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With the Asia Pacific region offering an unrivalled number of sports venue development opportunities over the next eight years, we will feature a selection of projects in each edition of the weekly digest, which will also include any tender opportunities.

Literally billions of dollars-worth of projects are either already underway or due to commence in the Asia Pacific region over next 12 months, with the region to play host to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2019 Rugby World Cup and now both the 2020 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games and 2022 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games.

To follow are details on just three of the region’s multitude of projects:

Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre

The Hangzhou Sports Park is a vibrant, pedestrian-centric recreation development currently under construction in the midst of Hangzhou, designed by NBBJ in collaboration and partnership with CCDI. Located on a 420,000sqm site on the Quian Tang riverfront, the primary architectural element is an 80,000-seat Olympic-sized stadium; which is currently the largest stadium planned for construction in China for the next ten years.

The Main Stadium is intended to host major national and international events, such as the China National Games, Asia Games, and even a possible future Olympic bid. The facility will also host regular football club play. The City of Hangzhou will be bidding for several international events in the coming years.

The Sports Park’s Tennis Centre is intended to be the counterpoint to the Main Stadium. It will feature several scales of spectator venues, support buildings and practice courts, and will be capable of hosting major international ATP events. The centrepiece will be the 10,000-seat Main Court.

The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre project will be featured in our forthcoming Q3 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine, which will be distributed at our ‘live’ event, Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific, as well as at the Soccerex Global Convention and FSB.


Shantou Sports Park

Star Events Shantou University

Designed by world-renowned American architect David Manica (MANICA Architecture), the Shantou University Sports Park will cover an area of 60,000sqm and will house a 52,000sqm state-of-the-art multipurpose sport, conference and entertainment complex.

The sports park will comprise of a 6,278-seat multi-use arena, a natatorium with Olympic-sized swimming pool, a conference centre, sport and fitness training facilities, a flexible grand conference hall, a 200-room boutique hotel and an underground car park.

With an investment of RMB560m provided by the Li Ka Shing Foundation of Hong Kong, construction of the Sports Park commenced in 2014, and is envisaged to be completed by 2016.


Shantou Sports Park General Manager, Greg Turner, together with architect David Manica and Star Events’ Roger Barrett, will give an in-depth project overview on Shantou Sports Park during Day 2, i.e. September 29, of our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015 event.


National Stadium of Cambodia


The first phase of the ‘Morodok Techno National Stadium Project’ in Phnom Penh, broke ground in 2013.

The 60,000-seat main stadium will be the centrepiece of the 2023 Cambodia SEA Games and will be completed in the next four to five years, with a Chinese grant covering the entire cost of the USD$100m project.

The National Sports Complex will also be located on the site and will feature a multipurpose arena, the Prek Phnov Stadium, which will include an Olympic swimming pool, an outdoor football pitch, a running track, tennis courts and dormitories for athletes.

You can watch a video giving a comprehensive overview of the project at:


For any company interested in working in the region, next month’s Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015 conference and exhibition is a must-attend event. For further information on speaker opportunities, exhibiting or attending, please go to:





Talk at New London Architecture sheds fresh light on stadium design in the UAE

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Dipesh Patel’s talk at NLA focused on design ideas at Pattern, the architectural practice he founded in 2010 to further advanced computation skills in the creation of efficient, innovative and distinct building components for memorable architecture. Patel told the story of the recently completely 25,000-seat Hazza Bin Zayed (HBZ) FIFA class football stadium in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi; a project that has been voted ‘Stadium of the Year’ by Stadium

The event was chaired by leading sports architecture writer Owen Pritchard, whose magazine AJ Specification features the stadium in its current issue. Pritchard was particularly interested in how the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium responds to its local context. Off-site manufacturing of building components made it easy to assemble and the fabric cladding system is a low maintenance solution that copes well with sandstorms, and does not require water to clean it. This is an important asset in a part of the world where water is in short supply.

Another highly responsive contextual element is the design of the roof of the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. This is the first example in the region specifically designed for solar protection. Most stadia in the Gulf are based on the European model of a drip-line roof developed for wet climates and essentially redundant in arid parts of the world.

Patel and his team at Pattern are working on a number of other sports projects including a stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The practice continues to look at ways to create low-tech solutions through complex modelling techniques that also bring cost down through an intelligent optimisation of design elements. For instance, as Patel’s colleague and Building Information Modelling (BIM) expert Eamonn Kelly noted at the NLA talk, “The varied and dynamic form of the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium has been achieved using only 86 unique panel types.” This is an extremely cost-effective way to achieve what is ultimately a very sophisticated landmark for Al Ain.


Dipesh Patel will be a speaker at this September’s must-attend event, our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015 conference and exhibition; the leading event for sports venue design/build, management, operation and technology.


HBZ Stadium: Project Stats

HBZ Stadium opens its doors in 2014 as the new home of Al Ain Football Club, one of the leading clubs in the UAE Pro League. Designed by Pattern Architects, the 25,000-seat FIFA class football stadium introduces a new approach to sports architecture in the Gulf region by embedding Al Ainʼs identity into the very fabric of the design. Part of this identity is defined by the local desert climate and landscape.

