Of the expected 300000 visitors coming to SA for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, about 80% were expected to visit Cape Town, the city’s 2010 co-ordinator, Mike Marsden, said yesterday.

Marsden was briefing the provincial standing committee on 2010 and said the soccer extravaganza provided an opportunity for major investment in the city, which had already seen R8,6bn from the government and related transport infrastructure development flowing in .

Related spend from the private sector on such as hotels, other infrastructure and upgrading of facilities had not yet been determined. This could run into many more billions of rands.

Laurine Platzky, who heads the province’s 2010 planning committee, said Fifa’ s decision to use Cape Town as the base for its corporate sector was a “huge opportunity” for the city and province to position themselves as a more serious business destination.

She said discussions had started on how to maximise the corporate spend and corporate exposure presented by Fifa and its partners and guests based in the city.

Marsden said the city has already spent more than R1,9bn on the stadium at Green Point and the total budget for its completion now stood at R4,5bn.

The city faced a deficit of R528m but it had put into place a plan to meet this deficit.

Among plans for wiping out the deficit was the city’s “fall-back” position on a guaranteed loan from the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

The loan would be subsidised by the government, and the sale of naming rights, which offered “great prospects”, was also part of the plan, Marsden said.

He said the fact that the city had concluded an operating contract with an internationally renowned consortium, including Stade de France and SA’s Sail group, augured well for the sale of naming rights.

As an example, he said, the Emirates Stadium, which is the home of English premiership club Arsenal, had secured a 15-year naming rights contract for £80m.

Marsden said one of the areas that had increased costs for the city was the stipulation by Fifa that generators be installed at the stadium to ensure electricity supply when the eight matches were played there.

He said Cape Town was not the only host city that had to comply with this requirement.

Escalation had also been a worry but there were signs that this was easing due to the world economic crisis and the drop in commodity prices, especially of steel.

Marsden said the proposed sharp increases in rates for the city related to the cost of operations the city had to incur in preparing for the event, such as policing, traffic and emergency services.

PUBLICATION: Business Day
AUTHOR: Chris van Gass
DATED: 28th November 2008