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Turf protection and fit-out items for the Stadium, Auditorium and General Entertainment are the markets in which Jayline Australia excels worldwide.

Terraplas plc Recent Awards for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Venues

The sustainability of the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums in South Africa has been much debated in recent years, however with Terraplas floor covering systems currently being used at four of the host venues, it seems that the fear of white elephants is no longer warranted.

For a country blessed with stunning weather most of the year, the possibility of using the stadium bowl for more than just soccer and rugby matches is a revenuegenerating opportunity not to be ignored.

Stadium Managers of the various host venues that were used during the 2010 FIFA World Cup have, therefore, been lobbying hard to attract political and religious parties as well as artists and performers to book their particular venue for hosting an event. In the end, the number of rugby and soccer clubs and national teams that would be able to generate a capacity crowd is limited in a country where the commercialisation of sports is still in its infancy.

“We don’t receive any money from the City of Johannesburg to run Soccer City stadium. It is our responsibility to operate and maintain the stadium,” advised Barry Pollen of Stadium Management South Africa Company in Johannesburg. The company operates Soccer City stadium as well as the Orlando, Dobsonville, and Rand stadiums.

Securing Sustainability

Pollen and his team have therefore been pushing hard to make Soccer City and the other three venues sustainable. While anchor tenants have been secured for the Orlando, Dobsonville, and Rand stadiums, Soccer City relies on hosting events.

“Our business plan is based on approximately 30 events a year ranging from soccer and rugby matches to concerts,” Pollen outlined. Thus far, the stadium has mainly been used for sports events. But in February 2011, Soccer City will host the Neil Diamond concert. For events like this, Stadium Management has bought the Terraplas field covering system, a procurement that was announced just prior to the 2009 Soccerex event.

“We have bought 9,000sqm of Terraflor to cover the field and 1,000sqm of Terratrak that is used for those areas where trucks will demand a covering system that can handle the heavier weight.” According to Pollen the decision to go for the Terraplas system was an easy call. “In 1988, I was working at Wembley Stadium in London when they bought a Terraplas system to protect their pitch. It is a proven system that is very durable, something we aimed for when we decided to purchase a system for Soccer City stadium.”

Allowing for Flexibility

Another reason why Stadium Management chose a Terraplas system is its ease of use and flexibility. As the four stadiums that are operated by Stadium Management are spread over the southern part of Johannesburg, the Terraplas system is transported every so often to a different venue, depending on the type of event. But Pollen also looks beyond his own facilities to generate revenue through the system.

“We try to utilise our assets to the maximum. We hire out the giant video wall as well as the floor covering system we have,” he commented, while pointing out that the system is easy to transport. “We were even approached earlier this year to hire out the system for an event at an indoor venue. But we are also looking at golf clubs in South Africa. During the recent Ryder Golf Cup in Europe the weather was atrocious, and great use was made of Terraflor. If something similar happens here in South Africa the tiles would make a perfect walkway.”

With 99% of all National Stadiums around the world using Terraplas, the decision by Soccer Stadium was obvious. However, the covering system has also been adopted by a much smaller and less dominant venue in South Africa, namely the multi-purpose Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, where the Terraplas system is expected to play an important role in securing the stadium’s sustainability.

“Interest in holding functions at the stadium has not waned in this region even after the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said Buli Ngomane, Marketing Communication Manager at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. “We are still the ‘it’ venue. Another advantage for us in this area is that the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is the only facility of its kind with its capacity and technology, so we are not competing with another more established sports venue.”

According to Ngomane, the stadium will continue to be busy for the remainder of the year. “We have a few medium-size trade shows lined up as well as festivals,” she confirmed.

The venue will host rugby matches from January to April and will soon announce an international artist who will perform in April. “We are thrilled to be making preparations for the use of our pitch as a venue and have acquired the pitch cover that will make a multitude of events, like car shows and concerts, possible inside the stadium bowl.”

