Innovative strategy for PE stadium

Port Elizabeth - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium from the air.Pic: Eugene Coetzee. ©The Herald
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 
File picture: Eugene Coetzee

An exciting revenue-generating plan is on the cards for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with a museum, new fields and rope adventure activities at the centre of the proposal.

The 46 000-seater establishment has struggled to make ends meet due to the high cost of its upkeep and salaries.

Stadium events manager Jaco Diedericks said the strategy, which included introducing netball and hockey facilities as well as a recycling hub, was aimed at commercialising the stadium.

Ideas for a string of coffee shops have also been put forward.

Diedericks presented the strategy to the metro’s economic development, tourism and agriculture committee on Friday.

“Our goal is to be a catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area, but we feel this has not been 100% effective,” he said.

“Our main focus has been on anchor tenants, but we want to penetrate other kinds of business to bring revenue to the stadium.”

Diedericks said the challenges stemmed from a range of factors, including the stadium’s large staff contingent – which meant a large salary bill.

To solve their woes, his team would explore creating their own events, while also hosting more soccer and rugby games.

“There is a need to bring more faceted programmes and other sporting codes, and not just soccer and rugby,” he said.

“There is a lot of opportunity with the lake facilities but we don’t feel they are multi-faceted.

“There is a focus on rugby and soccer, but there are a lot of businesses out there.”

Diedericks said while rugby and soccer matches had attracted much foot traffic, they hoped the introduction of netball and hockey fields would add to this.

The plan put an emphasis on the need to have residents visit the stadium daily, rather than only at weekends.

“We are looking at creating a museum that will document both the heritage of the stadium and the city’s history.

“We want tourists to come to the stadium and take pictures on the side of the pitch.” He said the strategy took into consideration the effect of the Southern Kings’ Super Rugby exit.

The plans also include rope adventure activities and the possibility of rope access training, which prepares participants for various work sectors including repairs and rigging on turbines and offshore fuel assets as well as maintenance on hydroelectric schemes.

Revenue raised from these ventures would supplement the cost of cleaning the roof, which came to a total of about R1.3-million.

Economic development, tourism and agriculture political head Andrew Whitfield welcomed the idea to link the stadium to tourism in the city.

“For too long, the stadium has relied on a single particular source of revenue and that’s simply not sustainable,” Whitfield said.

“The stadium is the most iconic feature on our landscape, [but] the legacy we want the 2010 World Cup to leave is not that of a burden to the city.

“We want a stadium where people can interact in an innovative space.

“We want people to interact in the precinct and not just in the stadium.”

DA councillor Baxolile Nodada highlighted the lack of parking for the disabled at the stadium as a concern.

“A bone of contention with the stadium is that there is no disability parking there,” Nodada said.

Leave a Reply