Abu Dhabi stadium to solve live events conundrum

65,000 capacity arena scheduled for completion in 2013.
The design consultant for the Khalifa National Stadium, Arup Sport, also worked on the Beijing Olympic Stadium.
The design consultant for the Khalifa National Stadium, Arup Sport, also worked on the Beijing Olympic Stadium.

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Construction companies have until May to bid for work on the new Khalifa National Stadium in Abu Dhabi as the project begins to gather momentum.

The tender notice for the 65,000 seat stadium states that it must include a retractable roof, which would make it the largest indoor venue in the Middle East, enabling large-scale live events to take place in the region all year-round. The estimated completion date is the first quarter of 2013.

The region’s live events industry has cited the lack of a large-scale indoor arena as a significantly limiting factor for several years.

“If the events industry had access to substantial indoor venues it would expand the season by three months,” said Thomas Ovesen, managing director, AEG Live Middle East.

“Spending two weeks establishing a 15,000 capacity venue in a temporary location simply isn’t feasible in the long-term.”

The opening of the Dubai Palladium in 2009 alleviated the problem for mid-sized events for audiences of up to 5500, however it can not accommodate the largest gigs in the region.

The Khalifa National Stadium will host a number of sporting events and will become the new home of the UAE national football team.

The arena will be built in Abu Dhabi’s new Capital City District, which will also house the UAE’s federal government buildings and foreign embassies.

The design consultant for the project is Arup Sports, the firm behind Beijing’s “bird’s nest” Olympic stadium and the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.

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