Five years fly by, particularly when you are “batting on a good wicket”, but for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium it’s been the perfect pitch that has kept it buoyant since its doors opened in 2009.
Five years on and the stadium – one of the most sustainable in South Africa -has entrenched itself both in the city’s landscape and in people’s hearts.
“You might ask how we have done this,” said Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium‘s Chantal Du Pisani.
“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 dinners under the stars – it all happened here and for that the people of the city and province reward us with loyalty. We are now asking them to share their memories with us.”
In May 2009 Access Management was appointed to operate the brand new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. “We hardly had a chance to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead as we rushed to stage the first major event at the stadium on 16 June 2009. While we faced many challenges in testing and showcasing our new stadium – still in the final stages of construction – local fans voted with their feet and 36 000 spectators attended a hard fought victory for the Lions.”
“When working for a dynamic, energetic and dedicated company it is a tough ask to recall one favorite memory, because, truth be told, they are countless. The first major event would certainly be a highlight. At the end of the night of 16 June, after the Southern Kings had played an historic game against the British and Irish Lions, we were able to see a bright future for ourselves, the company and the metro, and revel in a sense of achievement. A goose-bump moment would certainly qualify as the next most memorable. When 46 000 people sang the national anthem in deafening unison, one could only look on with proud eyes and realise that the team of which you are part, brought together diverse demographics who, for 90 minutes, acted as one.”
The overwhelming support from local fans continued through the remaining test events and through to the eight FIFA World Cup 2010 matches hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay.
However, once the World Cup euphoria and afterglow subsided the new stadiums were quickly branded as white elephants.
“There were certainly big challenges to overcome in Nelson Mandela Bay- no local Super Rugby or Currie Cup Premier Division team, no local PSL team and the last major Springbok Test or international concert was a distant memory for local sports fans – but the past five years have been marked by concerted efforts to ensure this did not remain the status quo.”
June 7 marks the stadium’s fifth birthday, and to celebrate the milestone, the stadium is taking a walk down memory lane, reflecting on its achievements.
“To date, we have hosted two international rugby tests, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 70 rugby and 31 soccer matches, 6 concerts, exhibitions and hundreds of smaller events and private functions attracting more than 1.5 million visitors to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“We have been dazzled by Bafana Bafana and the Ivory Coast, Neil Diamond, Josh Groban and world class jazz artists. We have also shared the joy of the Springboks beating the All Blacks and the Blitzbokke’s emotional triumph over New Zealand in last year’s IRB7?s final as well as the Southern Kings’ remarkable debut season in Super Rugby.
“Five years since the gates opened to the public, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium continues to evolve and to prove itself as a true multi-purpose venue, and a jewel in the crown of the Eastern Cape.”
This is a call to the fans who have supported the stadium whether it was for a concert, wedding, rugby or even soccer match, to post their favourite memory on the Nelson Mandela Bay Facebook page.
Thank you Nelson Mandela Bay. This milestone and the stadium’s continued success is due to your participation and outstanding support!
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2014/06/5-years-5-memories/