Al Ain is the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and has been inhabited for thousands of years. It is wellknown for its date palm plantations. Patternʼs design is inspired by the rotating fractural geometry of the date palm fronds. The architects used the latest parametric technology to create an outer facade that reflects this.

This “Palm Bole” facade also acts as a passive cooling device; shading the building during the heat of the day, whilst allowing fresh air to flow. Within the bowl this creates comfortable spectator conditions and aids grass growth for the pitch.

The roof for the HBZ Stadium is the first example in the region that is specifically designed for solar protection. Most stadia in the Gulf are based on the European model of a drip-line roof that has been developed for wet climates and is therefore redundant in arid parts of the world.

Pattern Architects took inspiration from the Arabic head-dress and created a sinuous and gravity-bending parasol roof that shades the pitch and the spectators during a match, whilst allowing enough sunlight on the natural grass pitch during the day to allow it to flourish. The apparent levitating form of the roof allows all spectators an unobstructed view of the action and intensifies the atmosphere within the bowl during the match.

A key area of investigation was audience segmentation. The venue’s unique slope-cut lower tier addresses this and results in more high value seats.

As a typology, HBZ Stadium is very much a sports venue in a community. Pedestrian access is encouraged and there is no sea of car parking around the stadium. The architecture also supports non-match day opportunities and a building that is a vibrant destination year-round.

Architect Dipesh Patel, Founder of Pattern, said:

HBZ Stadium is our first built project. It embodies our design principles of natural order, mathematics and visual harmony. We are very, very proud of it and what we have achieved as a practice going into our fourth year.

HBZ Key Design Credits:
The original client was The Crown Prince Court with the following design team:
Lead Design & Architecture: Pattern Design
Architect of Record: Mark Habre & Associate
Lead Consultant & Masterplanner: Broadway Malyan
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Building Services: Hoare Lee
Post-contract the design team changed and was employed by BAM (Main Contractor):
Lead Design & Architecture: Pattern Design
Structural Engineer Roof: Schlaich Bergermann & Ptn
Structural Engineer Superstructure: WSP
Building Services: Hoare Lee


Catering: Tricon

Pitch Consultant: STRI

Transport: Mott MacDonald and Langan

Fire, Estidama, VT, Waste, Acoustics: Hoare Lea

Pattern Design Team Credits:
Past and present staff who have all contributed to HBZ Stadium (pre- and post-construction): Alan Mclean, Alice Aldous, Andrea Cunsolo, Andy Hau, Carol Taffinder, Celia Aldridge, Clare Kennedy, David Ola, Dipesh Patel, Eamonn Kelly, Ece Cakir, Edoardo Milli, Eldred Godson, Frank Anatole, Gabrielle Tester, Janet Ashong Lamptey, Jon-Scott Kohli, Laura Baker, Lindsay Johnston, Loreana Padron, Matthew Aidan, Michael Lowe, Myron Sullivan, Nick Tyrer, Patrick Tee, Prasanna Kumar, Ruth Hiscock, Tony Russell, and Vicky Chang.

Photography: Dennis Gilbert

Las Vegas MLS plan boosted after city agrees stadium deal

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Plans to take Major League Soccer (MLS) to Las Vegas have taken a major step forward after officials behind the project announced an agreement to construct a new soccer stadium in the Nevadan desert city.

The 24,000-seat stadium, designed specifically for an MLS team, will be based in the city’s downtown Symphony Park area, according to the deal announced by the city of Las Vegas, The Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports & Entertainment on Tuesday.

A non-binding term sheet covering the key points of the agreement will be put to a Las Vegas City Council vote on 3rd September. If approved, a binding development agreement would then be put to the council in December.

The total project cost for the team and stadium including interest on bonds over the next thirty years is US$410m. Of that, 69% would be privately funded and 31% from public sources, such as taxes collected from tourists and public infrastructure funds.

A statement from the project overseers said the venue would only be built if the Findlay-Cordish partnership is awarded an MLS team. The partnership would be responsible for all costs associated with the franchise, including the design and construction of the city-owned stadium.

Once the stadium is open and operating, the Findlay-Cordish partnership would cover any operating losses during the next 30 years. The team would also sign a long-term lease and agree to stay in the city for the same period of time.

City mayor, Carolyn G. Goodman, said:

The time to bring professional sports to Las Vegas is now. The deal negotiated with Findlay Sports & Entertainment and The Cordish Companies will be a win-win for the city of Las Vegas and its residents. I love that both our partners are family-owned companies with great reputations.

The Findlay-Cordish partnership is split 50/50. Findlay Sports & Entertainment, founded with the sole intention of taking MLS to Las Vegas, is a locally owned company headed by Justin Findlay and principals of Findlay Automotive Group, while Cordish Companies is one of America’s largest real estate development firms.

It is estimated that the proposed venue would generate more than US$9m in annual tax revenue for the state, county, city and other local entities. It is also projected to create more than 1,200 jobs, including 525 construction jobs and 700 permanent jobs.

