A poster at the venue of the Kabaddi World Cup 2016, in Ahmedabad, reportedly, said, “A Made in India arena to open with a Made in India sport.” Nothing sums up the uniqueness of 'The Arena'—India's first convertible stadium—better.
Built by TransStadia on a unique public private partnership (PPP) model, the stadium cost Rs 550 crore. The Arena project is inspired from other sports complexes across the world like the Wembley Stadium in the UK (which hosted football matches during the 2012 London Olympics), Tokyo Dome in Japan and Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands.
Udit Sheth, founder and managing director of TransStadia, had approached many chief ministers with his idea of a convertible stadium, but it materialised in Gujarat under the watch of then chief minister Narendra Modi. The signing of the MoU was announced at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit 2009.
While similar projects are expected to come up in Bengaluru, Jaipur and Amravati, here's a look at some interesting features of The Arena:
- It is spread over nine acres and is built on a defunct Abad Dairy property in Maninagar, Ahmedabad. The land has been given on a 35-year lease to TransStadia, which will contribute at least two per cent of their revenue to the development of sports in the state.
- A section of the outdoor stadium can be converted into an indoor arena within six minutes, using Swiss T-Box technology—portable seating system.
- It has a FIFA-standard football turf with a seating capacity of 20,000, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts and swimming pool, among others. Cricket, though, does not find a place here.
- Apart from having a members-only club and a sports academy, The Arena is disabled-friendly, environment-friendly and will have rehab centres and hospitality boxes.
- A four-star hotel will come up soon, as will retail outlets.