.1 million in takings for each home game.






Former American football pro Scott Radecic now designs university sports stadia for architects Populous. His playing days are crucial to those designs, as architecture journalist Zoe Blackler discovers. 26


When Scott Radecic was a student at Pennsylvania State University he was one of the adored elite – a member of the college football team. He still remembers the thrill of walking out onto the field at the start of a game: the floodlights, the marching band, the roar of the 110,000-strong crowd of students fired up with anticipation. Even during his subsequent 12-year professional football career, nothing matched winning the national championships in his junior year at Penn State. Today, nearly 30 years after his first game, Radecic is still a regular at college football. These days, though, he’s in the stands, not on the field. And when the crowd cheers it’s not his tackles he’s proud of, but his stadium design. Radecic is now a senior principal at architects Populous, and if an American college is opening new sports facilities, there is a good chance he has designed them. “Hearing the crowd cheering during the first game in a new stadium I’ve created is as good as making a great play in front of thousands of fans,” Radecic says. “But even after all these years, I still feel more comfortable on the field than in the stands.” As a 10-year-old growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Radecic was determined to be a professional football player. By the time he was 16 he had caught the attention of scouts from some of America’s best universities and scholarship offers came flooding in. When it came to choosing which one to attend, though, it was academic considerations that mattered most. Princeton, Yale and Brown (all three in America’s exclusive Ivy League) were options. But Penn State offered the best architectural engineering  degree, a five-year course with the right blend of design and construction management. It was a bold move to take on both the rigours of a football training schedule and the gruelling workload of an architecture degree. Although his advisor at Penn State tried to talk him out of it, Radecic was determined. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to use my training,” he says. “But I knew how important it was to get a degree, and architecture was something I really enjoyed.” After his four years at Penn State were up, he was drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs. From there it was off to Buffalo to join the Bills and Indianapolis to play with the Colts. During his 12 years with the NFL, Radecic played middle linebacker. “I bear quite a few scars.” As the end of Radecic’s football career approached in 1992, he had good reason to thank his time in Kansas. Populous, with its base in the city, was the Chiefs’ architect – Radecic had seen their designs for a new, rolling stadium roof – so when he started sending out his CV they were the obvious first stop. As it turned out they were also the last. In the years since joining Populous, Radecic has worked on university stadia for Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and the University of Washington. When he first started he even found himself back at his old college Penn State, designing a new football training facility. Being a former player means he has an instant rapport with the coaches. “Because of my background I understand collegiate sport. I understand all the

Hearing the crowd cheering during the first game in a new stadium I’ve created is as good as making a great play in front of thousands of fans.”

particulars that the players, the coaches and the administrators go through on a daily basis.” It is this working experience of the game that Radecic brings to his stadium design. “I understand what it’s like for the student athlete to have to get from class to practice, practice to dining hall and back to class. I’ve been able to teach our architects the nuances of what it’s like to be inside the locker room.” At Penn State he re-configured the layout of staff offices in the training facility to make way for an additional internal stair; a detail, but a crucial one, which gives the coaches a more fluid interaction with the players in their locker rooms and a more efficient route out onto the field. At Virginia Tech, he knew to change the layout of the players’ locker rooms. Players get their ankles taped before each game and having gone through the routine a hundred times, he knew the most convenient place to do that was right near the entrance where they pick up their laundry bags and not, as originally planned, by the outside door to the field. “If you’d never been a player you wouldn’t know where to put that room,” he says. It’s small triumphs like these, improvements to the lives of the players, which give Radecic most

satisfaction. “There’s this great sense of stewardship, to make these college sports buildings as rational as possible, to enhance the lives of student athletes.” Which is not to say there aren’t plenty of big achievements to celebrate too. In September, Minnesota University hosted its first game in its brand new 50,000-seat stadium, one of the boldest projects in the history of American collegiate sport – and one that Radecic has worked closely on. After 27 years in which the game has been played in a municipal stadium downtown, college football, and  the accompanying spectacle, will at last return to campus. “Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to win,” Radecic says. “When you’re a football player there’s a scoreboard at the end and it says whether you’ve won or lost. In architecture it’s much more subtle than that. You may think you’ve done your best but you can’t always tell because there’s no scoreboard. But when we go to Minnesota and they’re playing their first game in over 20 years on campus in our new stadium, the air force will do a flyover and the lights will come on and all these people will be cheering.” It might not be the same as the applause of  100,000 adoring fans after a particularly heroic interception. But for Radecic it will be just as proud a moment. Pop POPULOUS MAGAZINE //


