Cape Town Stadium has continued its mission to turn around its financial fortunes by unveiling a new hospitality offering, while Campeonato Brasileiro Série A football team São Paulo is planning a new venture at its stadium where fans will be able to mix with their heroes.

The Business Lounge at Cape Town Stadium is designed to be a shared-space hospitality experience, divided into three distinct offerings. These have been dubbed the “sports fanatics” section, the “business networker” section and the “family of fans” section.

The Lounge provides exclusive access to 2,100 seats located above the halfway line of the pitch, along with a premium hospitality space, preferential parking and dedicated bathroom facilities. With packages priced at between R8,000 (£386/€451/$536) and R15,000 per year, the offering will include Western Province Rugby season tickets.

In November 2019, it was announced that Western Province Rugby would move to Cape Town Stadium in 2021. The City of Cape Town’s Council approved a binding heads of agreement between the city, Cape Town Stadium and Western Province for the team to make the venue its home from February 1, 2021. The deal will potentially span the next 99 years.

Business Lounge members will also have the option of purchasing tickets for other sports and entertainment events at Cape Town Stadium, along with a 20% discount on hiring the facility for private functions.

Lesley de Reuck, CEO of Cape Town Stadium, told the Fin24 website: “We’re looking forward to the post-COVID-19 era when we can bring spectators and concertgoers back into the stadium to enjoy a host of exciting events we’re eagerly waiting to roll out. With this latest offering, we’ve refined our spectator experience to offer something far more spectator-focused in nature. It’s fresh, modern and appealing at the same time.”

In November, logistics giant DHL secured the naming rights to Cape Town Stadium in a four-year deal agreed ahead of the arrival of the Western Province and Stormers teams.

In January 2020, it was revealed that Cape Town Stadium in 2019 cost R79.6m to maintain, with the City of Cape Town doubling its contribution, as authorities stated they were confident that the venue could shed its ‘white elephant’ image thanks to the deal with Western Province Rugby.

The City of Cape Town took on management of the 55,000-capacity facility, developed at a cost of R4.4bn for South Africa’s staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, back in 2018 under the Cape Town Stadium banner.

During the 2018-19 financial year, the City had to subsidise Cape Town Stadium with R55m. This figure increased to R59m during the 2019-20 financial year. Ian Neilson, Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, said the latest figure would likely have been less if it were not for the impact of COVID-19.

The Business Lounge venture, along with the Western Province and DHL deals, has also been accompanied by a project to install a number of executive suites at the stadium. Neilson believes these projects will aid the financial status of the venue.

He added: “We are not satisfied with that level of subsidising and want to get it as low as possible. That is why we made a long-term tenant deal with Western Province Rugby. It is a long-term agreement which will produce money for both parties. In broad numbers and on reasonable assumptions of attendance, the deal could mean about R44m a year for the City.”

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Estádio do Morumbi, the home of São Paulo, is set to feature the Camarote dos Ídolos, or Box of Idols. São Paulo has partnered with Soccer Hospitality for the venture, which will provide a dedicated space for legendary former players to attend games free of charge.

Soccer Hospitality will be responsible for creating Camarote dos Ídolos, with work set to begin next month on the space located in the middle ring of the Morumbi. São Paulo also sees the venture as an extra means of generating revenue, as premium tickets will be made available to fans so they can mix with their heroes in the Camarote dos Ídolos.

São Paulo president Julio Casares said: “The Camarote dos Ídolos and the Atleta Free are projects that are interconnected and that move me. It has always been one of our priorities to have a space where we can receive our idols during games and other events, with all the comfort and hospitality, and give the fans the opportunity to mix with their heroes and also help the club with their contribution. 

“After all, Morumbi is their home, the stage where they shone and dedicated themselves to São Paulo. Having our idols around, being able to revere them and live with them is a great honour for us and a fair achievement for those who wrote their names in the history of São Paulo.”

Image: Cape Town Stadium