All for the spectacle

The recently finished Singapore Sports Hub is proof that developed markets in Asia Pacific have the appetite to undertake and deliver complex, large venue projects. Hurrairah bin Sohail examines what is required from AV professionals for a modern stadium.

Asia loves its sports. From India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who are cricket crazy, South East Asia, Japan and Korea who follow football and Oceania where rugby is popular; each individual region of Asia has its sport of choice. Not to mention that other unique games are enjoyed regionally to boot. These sporting spectacles require the proper venues where they can be showcased, watched, broadcasted and enjoyed which is where stadiums come in to the picture.

However stadiums are not built every day. Peter Hunt, chief executive officer at Hewshott, gives some insight into how stadiums: “Stadiums are built for the long run and their construction is usually triggered by special events, like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or the World Cup. These are the kind of events that trigger the demand for stadiums.”

With Tokyo, Japan hosting the 2020 Olympics Asia will be able to boast of new stadiums sooner rather than later. As can be expected stadium projects attract a lot of attention from architects, integrators and consultants. Venues such as Wembley in London, England and the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, China have become a part of the fabric of their respective cities. For any who work on a stadium, the project gives them a chance to leave their stamp on a geographical region. Most buildings that are constructed today are built for the medium term and have an approximate life span on 25 years. Stadiums however are built with a life span of up to 50 years and hence they are designed to be a more permanent fixture of the city.

This permanence as well as the heavy investment required is the main factors that guide the design and implementation of a stadium. Hunt says: “Because stadiums are supposed to last for a long time, there needs to be a sustainable use for these stadiums over the long run. A lot of research has to be done to determine really what the purpose of a stadium is. Stadiums these days are multi-purpose venues, they are not just for sporting events. They are hosting conferences, they are hosting concerts, they have to be multi-faceted. They also have to be full. If they are not full, they become the white elephant in the room quite quickly.”

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