Rugby’s new home

From February 1, 2021 Western Province Rugby will be the primary anchor tenant of the Cape Town Stadium.

It’s official. Come February 1, 2021, Western Province Rugby (WPR) will make Cape Town Stadium its new home.

A binding heads of agreement between the City, the Cape Town Stadium and Western Province Rugby (WPR) was recently approved by the City’s council, making WPR the primary anchor tenant of the stadium.

In a joint press statement released by the City and WPR, deputy mayor Ian Neilson, said the agreement would reduce the financial burden on “future generations”.

The City, however, added that the agreement did not affect access to the Cape Town Stadium which would continue to host other sporting codes and events.

The City would also retain responsibility for repairs and maintenance and the operational costs of the stadium.

“We knew that after the (2010 Soccer World Cup), we’d have to make it a financially sustainable landmark,” said Mr Neilson.

He continued: “As a consequence, we have been investigating ways to reduce the burden of carrying the operational costs of the stadium. This has led to a number of programmes aimed at enhancing the viability of the Cape Town Stadium through the commercialisation of the Cape Town Stadium Precinct in general.”

He said this also involved looking at ways to enhance the economic sustainability of the Cape Town Stadium operation itself, such as the construction of hospitality suites and getting a primary anchor tenant.

“Studies found that rugby would be the most viable economic sporting option and that this would benefit both rugby and the Cape Town Stadium equally,” he said.

Western Province Rugby group chief executive officer, Paul Zacks, said the City and WPR had agreed on a mutually beneficial revenue sharing model whereby WPR would have preferential access to play all of its senior professional rugby matches at the Cape Town Stadium. “This is a new era for WP Rugby, Cape Town and for its people,” he said.

Sharing these sentiments, Western Province Rugby Football Union president, Zelt Marais, said: “This is a watershed moment for Western Province Rugby as we open an exciting new chapter which will help ensure our financial sustainability and grow the game in the future.”

Weighing in on the matter, the head of Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (GPRRA) events committee, Steve Massey, said they welcomed the move of WPR to the stadium. “We believe the move to Green Point will improve the sustainability of the stadium, ensuring that less events will be necessary in the stadium precinct and surrounding fields.

“At a recent meeting with the City’s events department, Mouille Point Ratepayers’ Association and the stadium management, it was agreed that issues such as illegal parking, littering, public indecency and more traffic and law enforcement on all big event days, need to be addressed going forward,” he said.