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FNB popular with tourists
11 May 2011

Visitors are choosing tours of FNB Stadium over other stadiums, because of its historical significance and architectural genius, say management.

THE FNB Stadium is more popular with local and international tourists than any other stadium in Johannesburg, according to the chief executive of Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA), Jacques Grobbelaar.

 

Spanish fans revel at FNB Stadium during the final of the 2010 World Cup
Spanish fans revel at FNB Stadium during the final of the 2010 World Cup
“Almost 40 000 tourists have toured the stadium since its transformation in 2010. The numbers have increase significantly this year. Tours of the FNB Stadium have been extremely popular due to the historical significance and architectural genius.

 

“They offer a first-hand view of the models and main stadium, the ring of fire, spectator stands, the pitch, players’ tunnel, change rooms, hospitality suites, venue operations centre and the ramps,” he says.

Grobbelaar adds that the high number of tourists who have expressed an interest in the FNB Stadium prompted SMSA to roll out public tours of Dobsonville, Rand and Orlando stadiums.

Tours of all four stadiums take place at 9am to 3pm from Monday to Friday and at 12 noon to1.30pm on weekends. Adults pay R80 each, pensioners pay R70, and children under the age of six can join a tour for free.

Schools can take learners on an excursion to the stadium for R30 each learner.

 

Orlando Stadium is also a good toruist attraction
Orlando Stadium is also a good toruist attraction
Grobbelaar points out that the facility is the busiest in the country compared to the other soccer World Cup stadiums. They are Ellis Park, also in Joburg; Loftus Versveld, in Pretoria; Royal Bafokeng, in Rustenburg; Mbombela, in Nelspruit; Peter Mokaba, in Polokwane; Free State, in Bloemfontein; Moses Mabhida, in Durban; Nelson Mandela, in Port Elizabeth; and Green Point, in Cape Town.

 

World Cup
The FNB Stadium – known as Soccer City during the World Cup in 2010 – hosted the first and final matches and the opening and closing ceremonies of the tournament. The facility, held under a 99-year lease with the City of Johannesburg, staged 23 sporting events in 2010; among them were eight FIFA World Cup games.

It also hosted other major events, such as the U2 and Neil Diamond concerts, with more than 98 000 people in the audience at each concert.

Between January and March, it received lots of bookings for concerts, church events and soccer matches. “There is still a range of concerts and events that will take place at the facility for the year ahead,” Grobbelaar says.

Some of the sports that are to take place at the stadium are the Nedbank Cup semifinals and finals, the Vodacom Cup and the Telkom Charity Cup.

“The stadium has to be constantly maintained because of its busyness. For the pitch only we spend over R70 000 per annum. We work with various private sector companies, who assist in general maintenance of the facility.”

 

A packed Ellis Park Stadium during the 2010 World Cup
A packed Ellis Park Stadium during the 2010 World Cup
One of the SMSA strategies to ensure that the stadium is used regularly, he says, “is to compete proactively for headline sporting events, by building strong relationships with the leagues and sports clubs to encourage them to bring matches to the stadium”.

 

The stadium
“Our goal is to ensure that the stadium becomes the most sought-after venue in Johannesburg for large events of all kinds. With its iconic status, state-of-the-art facilities, award-winning design and all the glamour and excitement of flagship sporting events to offer, FNB Stadium presents an unbeatable package.”

It has a field of 11 232m2 and a moat holding 2 670m3 of recycled water. With 88 530 spectator seats and 195 suites, it is the largest stadium in Africa.

Known as the calabash, a reference to its design, which resembles an African cooking pot, the establishment was voted the best public building and best building overall for 2010 in the Leaf Awards, an international architecture competition.

The three-tier stadium soars 60 metres into the air and stretches across 300 metres. Its shape and facade were created from a mosaic of thousands of glass-fibre concrete panels in eight different colours that respond to natural and artificial light to create a glittering effect that lights up the stadium from far by day and night.

To book a tour to FNB, Rand, Orlando or Dobsonville stadiums, visit the SMSA website or call 011 247 5300.

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Last Updated on 19 May 2011