Years fly by, particularly when you are “batting on a good wicket”, and for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium it’s been the perfect pitch that has kept it buoyant since its doors opened in June 2009.
The NMB Stadium is arguably the most sustainable in South Africa –has entrenched itself both in the city’s landscape and in people’s hearts as a multi-purpose stadium for sporting, entertainment and special events. This is evidenced in what is now a long history of game-changing events, and a bright new future which lies ahead.
The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) acclaimed stadium operators of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, is at the forefront of multi-purpose venue management. We take this role very seriously and will work tirelessly to ensure that the stadium moves toward break-even and hosts events that appeal to wide audiences.
While the majority of South Africa’s stadiums rely heavily on major sporting events the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium management team have had to adapt to include major bowl and non-bowl events.
Today the stadium has evolved into a multi-purpose venue, hosting major sporting events, conferences, expos, concerts, religious festivals, weddings and corporate functions.
Larger scale exposés have been held at the stadium with great success. This year, we are determined to attract and develop sporting and other events. In short, we will take this space and make it a place that the city can be proud of – a building only has value when people engage with it and feel they ‘own’ the space.
As the stadium operator, we are responsible for total event solutions within the stadium grounds from catering to the sale of alcohol and merchandise. This means that those who are familiar with the gears, levers and inner-workings – spanning across operations, maintenance, security and marketing – have been retained and absorbed as employees of the MBDA. The team is motivated and always ready for a new challenge.
As we look to the future, we need to work collectively to ensure the stadium maintains its status and performs its role as a critical centre-point for economic development, community building and social cohesion, sports development, and events. Development is complex and cannot happen in an exclusively linear way. The city we are building today cannot afford a linear approach. Our world is sticky and intricate – and planning needs to reflect this. Already, the stadium has unlocked opportunities the city would never have been able to tap into before it was built.
MBDA has been readying the inner city through upgraded urban infrastructure for a tourism and investment boom. Complex development is at play and the stadium has always been an integral part of this process. MBDA is now the caretaker of the stadium. We take this role very seriously and will work tirelessly to ensure that the stadium moves toward break-even and hosts events that appeal to wide audiences.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, flanked by two bodies of water, the North End Lake and the ocean, not only offers a world-class sporting facility but can deliver beyond the borders of the stadium and include water sports. To this end, a major sports precinct is on the cards, which could result in an influx of additional niche sporting events on the neighbouring North End Lake. We will be making more announcements soon in this regard.
Vision and implementation now need to merge – and this can only happen through collaboration. As caretakers, we have been at the coal-face of both planning and application. There is a solid base on which we together can raise the roof and ensure our modern gladiatorial contests and public spectacles have a place to call home in Nelson Mandela Bay.