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Footy fans visiting the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) this AFL season are set to enjoy world-class connectivity, with a high-density, free Wi-Fi network as well as improved 3G and 4G mobile network coverage available for the AFL season.
The new technology infrastructure transforms the MCG into the most connected stadium in the southern hemisphere and will significantly improve the fan experience throughout the venue.

MCG Free Wi-Fi

The state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network is free, and allows fans to access real-time and interactive content, post and check in on social networks, use apps to check fantasy team scores and stream video – all without tapping into their own mobile data plans.

Melbourne Cricket Club’s (MCC) CEO, Stephen Gough, said:

We are delighted to be able to offer an improved MCG experience for the 2016 AFL season, with visitors able to stay connected wherever they are in the stadium.

Since December, more than 50,000 MCG patrons have connected to the Wi-Fi network.

Unsurprisingly, the longer-form Test matches played over the summer attracted more Wi-Fi users and data usage compared to the shorter BBL games  with day one of the Boxing Day Test recording the highest data use to date.

Gough added:

We have received fantastic feedback about the free Wi-Fi throughout the summer and look forward to seeing how fans enjoy the enhanced connectivity during the AFL season.

There are some big games scheduled for the MCG in Round 1, and we encourage everyone to connect and make the most of the improvements.

The scale of the Wi-Fi project is on par with the world’s best and biggest stadiums, with more than 227km of cable installed to enable Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the entire stadium.

Put into context, that is enough cable to wrap around the hallowed turf almost 480 times, or stretch from the MCG to Yarrawonga, on the New South Wales border.

Gough concluded:

This project has involved significant investment by the MCC, and we have worked closely with our partners – including Cockram Construction, IBM and Cisco – to find the most appropriate and long-term technology solutions for the MCG and our patrons.

Fans will need to complete a one-off registration to connect to the Wi-Fi when first visiting the MCG for the AFL season – and can simply reconnect on future visits. Those who have connected during the cricket season will need to re-register for the AFL season.

Enhanced 3G and 4G coverage

Fans will also find it easier to use their mobile device wherever they are in the MCG. Telstra led the installation of the largest Distributed Antenna System (DAS) of its kind to improve the 3G and 4G mobile connectivity within the stadium.

Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director, Networks, said:

The design, collaboration and construction of core infrastructure has taken over two years and required an extraordinary amount of technology needed to connect up to 100,000 fans. It’s the equivalent of providing network coverage for Ballarat and Shepparton – towns with a combined population of more than 100,000 people across nearly 400 square kilometres – but compressed within the confines of the MCG. This will provide spectators with a world-class experience when they use their device from anywhere in the ground, to stream video, browse the internet, upload photos to social media, receive telephone calls and access content on apps.

Cisco Systems’ Director, Jonathon Dixon, said:

Fan expectations are greater than ever, mandating a more connected sporting venue that enables fans to share and consume relevant content and services, while engaging with more people from any device, anywhere in the stadium. Cisco is excited and honoured to be a part of the MCG’s long-term road map for transforming one of the most historic stadiums in world and creating unimaginable new experiences for fans in the future.

The MCG’s General Manager, Commercial Operations, Gavin Corcoran, provides insights for the Fan Engagement roundtable-style feature running in our Q1 edition, which goes to print this week, with the digital edition to be available for download from next week.

The MCG’s Arenas Operations Manager, Tony Gordon, also provides his expert opinions for another major industry feature running in this issue, which offers advice on how to keep your playing surface in perfect condition.

Our Q1 edition also includes a Regional Market Report highlighting sports venue projects across Australia and New Zealand.

We are delighted to announce that our ‘live’ event, Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2016, will take place at a brand new venue – the Yokohama Arena in the City of Yokohama, Japan, from 26-28 September 2016. This 18th Stadia & Arena event will bring you together with many of the industry leaders in all aspects of sports venue design/build, management, operations and technology from around the world.
Our last two events have welcomed 500 attendees, with 50+ industry-expert speakers, 40+ industry-leading exhibitors and sponsors, all in addition to the high-level attendees from clubs, venues, leagues, federations etc. The 2.5-day event provides attendees with a unique opportunity to network, knowledge-share, learn and do business, all under one roof. Please register your interest in attending &/or participating in Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific by visiting our website at: or email the Event Director, Sam Wibrew, at:

Yokohama Arena

With a total area of 8,000sqm and a capacity of 17,000, Yokohama Arena is one of the largest multipurpose indoor arenas in Japan. It can hold music concerts, sporting events, shows, exhibitions, and a variety of other events. Yokohama Arena utilises such state-of-the-art equipment as 11,000 computer-controlled movable seats, a large four-screen projection system and a ceiling capable of suspending more than 100 tons.

