In less that two years the NMB Stadium is on a path to sustainability under the care of the MBDA
The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) was formed in 2004 with its initial objective being the urban regeneration of the Central Business District (CBD) of Port Elizabeth. The Agency commenced with its work through the development of an Inner-city Local Spatial Development Framework Plan (LSDF) in 2006. During this period, the company evolved from an inner-city Mandate Area focus, extending to other emerging and developing nodes and precincts which now includes New Brighton, Helenvale, Happy Valley, Bayworld and Schauderville and Korsten.
Since inception the Agency has achieved unqualified audit outcomes from the Auditor General of South Africa indicating sound financial and corporate governance practices. The Agency has been one of a handful of entities in Eastern Cape to achieve three successive clean audit outcomes in a very highly regulated municipal finance environment. This success coupled with visible change in Nelson Mandela Bay due to the investments made by the Agency as an entity of the City led to a resolution by Council in 2016 that the Agency takes over the management of the City's most valuable asset, the Nelson Mandela Bay Multi-Purpose Stadium.
Initially the Stadium was operated by a private sector service provider, costing the City many millions in operating fees. Fast forward to November 2018, nearly two years since the MBDA took over, the NMB Stadium is gradually lessening its burding on the rate payers of the Bay and strategically recruiting and securing prized sporting and non-sporting events.
From the start, the NMB stadium was built as a multipurpose facility so that it would not only depend on sporting events. The management team of the NMB Stadium has been aggressive and determined in their approach to attracting a diverse package of events, bucking the trend where most South Africa's stadiums rely heavily on major sporting events.
To date, over 2.6 million in foot traffic has been recorded at the stadium, visitors being attracted by events such as the International Sevens Tournament, the Colour Run, Super Rugby Franchise matches, Premier Soccer League fixtures, Mountain Bike Challenge and recently, the Castle Larger Rugby Championship between the Springboks and Wallabies. This was the Springboks sixth test match played at this facility and they maintained their undefeated streak in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Hosting international sporting fixtures has solidified the stadium's capability of hosting at an international standard. The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium's facilities are world class and provide clients (from players to supporters to corporates to private clients) an experience they would gladly want to repeat to. The stadium prides itself as an elite management company which caters to specific needs of its diversified stakeholders.
International Expo headed to the NMB Stadium
The Stadium team continues to ensure that the city's most important real estate asset and iconic architectural landmark is delivering real returns for the metro, ratepayers and community. From Wednesday the 7th the NMB Stadium will host the first ever African Advanced Manufacturing and Composite Show in Africa. This event will feaure a display of robotics, Industry 4.0 seminars, the latest in cutting-edge manufacturing technology with industry leaders expected to discuss the strategies to revive the sector in South Africa's. The event which is hosted by the MBDA in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Composites Cluster will also host National Awards for Innovation presented by the Department of Trade and Industry, which takes place on Wednesday evening at the Tramways building.
NMB Stadium to host the lucrative Telkom Knockout Cup Final
Following the Premier Soccer League's announcement, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will host the Telkom Knockout Cup Final on 8 December. This will be the third time that a Premier Soccer League domestic cup final will be staged at the venue since 2015. The facility will also host a flagship music event, the 6th Ebubeleni Music Festival where spectators will be treated to an electrifying experience with 12 hours of non-stop entertainment from popular music entertainers. An excess of 20 000 spectators is expected.
As the caretaker of the facility, the MBDA is working tirelessly to ensure that the stadium moves toward break-even and hosts events that appeal to wide audiences. In 2017 the team achieved a significant expenditure reduction in the annual operational costs.
NMB Stadium to set up Green Hub (recycling centre)
Innovation and community development are always at the top of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium's agenda. As part of the stadium's continuing efforts to improve its environmental management commitment, it recently launched the Green Hub initiative, in partnership with The Waste Trade Company. This initiative aims to engage and empower the community about suitable environmental practices through the conservation of resources.
Rehabilitation of North End Lake
With major plans to rehabilitate the North End Lake about to begin, the stadium team is moving towards expanding the stadium's impact and promoting its multi-purpose status. This will prove that the operators can deliver beyond the borders of the stadium and include water sports, which could result in an influx of additional niche sporting events.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is almost ten years old and is currently aiming to enhance the stakeholder experience through technological and product innovations which will become game-changing - introducing high-tech amenities. Maintenance is ongoing, and the team continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the facility remains viable. To guarantee the safety and security of all stakeholders the stadium team has recently introduced state of the art iIT security. The next item on the agenda for replacement will be the large outdoor broadcast monitoring screens, which will ensure high definition viewing for spectators.
Path to success
The MBDA's mandate is to reduce the burden on rate payers and diversify income streams in order to place the stadium on a path to sustainability. The Agency is already making huge strides with several new innovations such as the creation of a Sports Museum, off-grid power initiatives and water-saving initiatives.
Stadia across the world have implemented various forms of museums to celebrate sport and the host city's heritage as means to keep foot traffic high and generating a steady income stream. This initiative which is due for completion by June 2019 will offer great opportunities to local traders and entrepreneurs to provide unique local artworks, merchandise and crafts that are made in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Taking the NMB Stadium off the power and water grid and having it contribute to the system is one of the major long-term goals set for the stadium management team. The MBDA believes that this is possible given the abundant sunshine hours, wind, proximity to the lake and the ocean. The memorandum of understanding signed between the Nelson Mandela University and the MBDA is one mechanism aimed at leveraging local knowledge, technical expertise and research to look at feasible and cost-effective ways to bring this idea to reality.
As we look to the future, we ask all our stakehoders to work with us to ensure that this facility maintains its status and performs its role as a critical center-point for economic development, community building, social cohesion, sports development and as a magnet for major events in the Bay. With an imaginative team, good corporate governance, sound financial management and compliance systems, the NMB stadium is on a path to sustainability.
Ashraf AdamChief Executive Officer