As well as hosting an MLS franchise, the stadium would also be used for other community events and would feature state-of-the-art concession and fan entertainment experiences.

Findlay Sports & Entertainment and the Cordish Companies announce proposal to bring MLS to downtown Las Vegas: Symphony Park would be home to the city's first professional sports team. (PRNewsFoto/Findlay Sports and Entertainment)

Findlay Sports & Entertainment and the Cordish Companies announce proposal to bring MLS to downtown Las Vegas: Symphony Park would be home to the city’s first professional sports team. (PRNewsFoto/Findlay Sports and Entertainment)

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Source: MyNews3 and PRNewsFoto

ROSSETTI discusses World Cup stadia

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With experience of designing five MLS stadiums and numerous soccer venues worldwide, Matt Rossetti speaks on the topic of FIFA World Cup stadiums and their legacy, and analyses if they are worth the investment.


When a country wins the bid to host a FIFA World Cup, it provides a glimpse into the host country’s culture and landscape. This is particularly attractive to developing nations that use the international event to jumpstart economic and infrastructure development, and prove themselves on a world stage.


With the world turning its attention to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the matches were staged in 12 different venues spanning the country.  Eight of these were newly constructed stadiums, and four are remodels of existing stadiums, ranging from 35,000 to 65,000 seats. Brazil is estimated to have spent more than $3.5 billion on construction, development and renovations to these stadiums. It’s unclear how these stadiums will be used after the World Cup.


As a comparison, the Russian government spent $6.7 billion on 14 facilities for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, 12 of which were built at a frantic pace after 2012. Another $16.7 billion was spent on upgrading rails, roads and infrastructure. *


These statistics highlight the growing concern about the enormous spending for facility construction leading up to international events. Only time will tell if these venues are worth the investment. But in as little as six years after the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing’s National Stadium (also referred to as “the Birds Nest”) is considered a white elephant complex. Hailed for its iconic design, the facility only hosted 12 events last year and has lost $44 million since 2010.


Some host countries have tried to mitigate the expense, and potential long-term waste from overbuilt facilities that are under used post event. A number of strategies are used by architects and organizers to create lasting use or “legacy” for these venues.


The most visible and widely reported response is through “overlay”. This simply means expanding seating capacities and amenities of existing or new venues to accommodate a maximum crowd for a limited time period, then reducing the seating capacity post-event. Overlay tactics include:

  • Temporary pop up fields of play that have the ability to incorporate the city or country as a background, such as the volleyball court designed for the 2012 London Olympics at Horse Guards Parade.
  • Modular or prefabricated components, such as additional suites, concessions, toilet rooms and other amenities that are removed after tournament.
  • Additional seats and concourses that allow the stadium to expand upward and then contract.


Permanent, flexible space, such the grass berms at the north end of Stub Hub Center in Carson, CA. At Incheon Football Stadium in Korea, the large plaza at the south end of the bowl can be used for seating, concessions or an Expo when the stadium hosts soccer matches for the Asian Games in September.


The most decisive success factor for a venue is to secure a long-term tenant. Host countries of international events have put little forethought into acquiring long term tenants for large stadiums, leading to inconsistent or non-existent revenue streams post-tournaments.


Major League Soccer (MLS) requires every team to have a long-term stadium contract. This strategy results in stability for the teams, cities and players by automatically guaranteeing revenue from 17 home matches each year. In addition to matches, these venues host pro and minor league practices, exhibition games, soccer academies and special events, which form the base structure for the stadium’s revenue stream.


Even with a long term tenant, most arenas and many stadiums must rely on constant use throughout the year to remain viable. In the U.S., arenas such as the Staples Center, Madison Square Garden and the Palace of Auburn Hills each host more than 150 events a year including concerts, family entertainment and conventions. Several MLS stadiums, such as Rio Tinto and Toyota Park, were designed with accessible staging and storage to allow for fast conversion times from soccer to special events.


Another source of revenue generation is through premium seating, concessions and retail sales. The U.S. model, based on sports fans with shorter attention spans, can be modified for international stadiums where fans traditionally don’t like to leave their seats during soccer matches. For example, at the recently opened Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, ROSSETTI designed club concepts and suites targeted to specific support groups. This not only enhances the fan experience at 30 matches, it increases revenue opportunities.


These stadiums are also scaled to their community’s year-round use, with the largest being Stub Hub Center at 28,000 seats. The U.S. also has the luxury of using its large NFL and collegiate stadiums for international games.


Future host countries can create positive sports legacies by looking past the World Cup or Olympic Games and into a future of sustainable venues that benefit sports and recreation in their countries for decades. This requires many years of planning with all stakeholders to put into place factors for success before venue design and construction begins.




Images & text courtesy Rossetti

Images & text courtesy Rossetti


Matt Rossetti wrote this piece in response to the hype surrounding the FIFA World Cup, with Fields of Green, an online publication partnership between USA Today and USC Sports Business Institute, having dedicated an entire column to World Cup features.