Yokohama City

The City of Yokohama is Japan’s 2nd most populated city and a great tourist destination. Why not combine your participation in the Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event with a visit to the colourful Shin-yokohama precinct, Cosmo World, the seaside Minato Mirai district with its 296m Landmark Tower, or even plan a tour to the magnificent Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) – Japan’s largest peak at 3,776m?


NB: You can read a comprehensive post-show review of our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015 event in the latest Showcase Special edition of PanStadia & Arena Management and you can also watch a video online at:



A new stadium for Nigeria’s Super Eagles

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The Nigerian national football team, known as the “Super Eagles”, is one of the most successful in Africa; having reached the last sixteen of a FIFA World Cup three times, being Olympic champions in 1996 and, more recently, having won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. And, since the end of last year, they have also had an ultra-modern new ground to call ‘home’ in the form of the Akwa Ibom Stadium, which fully complies with European safety standards and FIFA recommendations.

With 30,000 covered seats and a transparent façade made of backlit acrylic glass, not only does the venue stage international football matches, but also plays host to major social, cultural and religious events.

The Akwa Ibom Stadium is situated in Uyo, the capital of the Nigerian federal state of Akwa Ibom, and is the first building to be completed in the Uyo Sports Park, whose facilities will also eventually include an indoor swimming pool, a multi-purpose hall, a driving range for golfers, basketball pitches and tennis courts.

The stadium, which covers an area of around 48 hectares and has 2,500 directly adjacent parking spaces, was designed by the German company Julius Berger International from Wiesbaden, with responsibility for the construction and execution laying with Julius Berger Nigeria; one of the biggest construction companies in the West African state, with 16,000 employees.

Construction engineers decided on a concrete skeleton, with steel trussed girders forming the load-bearing elements for the façade and roof. The translucent elliptical envelope around the spectator seating area was made from 15mm acrylic glass; the façade of the grandstand likewise consists of acrylic glass, but features vertical panels to form a counterpart to the elliptical external envelope. When it’s dark, ultra-modern energy-saving LED technology is used to light up the stadium in virtually every colour spectrum; in the national colours of the respective opposing team, for example.

The spectator areas provide seating for 22,500 people, with the grandstand holding 7,500 spectators, including VIP boxes for 30 to 40 people. The athletes’ changing rooms have also been accommodated in the grandstand, as have the commentary boxes, administrative offices and stadium surveillance systems. The technical installations are also noteworthy, with a digital floodlighting system, two digital scoreboards and LED video screens, the stadium boasts state-of-the-art technology. A helicopter landing pad is also planned, but is yet to be built. The venue also boasts some unique features, including bullet-proof VIP/VVIP sections, collapsable seats and 30 emergency exits.

The “Super Eagles” play football on real grass, whilst competitions and training sessions for track and field athletes are held on synthetic surfaces from Polytan. For the 400m circular track with eight lanes, the German sports surface specialist installed around 9,500sqm of Polytan M in classic brick red. Furthermore, the fast and optimally cushioned surface used in Uyo is IAAF Class 1-certified, which means that the water-impermeable synthetic surface is suitable for top-flight international athletics events with recognised records. A six-lane training track likewise consists of Polytan M and is situated outside the stadium.

The stadium’s opening ceremony was held on November 7, 2014, and this multi-purpose venue has already proved its worth, having hosted Nigeria v South Africa in the African Championships. The acoustics were also tested shortly before Christmas, during the “9,999 Singers at Christmas Choral Night” event and the running tracks were put through their paces during the AKS/NNPC/MPN Schools Athletics Championships in early March.

"Ibom international stadium" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

“Ibom international stadium” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Populous and PS&AM magazine to explore what will shape the venues of the future

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PanStadia & Arena Management (PS&AM) magazine, in partnership with global design practice Populous, are delighted to announce a year-long project to explore the future of sports and entertainment venues.

The experiences that draw people together have been at the heart of Populous’ 32–year history and form the starting point for the ‘Tomorrow’s Together’ project.

As they think about what will shape the venues of the future, three leading Populous designers – Chris Paterson (Australia), Greg Sherlock (USA) and Paul Shakespeare (UK) – start by asking themselves two questions:

What has the potential to reshape the way we design sports and entertainment venues?

