EVERY sports fan is delighted and hopefully waiting to see the proposed ultra-modern stadium in Tanzanian Capital, Dodoma, changing the city’s sporting status and generating social and economic benefits. The arrival of the modern stadium complex to be funded by Moroccan King Mohammed VI, coincides with government’s push for massive transfer of people and services from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.
With a population of 410,956 (2012 census), the sports arena might look too big for the half a million inhabitants, something we feel the residents and the authorities need to plan well to make it serve its purposes or else it might look a white elephant.
As the multibillion investment coming in the era of economical and social changes, the arena being an outdoor facility for sporting events must look for better ways to fill the space and generate additional revenue.
With advancements in home-viewing sports, venues need to create value in the in-person experience that fans can’t get at home. Arenas and stadiums are creating unique lounge spaces with multiple opportunities for engaging experiences, new food options, and entertainment within and around the arena or stadium.
In order for arenas and stadium to generate more revenue, they must operate even when there are no sporting events. It can be done on a very simple scale of opening a venue for rental and for events such as weddings or corporate parties or offering luxury seats or VIP options.
From what we have seen in other venues, another option we suggest is to add variable unique hospitality offerings that give fans the freedom to choose how to interact with the event.
As President John Magufuli revealed when meeting the Moroccan envoys, there will be ring roads around the ultra-modern arena and it will also be close to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), network.
The complex must sit on spacious area and include housing, office spaces, retail shops, hotels and other important services.
Gone are the days of stadiums and arenas being single-purpose, open-seated spaces. Stadiums are becoming more technologically advanced and receptive to the population growth in urban areas and are adapting accordingly to the changes. In any place where there is an increase in population, the number of entertainment businesses and venues will also increase.
Dodoma residents, sports and entertainment bodies must get themselves ready for the arrival of the new arena and see how the best to exploit opportunities coming with it.