Race to 'first' in football stadium: Megaworld beats Ayala
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Real estate giant Megaworld Corp. has joined the football fever.
On February 7, it unveiled in McKinley Hill the Emperador Stadium, which Megaworld dubbed the Philippines' first world-class competition-ready football stadium.
This means the Andrew Tan-led firm beat rival Ayala Land Inc. to the draw in the race to offer world-class and commercial football facilities meant to place the Philippines on the international football map.
In January 11, Ayala Land announced it will open a football stadium in its upcoming Circuit Makati at the former Sta. Ana race track only by the 4th quarter of 2013.
Stark differences mark the two, however.
Ayala's Circuit will feature FIFA-sized football turf on a 2-hectare open-air events ground, which can accommodate up to 20,000 people.
Megaworld's 15,000-square meter Emperador Stadium in Taguig City, on the other hand, can currently seat 2,000 people, and can be expanded to another seat additional 5,000 with the expansion plans underway.
Emperador stadium is the new home of the country's fledgling semi-professional football league (UFL). All of the matches will be played there following a 4-year, "priority usage" partnership between UFL and Megaworld.
The first match played in the stadium was held last Saturday, February 7, between Nomads SC and Philippine Air Force FC after Cebu Queen City did not show up for their 4 p.m. match against Dolphins.
The Emperador stadium is an all-weather artificial pitch unlike the natural grass of the state-owned Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila City where previous games and fixtures of the local league have been delayed or cancelled due to poor pitch conditions. The opening of the Tan-led football stadium aims to solve this problem.
Both cited strategic reasons for putting their money into this football craze.
"We've seen how the Philippines has made football as one of the most anticipated sporting events in recent years. That's why we saw the need to build this kind of sporting venue that will answer the needs, in terms of amenities and facilities, of even the most demanding athletes here and abroad," Megaworld's first vice President for Business Development and Leasing Group Jericho Go said in the statement.
"Of course, we want fans to have a more enhanced experience while watching their football heroes up close and perhaps, personal," he added.
Ayala Land Vice president for Strategic Landbank Management Group Meean Dy explained the target market of the sport is the reason behind the investment.
“We chose football because it is reflective of the type of market we’re trying to attract: the younger, family oriented generation,” Dy had explained.
McKinley Hill arena
"With the Emperador Stadium, we take pride on being the first company to build a world-class football field in the country. We opted for trusted international brands, so our facilities can be at par with the other known football fields around the globe," Go said.
Megaworld said Emperador Stadium stadium uses the Max S 60 mm variety of the renowned Italian brand Limonta Sport, one of the few turf providers certified by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
Limonta company is also the supplier of the turf systems of the AC Milan, Valencia FC, and the famous floating marina field in Singapore.
Belgian brand Schreder Group GIE and the French Zenith Luminaires supplied the stadium lights while the Bradwell Group supplied the poles for the lights manufactured in Turkey. Megaworld's own Design Alliance group provided the field design and core facilities.
Part of the expansion plans are locker rooms, a dugout, and shower room facilities are also among the convenient facilities at the stadium for the athletes and fans.
McKinley Hill is a signature township development of Megaworld. The company is currently the largest real estate developer in the Philippines.
It is home to top BPO companies such as Accenture and HP, international educational institutions like Chinese International School and Enderun, luxury condominiums and foreign embassies of UK, UAE, South Korea and Qatar. - with reports from Lean Santos/Rappler.com