The management of FNB Stadium looks to pack the calabash-shaped arena with events, banquets, functions and site tours to ease their financial distress after two years of running at a loss.
The stadium, known as Soccer City, has been largely unused but after President Cyril Ramaphosa lifted Covid-19 restrictions that will see events and fans returning albeit at 50% capacity, Stadium Management SA (SMSA), which runs the facility, is looking at other revenue opportunities to keep it afloat.
“We will promote new revenue streams and focus on stadium tours, conferences, sporting events, turn stadiums into multi-purpose event venues and hold banquets, functions, year-end functions. One needs to think out of the box now,” said SMSA managing director Bertie Grobbelaar.
He said they are looking forward to hosting the Justice World Tour at FNB Stadium in October, which will see US popstar Justin Bieber return to Soccer City for the first time since 2013 when robbers made off with millions of rand after his performance.
“We are engaging all event organisers. We have the Justin Bieber concert in October, the Soweto Marathon and 947 cycle race. The announcement [new regulations] was on Monday. Since Tuesday, we are running around to exploit the opportunity we have now.”
SMSA also manages Orlando Stadium, Dobsonville Stadium and Rand Stadium.
Prior to the spectator ban, Grobbelaar said their stadiums were scheduled to host events such as Premier Soccer League games, Easter Weekend gatherings, international music concerts and the national prayer day.
“The taps were closed. No income was generated. We will never in my lifetime as CEO recover what we have lost. The aim is to start rebuilding from scratch. We are proud that we are alive and the business is not sequestrated. We managed to retain our staff and start our business afresh,” said Grobbelaar.
He said SMSA paid R32m to maintain their four grounds while they struggled for income due to the restrictions on crowds over the past two years.
He said the financial assistance they received from the First National Bank and their suite owners helped them to cover costs.