The roar of a stadium echoes in our memories as we think back to a pre-Covid-19 world.
We remember lining up at stadium gates. The excitement builds as colourful fans gather to enjoy the wonder that is live sports. Stadiums around the world are now converted to fight a different type of battle. Some are field hospitals, others are Covid-19 test sites. Some help feed and house the homeless. Others are used as morgues. It is not all doom and gloom as South Africa’s cases continue to decrease, and our recovery rate increases.
One stadium is leading the way in bringing back the fans safely. The Imperial Wanderer’s Stadium in Gauteng’s golden triangle of retail in Africa. The building, spectator stands, grass fields, and nets emanate hope and what is waiting around the corner of this pandemic.
The impact of Covid-19 on each element of the sports and entertainment industry has been distressing and unsettling. Sportspersons, venue event staff, television stations, freelance crews: one and all have been affected. We always knew that sports excited and encouraged us, but this sudden pause makes everyone appreciate the peace of mind and feelings of connectedness that sports provide.
A symbiotic relationship is born
“Hermetic Mobility approached the Imperial Wanderers Stadium three-fold. Firstly, to facilitate the safe monitoring of day to day staff and visitors of the Central Gauteng Lions Cricket Union and Imperial Wanderers Stadium on Corlett Drive, Illovo, Johannesburg.
Secondly, to prepare the facility and staff for match day games in a Covid-19 world. Thirdly, Central Gauteng Lions Cricket & Imperial Wanderers is a key client for us, considering the association of local and international cricket.”
“It is a fantastic partnership that Hermetic Mobility is immensely proud of. The exposure for the brand is huge. We appreciate being associated with such a credible name in the cricket world,” comments Danny Cinti, Managing Director of Hermetic Mobility Africa.
Hermetic Mobility’s aim is to illustrate to other sporting facilities in South Africa as well as around the world, that a Covid-19 solution exists. A solution for the safe spectating of sport in stadiums with the prevalence of Covid-19 around us.
The containers also reduce the legal liability a business may encounter by having such a robust countermeasure in place. Hermetic Mobility exists to assist sporting facilities, entertainment venues and businesses get back to a new normal as quickly as possible. Reducing risk for patrons and maximising revenue.
Imperial Wanderers Stadium and Covid-19
Jono Leaf-Wright, Chief Executive Officer Central Gauteng and Imperial Lions took over the role in October 2019. With big plans and dreams to turn the Imperial Wanderers Stadium from a seasonal excursion into a destination enjoyed all year round by families and sports fans alike.
“We have already begun embarking on a journey of a complete stadium redesign. Gearing ourselves up to be able to host and sweat the asset through other non-cricket related events and functions.”
The Imperial Wanderers stadium has worked hard towards anchoring tenants in the suites to utilise these as office spaces. The offices are converted for match days. Allowing tenants to use the suites to host their clients.
The stadium now includes a co-working space in the media centre with high speed Wi-Fi. We have a sports shop, varying food and beverage options, and a world-class medical centre. We want the world to know that the lights are always on at The Wanderers and it is a great destination for your office, next event, or corporate function.”
“Non-cricket related business was up by 30% before Covid-19 hit our stadium and the rest of the world. A blessing for us was that the lockdown happened out of the cricket season for us. This protected our players, the sponsors, and the game at large within our great Province.”Jono Leaf-Wright
Wanderers can’t wait to welcome fans
Some non-cricket related events startup from the end of September. Cricket is scheduled to start from the first Monday in November.
The safety of our staff and tenants is of paramount importance and for this reason we partnered up with Hermetic Mobility.
The experience with Hermetic Mobility has been great, completely professional. Within 7 days we had the medical-grade steel screening container for the stadium at the main entrance. The screening facility can process 12 people per minute, safely and accurately, while recording attendance per government regulations.
Imperial Wanderers Stadium has 180 suites or potential offices. A medical centre, sports shop, and plans to run the stadium into a lifestyle complex. They are currently in discussions with several restaurant groups and a school group. Alongside other retail partners who are excited at the opportunities that exist within this iconic destination. There is even consideration of having serviced residential suites on site.
Boardrooms are kitted for Covid-19 with protection screening, sanitisation stations, and gaps between seats encouraging social distancing. We want people to use the stadium and all of its facilities.
As an early adopter investing in the future of events during the pandemic, what advice or recommendations do you have to fellow stadium or sports event owners?
“This is a new normal. It is up to all of us as sports leaders to curate a normal that works from a revenue point of view and a safety point of view. There is a different consumer now. We believe by following the correct protocols and guidance we will attract the fans and the visitors back to our iconic, world-class stadium.
Innovation will lead us through these times, and we are paying attention to Esports and other trends within the industry that were igniting before Covid-19 hit.”Jono Leaf-Wright
The Imperial Wanderers Stadium is perfectly situated as a lifestyle stadium. Situated in the golden triangle of Sandton, Rosebank, and Melrose Arch. ‘DREAM BIG’ is Jono’s terminology to his board and staff members. He is making sure they are leading the way in the space by dreaming big.
“We believe the South African fan will always want that connection, that emotion that ties them to the sport. In our opinion investing in infrastructure to prepare for the new world is imperative. We need to bring back the essence of our DNA as humans. To connect and have fun with family and friends.”Jono Leaf-Wright
Health and safety considerations in South Africa
Integral to a successful stadium-hosted sports event is having controls in place to ensure the health and safety of all those at the stadium. This duty to ensure a safe environment extends to supporters, players, officials, security personnel, and all other persons managing the stadium. The Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act 2 of 2010 (SSRE Act) is the primary piece of legislation regulating stadium-hosted sporting events in South Africa.
Stadium management has a duty to ensure the general safety of other persons who are not in their direct employ. Imperial Wanderers Stadium has taken great care in ensuring all professional athletes are tested every two weeks. A dedicated Covid-19 Stadium Compliance Officer is on-site and employed to ensure the safe running of the complex. The Hermetic Mobility Screening Suite will screen all employees, tenants, and visitors to the stadium. This is a huge step towards getting the fans and daily visitors back to the stadium, perhaps for something other than the gentleman’s game.
A partnership of Hermetic Mobility, Central Gauteng Lions Cricket, and Imperial Wanderers sets the example.
Download the Hermetic Brochure for more information here.
Author : Lauren Jane Kemp