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In INR 536 Cr we have developed a panacea for sport and entertainment events- Udit Sheth, TransStadia

MD and CEO at TransStadia, Udit Sheth's vision to build a multi-use facility in the country that was able to house various sports and events came to fruition with the launch of The Arena by TransStadia. Christened on 7th October 2016 in Kankaria in Ahmedabad with Kabaddi World Cup 2016, TransStadia's long term objective comes with a belief that India can emerge amongst the global frontrunners in sports. Excerpts of our conversation with Udit Sheth:

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Q. What is the vision behind building The Arena?
The idea was to contribute to the sports sector with something that can bring fans to the stadium. The idea was to ensure that when the stadium is not used for sport, multiple revenue sources are created through modular and convertible technologies that will allow stadium utilization to jump from an existing 2% per annum to over 70% per annum. For this the promoters have tied up with StadiArena UK and have additionally introduced the T - Box technology as well. With this arena we want to place India amongst global front-runners in the sports arena sector. The Arena is steadfast in our vision of fructifying of sports for all where revenue from other streams can go into sports development. For athletes to come play in an arena of global standard and infrastructure right in our backyard whilst harnessing the potential of young Indian sports stars.

Q. What are the facilities it has to offer?
The Arena by TransStadia overlooks the picturesque Kankaria Lake in Maninagar, Ahmedabad, and offers a number of facilities for sports and non-sports activities. It has facilities for 16 sports; including a FIFA-standard football turf, a sports-science testing facility and other areas for training, recreation and competitions. The Arena also incorporates the patented T-Box technology that allows modular and retractable seating systems. The Arena also features the patented ‘StadiArena’, which converts a section of the stadium into an indoor arena. This area can then be utilized for different sports, exhibitions, social events, conventions, and corporate events. The Arena also houses a members-only Sports based club. So one can say that the arena is a multi-use development, with sports, leisure, and wellness all under one roof.

Q. What is the kind of expenditure that went behind the construction and infrastructure?
A total project cost of INR 536 crore. With a D: E ratio of 2:1. The hotel, which is a part of phase 2 will come up at an additional cost of INR 82 crore.

Q. What are the specific dimensions of The Arena? What is the magnitude of crowd it can host?
The Arena has a built-up area of 13.72 lac sq. in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and has a seating capacity of 20,000 in the Football Stadium. It can also host a music concert of about 40,000 spectators in a secured environment, and an indoor convertible arena with a capacity of 4500 pax. It has been built on 9.14 acres of land.

Q. What are the kinds of events that The Arena is particularly made for?
The Arena serves as a panacea for sport, entertainment and leisure. We wanted to focus on sports, but also provide other facilities to ensure high utilization. So on non-match days it can host a number of events across industries like Wellness, Leisure, Hospitality, Education, Retail, and more. It’s a world class MICE facility.

Q. What about smaller events? Do you let out parts of the venue?
We do let out facilities of the venue, to cater to smaller events that are as small as for 50 people. We also have a 40,000 sq. ft. pillar-less, air-conditioned, indoor arena, stylish banquet halls, and a football stadium with Turf protector, which are equipped to handle exhibitions, conferences, conventions, weddings, etc. So at any given time we can host up to 6 events simultaneously.

Q. How has been the support from the authorities in setting up the facility?
We’ve received immense support from the authorities in Gujarat, who supported us to ensure the project was completed as envisaged. A new policy framework was initiated to allow the success of this mega-project.

Q. What are your plans for similar initiatives in other cities?
We are focusing on taking our model to other cities in the country, across more than 12 locations.

Q. How was the experience of holding the first Kabaddi World Cup? What are the challenges that you faced?
Hosting the Kabaddi World Cup at The Arena was a thrilling and learning experience. It was an opening evening with a world-class broadcaster from whom we learned many best practices. Everything has been learned and manualized. There were many teething issues but we ensured we worked through them. The entire team came together to focus on infrastructure, hospitality, security and more. At the end the fans and athletes were at the center of our attention.

Q. How do you feel the initiative may help to improve and sustain the sports situation in India?
Viable sports infrastructure can become the quiet backbone of the industry. It can support the development of many leagues, and also become a hub for training and education in sport. This kind of a project also brings communities together and therefore fan engagement in sport can be improved tremendously. India can have 20 - 30 similar planned projects over the next decade. It will be good for this sunrise sector of sport.


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