J CKEYING F R P SITION Horse racing is one of those sports with the capacity to reach beyond its core fan base and become part of a nation’s very culture. These 10 global meetings, chosen by Financial Times journalist Colin Cameron, have all managed to do that.

Horse racing is a truly global sport. Few developed countries don’t race. Not many developing nations, either. Yet racing everywhere has unique qualities. No domain can be considered the same. Even concepts like the Triple Crown (a series of three championship races over a range of distances contested by three-year-old horses which exists in many racing nations) are not homogenous. In the US, for example, the sequence runs for five weeks, beginning with the Kentucky Derby in May. Runners never race over more than a mile than anything you find stateside. Confused? Instead of common themes in the sport – of which, incidentally, there are also many – it’s better instead to savour the differences. From the Grand National, in Britain, with its 30 fences and four-plus miles, to five-furlong sprints, the variety in racing is no less remarkable than the Thoroughbreds themselves.



THE GRAND NATIONAL Aintree Racecourse Liverpool, UK

The world’s greatest steeplechase, part cavalry charge, part equine marathon, testing man and horse over a unique set of obstacles and two circuits of a left-handed track. Over four and a half miles, fields of 40 face fences like The Chair, Becher’s Brook and Canal Turn. Local Liverpudlians make up the bulk of a 65,000 crowd with the rest of Britain gambling £100 million-plus on the race that has spawned Hollywood feature films such as National Velvet.



The Melbourne Cup


Flemington Racecourse Melbourne, Australia

Churchill Downs Racecourse Kentucky, USA

This is the race that stops a nation. Run on the first Tuesday in November and now into its third century, the Melbourne Cup is a Victoria State event with a national following. Crowds arrive from breakfast time to make an all-day party of the afternoon while Australians everywhere join in with office sweepstakes. Horses compete over 3,200 metres. Prizemoney today tops AUS$5 million. Phar Lap, Australasia’s most famous racehorse, won in 1930, while growing numbers of foreign-trained raiders were rewarded in 1993 with a first ever win for Ireland’s Vintage Crop.

The Run for the Roses. America’s most important race takes place in the Bluegrass state, famous as the heart of the US bloodstock industry. A crowd of over 100,000 spectators serenade and toast runners and riders with the anthem “My old Kentucky home” and Mint Juleps, respectively, before the field travels one and quarter miles on a dirt surface. The winner, finishing in front of Churchill Downs’ famous grandstand spires, claims the first leg of the US Triple Crown last scooped by the mighty Secretariat in 1973.

The Ascot Gold Cup Ascot Racecourse Ascot, UK

This is the centrepiece of Royal Ascot, the world’s best-known race meeting now over 250 years old, and immortalised in the film My Fair Lady. Over five days, the great and the good, along with the not-so-good, descend to the Queen’s own racecourse. Gold Cup Day, also known as Ladies’ Day, is Thursday and attracts a crowd of 70,000. The Gold Cup itself is over two and a half miles, providing a unique test of stamina. The 2009 winner, Yeats, was successful for a fourth time – a unique feat.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Hippodrome de Longchamp Paris, France

Gold Cup Day at Ascot, also known as Ladies’ Day, attracts a crowd of 70,000.

