Ten years fly by, particularly when you are “betting on a good wicket”, but for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium(NMB Stadium) it has been the perfect pitch that has kept it buoyant since its doors opened in 2009 ahead of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The construction of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium began in 2007 as part and parcel of South Africa’s commitment to delivering a world class global spectacle, the 2010 World Cup
The 46 000 seater stadium was completed in 2009 after 3 years of construction. Over the 30 working months, 138 000m³ of material was excavated, 31000m³ of concrete was placed with 3000 tons of steel reinforcement.
This iconic masterpiece consists 49 hospitality suites thousands of parking bays, unique and captivating areas for special events, and two, soon to be replaced LED screens, and all ideally located near the City’s only recreational lake. The unique roof structure is orientated to local climate conditions and protects spectators not only against the sun but also more particularly, against the frequent onshore winds.
The NMB Stadium, now turning 10 in June 2019 has been the center of all things sport, events, celebrations, commemorations, exhibitions and conferencing.
Chief Executive of the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), the operators of the NMB Stadium, Ashraf Adam says “this stadium is arguably one of the most sustainable in South Africa and has entrenched itself both in the city’s landscape and in people’s hearts. Over the years this stadium has become a true representation of good values and continues to promote the spirit of Ubuntu by celebrating people through its events. It’s a place filled with emotion, memories, and friendships – old and new”.
Ten years since the gates opened to the public, the NMB Stadium continues to evolve and to prove itself as a true multi-purpose venue, and a jewel in the crown of the Eastern Cape.
“For many, the stadium has become a home away from home.” said Mpho Mokonyama, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Manager
“Our firm belief is that we have facilitated the creation of life-long memories – some once in a lifetime – within the stadium. We have worked tirelessly to bring a wide range of events so that people are able to have a stadium experience regardless of whether or not they enjoy sport.
“Concerts, international rugby tests, conferences, and on field dinners– it all happened here and for that the people of the city and province reward us with loyalty.”
Since the Stadium’s inception in 2009, 2.5 million stakeholders have voted with their feet in support of the IRB 7’s, Premier Soccer League fixtures (including cup finals, namely, MTN8, Nedbank Cup and recently the Telkom Knockout Final), PRO14 Rugby Tournament and music concerts such as Josh Groban Live, International Jazz Festival and the annual Ebubeleni Music Festival. The Springboks have also played six international matches at the NMB Stadium, where they remain unbeaten at the facility.
Looking back on the facility’s 10 years of existence, it is evident that future is bright, projects and developments that are ongoing and those that are being planned can only continue to elevate the City’s image. The MBDA is continuously innovating the operations of the NMB Stadium by incorporating globally recognized standards such as in-stadium app, a sporting museum and a recycle hub. These will form part of the long-term stadium strategy and will be additional income streams.
June 7th marked the stadium’s tenth birthday, and to celebrate the milestone, the stadium is taking a walk down memory lane, reflecting on its achievements. As part of its celebrations, the stadium is urging the community, and other visitors, to share all the joyous memories they’ve experienced on all social media platforms using hashtag #heres2ten. Through these stories, the nation can witness the tears cried in jubilation, the anguish in loss, and the cheers that roared and rose to the sky. It is the stories of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay that mirror all that the stadium has become – a home for dreams and a glowing Protea of the community.