Which trends are having the greatest impact by region?

To read more about the project team, and to watch a video about the early stages of the project, click here

You can read the project introduction in the 1st quarter (Spring) 2015 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine, available here 

The results of the project will be unveiled at the second edition of PanStadia & Arena Management’s live event, Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015, taking place at the Singapore Sports Hub this September, 28-30, with updates in each 2015 issue of the magazine.

Upcoming feature on the most eagerly-anticipated sports venue openings of 2015-17

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If you are a venue owner/operator or an architect/engineer/contractor working on a sports venue project opening within the next 6-24 months that might excite our 20,000+ industry professional readers and which you would like to be considered for inclusion in our ‘Looking Forward: the most eagerly-anticipated venue openings’ feature, then please email the Editor, Katie McIntyre, at:

This feature will appear in our forthcoming Q1 edition (formerly known as our Spring issue) of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine that will be published March 20.

Please initially supply a brief project synopsis, including the slated opening date and the venue’s capacity, and note that we will need at least 1x hi-res JPG format CGI image to accompany the final text.

For further information, contact Katie McIntyre via email or Tel: +353 (0) 44 9335212.

Note from the Editor

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I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of our advertisers, contributors and readers a very happy New Year and say that myself and all the team look forward to bringing you all of the latest news on stadia, arena, sporting events and venue projects throughout 2015.

This year is another exciting one both for the sports venue sector that we serve, as well as for ourselves, with a host of stadium and arena projects due to open their doors, and others to commence. We are also very excited to be launching PanStadia & Arena Management magazine’s App and Enhanced Facility Watch, which will provide you with even more vital information on all of the latest sports venue developments and tender news from around the globe. (NB: You can view the 2015 Media Kit online at which details all of the stadia and arena projects to be featured in 2015, as well as the specific industry sectors/topics to be featured in each edition.)

Our forthcoming Q1/Spring ’15 edition will also be a historic issue, as it will include the inaugural ‘Playing Surfaces Buyers Guide’; our independent guide to the leading companies involved in all aspects of natural, hybrid and artificial turf playing surface design, engineering, installation and maintenance, which we are producing in association with ESTO.

We are compiling this Guide to especially benefit our readers in emerging and developing countries by presenting them with a definitive guide as to the leading companies that they should be speaking to in terms of their playing surfaces needs. The directory will also include some independently commissioned articles covering all aspects of the industry based on feedback from our readers over recent years. It will take the same format as our hugely successful Architects, Engineers & Specialist Contractors (AEC) Directory that was included in our Spring ’14 edition and which remains online at: with regular additions and updates.

In addition, this September will see the second edition of our ‘live’ event, the Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific conference and exhibition. We welcomed 500+ top-ranking attendees to last year’s inaugural event and we are expecting even more to attend this year’s event, once again being held at the Singapore Sports Hub from September 28-30, 2015. Exhibition space is selling out fast and we are now accepting speaker requests and asking you to advise as to the topics you would like to see covered during this world-leading event.

If you have any news you would like to share either about a sports venue development, whether it be a new build or revamp, an innovative product, service or solution, then please contact myself, Katie McIntyre, either via email at: or contact me in the Irish office on Tel: +353 (0) 44 9335212.

In regards to speaker opportunities and possible topics for discussion at our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event, please contact either myself or Sam Wibrew via email at:

For all the latest information both on the magazine and the show, please ensure to regular check out (where you will find digital editions of the latest issue, as well as back-issues) and

On behalf of all the team, we look forward to working with you through 2015 and here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 12 months!

Best wishes and thank you for your continued support!

Kind regards,

Katie McIntyre

Publication Director & Editor, PanStadia & Arena Management magazine

Panel Moderator & Head of Audience Development, Stadia & Arena Events


SAE Asia Pacific 2015

Soccerex African Forum to take place at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban from 4-5 November

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The third edition of the Soccerex African Forum will take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, on 4-5 November.


With the confirmed presence of many local, regional and international academies, there will be business opportunities both for stadia companies involved in designing, building and supplying services for academies to clubs and for agencies involved in running player development programmes.


The event will have a host of specific stadia and performance conference content, as well as the perfect mix of attendees from rights holders throughout Africa and the rest of the world to help you grow your business in the sector, both regionally and globally.