According to Managing Director, Rian Oberholzer, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will need to generate R19 million to be self sufficient. The possibility of using the pitch for non-sports events is therefore vital to generate these funds. “The bulk of the money to be raised will come from partnerships that the stadium initiates and the remainder from sporting and other events. Our target is to bring 30 events, of a high standard, to the stadium per year.”

Helping to Attract International Artists

Cape Town Stadium is the latest venue that has decided to purchase a Terraplas covering system. Strategically positioned in the Greenpoint precinct, the venue is close to the popular V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, and Table Mountain tourist attractions. Like Soccer City and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Cape Town Stadium, in the Mother City, aims to become a multi-purpose venue and preferably one that will see international artists perform regularly in an attempt to make the city become a holiday destination of choice.

“Cape Town Stadium intends to organise all sorts of non-sporting events, ranging from concerts to council-related events or school activities,” pointed out Francois van Niekerk of the City of Cape Town. “We selected the Terraplas system as it complied with the basic requirements we put in the tender; tiles of an easy to handle size, capable of taking a certain load, and allowing for light and air filtering through to the grass.”

The selected system from Terraplas should allow the City to cover the field for up to six days. “We don’t foresee a problem with that and, when necessary, we will ensure there will be sufficient time for the grass to recuperate.”

In early October 2010 it was announced that the City will take over the management of the stadium as of January 1, 2011. Van Niekerk doesn’t foresee the change in management and staff during the process as a problem. “It is likely that the City will have to procure the assistance of a service provider to deal with the assembling and dismantling of the covering system when this is required. But Terraplas is a fairly simple system, which has been well-documented. I don’t foresee this causing a problem when it is handled by people who are not familiar with it.”

Worldwide Acceptance

The quality of the pitch covering system is a blessing for events and tour promoters. “We normally have a clause in the agreement with the stadium management that states the venue is responsible for providing pitch protection,” said John Langford of Big Concerts in South Africa. “The protection of the pitch is something that we demand when we want to host an event at a particular stadium. The cover should be able to handle the human and mechanical traffic. The latter is important as this determines the design of the stage.”

According to Langford, today’s systems allow for covering a pitch for a reasonable time, sufficient for the organisers to build up, host and breakdown anything required for their show. “Our producers are familiar with the requirements so everything goes quickly and smoothly.”

Robert Else, the owner of Terraplas plc, of which Terraplas South Africa (Pty) Ltd is a subsidiary and responsible for sales and support in South Africa, is proud of the fact that his products will contribute to the sustainability of no less than four FIFA 2010 World Cup venues. ”We were awarded each contract after a competitive tendering process where eventually the decision was based on quality over price,” he said.

According to Else, the fact that 99% of national stadiums worldwide have chosen a Terraplas system is a clear indication of the confidence stadium managers have in the company’s range of products. “Our original Wembley system is over 20 years old but it is still being hired out,” Else confirmed.

With the old Wembley Stadium replaced by a new and much more multi-functional facility several years ago, the original Terraplas system outlived the iconic venue.

“After a stringent evaluation and tender process, and in view of the success of the original Wembley Terraplas system, the new venue operators had no difficulty in making the decision to purchase a latestgeneration Terraplas system for the vibrant new stadium,” commented Else.

“Every stadium needs a field covering system, as using a venue for sports only will simply mean that the venue is not financially viable. What is important is that the decision about which cover system to purchase should be discussed as early as possible in the process of designing the venue, and costs put into the budget,” outlined Else.

Much of the success of Terraplas systems lie in their patented methodology of providing air and light to natural grass ensuring healthy turf, even when covered for a number of days. “As the Terraplas covering concept is protected by patents and a number of design registrations, it is impossible for other suppliers to get anywhere near our performance with a different solution,” Else explained. “As part of our company ethos for providing exceptional customer care, we supervise the first fitting and lifting of the system, incorporating extensive training in its successful use, as well as the cleaning of the tiles, so that everyone involved is confident in handling the system in the future,” he continued.

Else and his marketing team will soon fly out to Brazil to help contribute to the sustainability of another new group of venues for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympics.