THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a move that will ensure year-round international sporting action in the state capital, Kariavattom Sports Facilities Limited (KSFL), operator of the Greenfield International Stadium, Kariavattom here, has tied up with sports marketing and event management giants World Sport Group (WSG).
The Greenfield Stadium, that will be the main attraction of the multi-sports facility named the Sports Hub, is set to host a couple of home matches of Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) season starting October 3.
And the signs are that more international action, including FIFA World Cup Qualifiers later his year and the Indian Premier League in 2016, are ready to follow suit, especially with WSG, that partners the likes of BCCI, Asian Football Confederation, Women’s Tennis Association and Sachin Tendulkar, coming on board.
“The World Sport Group is an experienced player in the field, operating half-a-dozen sports complexes across the globe,” said KSFL director Anilkumar Pandala.
He said that the stadium will continue to be operated by the KSFL and the role of WSG will be to ensure bringing world-class sport events to the stadium and also operating the retail space available at the venue.
“Under the MoU, WSG will ensure 37 days of international and national events at the stadium every year. We will also hold state and local-level sports events, bringing 160 days of sports action annually,” Pandala said.
“WSG will also work on building an image for the Sports Hub across the world by handling our website, brochures and other publicity materials,” he added.
WSG is also a partner in the Singapore Sports Hub in Kallang, Singapore, which is considered the first and largest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) sports infrastructure project in the world.
With the work of the facilities for the basketball, badminton, squash, table tennis and billiards to be completed by October, the KSFL has also roped in a former Indian cricket legend to run a multi-sports academy at the Sports Hub.
The naming rights of the stadium, currently called the Greenfield International Stadium, will be sold, so will the names of different stands of the venue to generate additional income.
The KSFL, a subsidiary of the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), has the right to operate the stadium for 15 years, inclusive of the two-year construction period, before the property is transferred to the Government of Kerala.
Lighting: The floodlights at the stadium meet the standard of those at the iconic Beijing National Stadium, China a.k.a. the Bird’s Nest and is installed by the General Electric, the same company behind the lighting at the 2008 Olympics main venue.
The lights, installed on eight high-masts, can be illuminated variably for international, national and practice matches and enable full-high definition transmission for the broadcasters.
Seating: The 50,000-capacity fully-seated arena has fixed and folding seats ensuring the comfort of the spectators. Also, the stadium is designed such that spectators can view action on the field sitting in any part of the upper and lower bowls.
Playing surface: The stadium uses imported grass for the playing surface. Rather than by sowing the seeds, the grass was planted blade-by-blade in 30-cm deep layer of river sand mixed with soil to ensure longevity and evenness across the field.
Player locker rooms: Separate dressing rooms for football and cricket - that too with most modern facilities, including steam, sauna and ice baths. Rooms for support staff and match officials are also available.
Toilets: The number of toilets has been increased from the original plan submitted by the National Games Secretariat to 384 urinals and 281 washbasins. Out of it, 19 units are disabled access-friendly.
Roofing: The roofing over the galleries is done using tensile fabric which is imported from Germany like at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi. This allows easy draining of the water without ponding or spillage.
Eight-minute evacuation: The safety features of the stadium are also top-notch which enable the evacuation of the full-house stadium in eight minutes through its 18 safety exits. The safety and security features have also been upgraded from the original plan.
Club house: Being built on the lines of a star hotel, the club house will have 40 rooms along with convention centre, restaurant, fitness centre, indoor pool, business centre and conference rooms. Sports facilities at the Sports Hub like an Olympic-size swimming pool, basketball, badminton, table tennis, tennis and squash courts and billiards tables are also coming up here.