Here is why you should attend the Soccerex African Forum:

  • Benefit from commercial opportunities around academies in Africa; from Manchester City providing insight on their community-based involvement in academies around South Africa, to Gerard Houllier sharing the blueprint behind one of the most renowned academies in the world, Clairefontaine, responsible for the development of many players of the 1998 World Cup winning squad.
  • Get updates from SAFA on the Hoy Park national training centre and meet South African municipalities in attendance looking to build structures to attract clubs to set up training programmes in their regions.
  • Meet European and African club commercial directors in attendance, from the likes of Manchester City FC, Sunderland AFC, Kaizer Chiefs, Zesco United, SAFA, Jomo Cosmos, Asante Kotoko, the Zimbabwe FA, Amazulu FC, Maritzburg FC, the Kenyan FA, Platinum Stars, Santos FC,  Ajax Cape Town and many more.
  • Learn from African FA presidents from Kenya, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Tanzania, Gambia and Swaziland among others their country’s plans for future growth in the major events and infrastructure areas.


The Soccerex African Forum is the continent’s leading football business conference and the meeting place for the industry to come together to learn, network and do business.


If you are in the business of stadia and player performance in Africa, the Soccerex African Forum is not to be missed. Contact the sales team on +44 208 987 5522 or email: for more information.


PanStadia & Arena Management is a proud and longstanding Media Partner of Soccerex and its events, with complimentary print and digital copies available to attendees, simply email Katie McIntyre at: to claim your free copies.

Next month's Soccerex African Forum - being held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium (pictured above) - is the continent’s leading football business conference and the meeting place for the industry to come together to learn, network and do business.

Next month’s Soccerex African Forum – being held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium (pictured above) – is the continent’s leading football business conference and the meeting place for the industry to come together to learn, network and do business.

City of Pietermaritzburg to invest in local soccer club

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South African soccer club, Maritzburg United FC, have secured a major funding package from the Msunduzi municipality.

According to local reports, the deal is worth R36 million (US$3.38 million) over three years and has been agreed with the City of Pietermaritzburg.

The deal ensures that Maritzburg United, who play in the South African Premiership, will remain in the city after speculation in recent months had indicated that a potential relocation was on the cards.

One proposal, a move to Port Elizabeth, is thought to have been turned down by the Club in recent weeks.

Under the terms of the new deal, Maritzburg United will play in a variety of stadiums in the municipality, rather than continuing a residency at the 12,000-capacity Harry Gwala Stadium.

United Chairman, Farook Kadodia, said:

For a municipality to partner with a professional team is something that hasn’t been seen before. So there is no doubt that this is history in the making. Having the support of the city is huge, the benefits are endless.


Libya National Stadium breaks ground in Tripoli

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the National Stadium of Libya took place 26 February in Tajoura, Tripoli, in the presence of the Libyan Prime Minister, Ali Seidan, the German Ambassador, Christian Much, the football legend Franz Beckenbauer and Project Manager Hans-Joachim Paap from the project’s architect GMP.

The 71,000 stadium is one of the stadiums due to host the African Cup of Nations in 2017. Two venues are planned for the capital Tripoli. In addition to the National Stadium, the project includes an indoor pool, a multi-purpose arena and Family Sportsworld, a family sports facility. According to GMP, the complex, which is being built around a circular basin of approx. 500m diameter, is designed with a symbolism focusing on the number 3 in deference to the historic genius loci, as represented by the city’s name (tri-polis = city of three).

Project details (GMP)

  • Design: Volkwin Marg and Hubert Nienhoff
  • Associate Partners: Hans-Joachim Paap, Jochen Köhn
  • Team members: Nikolai Reich, Martin Krebes, Barbara Düring, Torsten Weber
  • Structural design (outline design): Werner Sobek Ingenieure, Stuttgart
  • Structural design (scheme and detailed design): schlaich bergermann und partner, Stuttgart
  • Services engineering (outline design): Bechtold Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Berlin
  • Project commissioned by: Masterplan Libya, Tripolis, Kronberg
  • Client: Lidco – Libyan Investment and Development Co. Tripolis
  • General contractor: Porr Libya
  • Renderings credit: GMP


Cape Verde intends to run new national stadium as a business

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Cape Verde’s new National Stadium, on the outskirts of the capital city Praia, is gearing up for its official inauguration on 5 July 2014, on the 39th anniversary of the archipelago’s independence. The Chinese construction company that built the stadium handed over the keys at the end of November.

