As tweeted earlier today, Ajax Cape Town and the City of Cape Town have signed a 3 year contract for the Urban Warriors to use Cape Town stadium (currently operated by the City) as their home base. The 3 year deal will allow both the City and Ajax Cape Town to plan over the next 3 years creating value and potential synergies, as non-football events grow in number. For Ajax, a 3 year term provides an opportunity for a focused marketing and branding effort based around an iconic and non-nomadic home venue, fan walk and setting in general. The City benefits from the positive exposure of the use of the venue, experience in hosting regular events and from the good sentiment for bringing football back to the venue.The refined pricing structure, which was previously based on 3 capacities/levels, has now been increased to 5 capacities. This ranges from 7,000 to 40,000 and allows for a more tailored use of the venue, contingent on the estimated demand for match.
This is not a deal from which either party will make endless profits, but is geared towards a value proposition based on; the regular use of the venue and experience gained by both parties, which in my view, is more imperative than an idle venue hosting the occasional concert and operating on “profit-only” principles.
With this sort of approach, consideration must be given to other events, e.g. fun runs and walks, which may use the stadium e.g. on a Sunday for a race start or finish, without any exorbitant costs for simply opening the giant stadium gates.
With the correct zoning of the stadium looming, the evolution of Cape Town Stadium, as an iconic venue, part and parcel of public life, takes a step forward. We look forward to retail outlets spilling out onto Fritz Sonnenberg road, new restaurants inside the venue overlooking the surrounds, a potential sports museum and other mixed-use spaces; for which the space already exists and for which the venue was designed. Imagine the CTICC having exhibition halls but due to incorrect zoning, not being able to host exhibitions and events.
The business model analyst tender will soon be awarded, to a team that will be tasked with formulating a long term business model for Cape Town Stadium in the context of the surrounding urban park, sports facilities, Fan Walk, zoning constraints and broader city events strategy. This will allow us to move away from the current resident or ratepayer led opinion dictacting on issues like zoning and lighting, to one based on evidence and global best practice in venue operation. The correct zoning of the stadium alone is likely to generate millions of rands in rental revenues from the leasing of space to a variety of tenants including both retail and commercial sectors. This is simply the norm for other venues across the world and in South Africa, and promotes a positive and viable public space realm.
As Capetonians we look for to welcoming Ajax Cape Town to our glorious architectural marvel. Let’s paint the town RED!