Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
LOCAL cigarette manufacturer Savanna Tobacco (Pvt) Ltd wants to rename Rufaro Stadium to Pacific Stadium as part of a US$10 million deal with the City of Harare to upgrade the facility by installing bucket seats and erecting an electronic scoreboard. According to the council business committee meeting minutes of January 30 this year, the company wants to invest US$100 000 in drafting a sustainable business plan for the stadium.
Councillors, however, want the new name to include “Rufaro”.
Savanna Tobacco representatives told councillors that the upgraded stadium will have an enclosed and secure parking area while gaps in the pre-cast wall would be closed off.
New paid parking bays will be designed while boom gates will be placed at the entrance and exit.
“Fans would be able to purchase their tickets in advance online via mobile money and one gets to the turnstiles and swipes either his phone or ticket to gain access.
“Comfortable numbered seats which are categorised depending on the seating area would be installed.
“An electronic scoreboard to relay time, team sheets, score- line, minutes played or extended time would be erected,” said the cigarette manufacturer’s representatives.
They want to install a public address system and provide free wireless Internet access for fans.
The city will get US$100 0000 annually in naming rights, increasing its revenue from the facility by 33 percent.
It will also get a 900 percent increase over the US$30 000 advertising revenue and 40 percent ticket sales increment given the new seat categorisation.
In return the company wants a ten-year renewable contract and the finalisation and completion of negotiations done prior to the 2014 Premier Soccer League season.
The committee advised Savanna that the name Rufaro Stadium was embedded in the public and was iconic to all Hararians and the football community, hence any name had to factor that in.
The committee underscored the need for comprehensive stakeholder consultations on the matter.
Councillors noted the benefits that would accrue to the city from the proposal, and mandated town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi and the directorate of housing and community services to enter negotiations with Savanna Tobacco and report back to the committee.