The stadium covers an area of 11,530 square metres and has capacity for 15,000 seated spectators, of which 5,000 are in covered areas. It supports a variety of sports, including athletics, and has a FIFA-approved synthetic turf pitch. Construction cost US$50 million.

Officials have stated that they intend to turn the stadium into a public business so that it can be managed in a professional way and to ensure its sustainability.

Diary date: Soccerex African Forum coming up

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Get over to Durban in South Africa for 1-2 October’s Soccerex African Forum for an intensive dose of football business on the continent. Of particular interest to sports facility managers is the Regional Development Seminar. The second part of the workshop is ‘Managing Municipal Owned Sports Facilities & Win Win Lease Agreements’ in which Greg Fredericks, General Manager, 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy trust and Vusi Mazibuko, Stadium Manager, Moses Mabhida Stadium will discuss how municipalities are supported when it comes to building local sporting facilities and how they should be managed to ensure that these venues can deliver safe and high level multisport programmes all year round.

The three-part seminar will look at the key components of football development across South Africa at both a municipal and provincial level. It will provide strategies for local governments to achieve the ‘2030 Vision’ set out in the National Sport and Recreation Plan by the South African Government. Robin Peterson, CEO, South African Football Association Development Agency and Tim Vine, Head of Public Affairs, English Premier League will be part of the discussion. The pair will discuss how SAFA’s development plans and the Premier League’s Premier Skills Programme are helping to ensure that the correct standard of coaching and training is being delivered, as well as how new partnerships can be established with international sporting institutions.

Another highlight is Hicham El Amrani, Confederation of African Football Secretary General and Mvuzo Mbebe, 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Local Organising Committee and 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) CEO providing an official review of the 2013 AFCON as well as a preview of the 2014 African CHAN.

Domestic leagues are the bedrock of football in any country, and commercial activity is central to their development. The need to commercialise the game will be at the forefront of this year’s Soccerex African Forum with Saer Seck, President, Senegal Professional Football League, Jack Oguda, CEO, Kenyan Premier League and Stanley Matthews Sports & Commercial Director for Africa, SuperSport, all speaking on this topic. Jack Oguda commented:

League commercialisation is very important to the success of football in Africa, and this event provides us with the platform to raise the key issues to achieve that success. I’m looking forward to attending once again and speaking alongside my counterparts to help build on the success of last year’s event.

Soccerex moves to Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban for African Forum

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This year’s Soccerex African Forum, being held 1-2 October, will be moving to the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban to accommodate a larger exhibition space and a second studio for the expanding conference programme.

The stadium was one of the iconic venues of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, due to its famous arch. Since the World Cup the stadium has continued to serve as a world class venue for multiple sports including the 2013 African Cup of Nations and international Twenty20 cricket games. It has also become the home ground of AmaZulu FC.

The announcement was made by Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie, Lara McLeod, Marketing & Communications Manager of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and Stanley Matthews, SuperSport’s Sports & Commercial Director for Africa.

Head of Marketing for SuperSport, Nomsa Mazibuko confirmed the new two year partnership with Soccerex that will see them become the exclusive broadcast partner for the event. As part of the partnership, SuperSport will host a series of special workshops to promote the development of best practice within the business of football in Africa focusing on key topics such as compliance, marketing, media, sponsorship and technical issues.

For further information about this event please call +44 (0)208 987 5522


Rwanda Minister to speak at Soccerex African Forum

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Protais Mitali, Hon. Minister of Sport and Culture, Republic of Rwanda, one of the key decision makers involved in the development of sport in Africa, will be speaking on the Sport & Government panel at the Soccerex African Forum in Durban, 1-2 October.

In what is an exciting period for football in Rwanda, the Honourable Minister will also be able to update the African football business community on his country’s preparations for the fourth edition of African Nations Championship (CHAN) in 2016, as well as the remaining business opportunities available ahead of the tournament. The country has already proved itself as a destination for major events in Africa through successfully hosting the CAN U-20 Africa Youth Championships in 2009 and the CAN U-17 Championships in 2011.

The session will look at the significant relationship between sport and government in Africa, focusing on a number of key issues including bidding and funding for major events, shifting the level of financial support from the government to the private sector, developing relationships with key international stakeholders and improving grass root projects.

The Soccerex African Forum will bring together 1,000 senior football decision makers together with businesses from across the continent and the world for two days of unrivalled learning, networking and business opportunities to unite the business of football in Africa. Check out the conference agenda.