Longchamp, set in the Bois de Boulogne and over 150 years old, hosts this unofficial European championship. The Arc, as it’s known, attracts thousands of race-goers from both Britain and Ireland, as well as a sophisticated Parisian set. The winner usually parades in front of packed stands before passing through a tunnel to reach a paddock. This then doubles up as a winner’s enclosure where vocal tributes in all of Europe’s many tongues, together salute laps of honour.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Various racecourses across the USA including Belmont Park and Santa Anita Park


Epsom Downs Racecourse Epsom, UK The cornerstone of English racing’s summer is now well over 200 years old. Formerly run on the first Wednesday in June – the Houses of Parliament would adjourn so that members could attend – the Derby today is on the first Saturday of that month. From the morning coats and top hats in the Queen’s Stand to those on Tattenham Corner, it’s a day out to celebrate the mother country’s finest single race day. The field races uphill, then left before a downhill home straight with steep right-to-left camber. Having negotiated such a challenge, the winner instantly earns a potential stallion career and sterling valuation into eight figures.



The Breeders’ Cup is the official world championships of racing, with the Classic over 2,000 metres the pinnacle of a day’s high-quality international racing. The now two-day event, which began in 1984, rotates around the premier tracks of America – and Canada – with West and East Coast crowds reflecting local traits and customs. The Classic, with a purse in 2008 of US$5 million, is run on dirt and the winner is usually acclaimed as America’s Horse of the Year. Conditions favour the home nation so European winners – the British Raven’s Pass in 2008, for example – are relished by visitors.

The Dubai World Cup Nad Al Sheba Racecourse Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This is the world’s richest horse race with a purse of US$6 million. First run in 1996, it was the creation of the Maktoum ruling royal family. The event, on a dirt surface over 2,000 metres, is the high point of the Dubai Spring Carnival, which draws outsiders to join local expats and watch top-quality runners from America, South Africa, Europe and Australia. In 2010 the race moves to Meydan Racecourse.

The Japan Cup Tokyo Racecourse Fuchu, Japan

The first Japan Cup was run fairly recently (in 1981), yet the race is today well established as the premier Asian event in the sport. By invitation only, its growing reputation reflects the importance of Japan to world bloodstock. A mix of local and overseas-trained runners compete over a mile and a half for a first prize exceeding 250 million Yen. Support for home runners verges on fanatical with badges and scarves the fashion, while runners from France, Britain, Australia and America have all been successful.

Gran Premio Asociación Latinoamericana de Jockey Clubes e Hipódromos Racecourses throughout South America

This is South America’s most important multinational horserace. Like the Breeders’ Cup, it rotates racecourses throughout the continent. The most recent running in 2008 was in Brazil. A purse of US$250,000 reflects the relatively low world ranking of South American horse racing, but success in the 2,000-metre event, on grass, is considered important internationally and can be a springboard to a racing career in North America.



PopUlous in


Where? Sydney 2000 Olympic Stadium (ANZ Stadium) When? 15th September 2000.

520 MILLION... The Number of people who have attended a Populous facility in the past 10 years alone.

ANZ Stadium will forever be remembered for the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games when Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman carried the torch and lit the Olympic flame. But few outside of Australia realise that this Populous-designed structure had already been in use a long time before. Some 18 months previously, on March 6th 1999, it was a run-of-the-mill rugby league doubleheader that held the honour of being the first ever event at the venue. Over 104,000 fans turned up, all of them wanting to help christen the stadium, and watched the Newcastle Knights take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles followed by the Parramatta Eels against the St George Illawarra Dragons. Never before had so many spectators attended a rugby league match. And never before in the history of Australian sport had so much beer been sold in a single hour. 32


POPULOUS // THE TEAM We are true individuals – innovative, fun and highly creative architects and designers who enjoy working together to give our clients unique design services. Whether it’s bespoke design, sports stadia, entertainment venues or convention centres, we are passionate about everything we do.

CATHY FREEMAN: Gold Medallist 400m Sydney Olympics Time: 49.11 seconds

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POPULOUS - Issue 1  

The magazine of Populous (formerly HOK Sport)

POPULOUS - Issue 1  

The magazine of Populous (formerly HOK Sport)