All about the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

It seems like ages ago that 2010 Soccer World Cup fever broke and everyone was hot with the anticipation of international tourists arriving on South Africa’s shores to the tune of noisy vuvuzelas. World-class football took over the whole country for a month, although the build-up to the international event took more than two years to rise up to a massive crescendo when 11 June 2010 rolled around.

There were 10 stadiums around the country that were used for the World Cup, many of which were upgraded specifically for the event, and some of which were built from scratch. One of these was the illustrious Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth – the friendly, windy city’s Sunflower Stadium. Needless to say that as soon as the news of the new stadium went around, everyone wanted to book accommodation in Port Elizabeth that was close to the World Cup venue.

These are the facts about the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium:

  • Near the heart of the city of Port Elizabeth, the stadium overlooks North End Lake.
  • 40 m high, with a 100 m x 70 m pitch and a seating capacity of just under 50 000 people.
  • Originally estimated to cost R895 million to build, total costs spiralled and the stadium ended up costing just over R2 billion.
  • The construction of the stadium created almost 7 000 jobs.
  • The position of the stadium has created large-scale urban renewal for the area and its infrastructure. The residential and commercial properties surrounding the stadium have also benefited from the stadium’s presence, and will continue to do so as the region gains value from the use of the stadium.
  • The roof of the stadium has a very unique design, made up of a structure of aluminium cladding and a polytetraflurethylene membrane. The roof itself resembles an oval of petals, which is why the stadium is informally referred to as “Sunflower Stadium”.
  • The one demographic that benefited hugely from the building of the stadium was the local building industry – it’s not every day that such large, fast-tracked projects are required to be built in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan.
  • Local experts as well as local suppliers were called in to assist with the stadium and they got to benefit from the skills transfer with international field experts in the building industry.
  • There are several BRT routes to and from the stadium, connecting with other important landmarks and destinations in and around Port Elizabeth.
  • During the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium accommodated eight soccer matches, from Group B all the way through to the quarter finals, and the third and fourth place play-offs.
  • The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations will also require the use of the stadium for eight matches.