Riyadh venue to undergo major facelift



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Saudi Arabia Riyadh Mrsool Park Al Nassr FC renovation Image: Al Nassr FC (Twitter)

The King Saud University Stadium (also known as Victory Arena) – built in 2011 – and which sits in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, will undergo massive rehabilitation work that will turn it into an avant-garde venue which will be in a position to stage high-level sports and entertainment events.

The King Saud University Stadium is a multifunctional stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and can pack in a crowd of 25,000 and officially opened in May 2015. The stadium was also the venue of the WWE pay-per-view event Crown Jewel in November 2018.

The Saudi Media Company has struck a deal with the University and aims to convert the facility into a cultural and sporting nerve center for the country. The venue takes a page out of the great stadia of the world, such as the Wembley Stadium in London. MRSOOL, a shipping company, will sponsor the naming rights of the revitalized stadium. Schedules and costs of the renovation have not been published yet.

The Saudi Media Company is a newly formed Media Representation Agency in the Gulf handling the advertising spaces for the Saudi Broadcasting Authority.

In September 2020, Al-Wasail Saudi Arabia (an international advertising company) won the rights to manage the King Saud University Stadium. The strategy for the venue is clear: Undergo an overhaul and turn it into a unique sports and entertainment destination. It also includes a 10-year investment on site.

Just one month later, the new operator signed a contract with Al-Nasr Football Club, making the stadium the new official home of one of the most successful soccer teams of Saudi Arabia, winner of nine leagues. Its colors – yellow and blue – will get manifested in many of the stadium’s designs. What is more, Al-Wasail company announced the naming rights deal in November. With this cooperation, MRSOOL (one of the largest delivery platforms) became the first company in the region which had gone into a naming rights sponsorship. That will enable them to strengthen MRSOOL’s brand within the local community. From that time the stadium has been known as the MRSOOL Park.

MRSOOL Park will combine events of various kinds, such as concerts by major bands, or global sporting events.

The Spanish company Molcaworld has been selected to carry out the design of the brand and the spruce-up work of the venue, which requires a comprehensive overhaul.

The MRSOOL Park project encompasses a comprehensive development plan, ranging from brand relaunch, revitalization of the arena, the creation of a state-of-the-art digital ecosystem and a strategic commercial and marketing plan, which was presented by the Saudi Media Company in November with a televised gala and broadcast on social networks.

MRSOOL Park has been created with the aim of moving from a conventional stadium to a multiuse destination boasting added attractions, which can operate seven days a week around the year.

The site will have VIP areas and differentiated hospitality, as well as the capacity to accommodate a wide range of eateries catering to foodies with different taste buds and commercial content, adapting to each event.

The players’ areas and stands will be dressed in the colors of Al-Nassr. The yellow of the desert sand and the blue of the Arabian Sea will be the leading palette of the changing rooms, players’ tunnels and various VIP experiences.

The venue will also boast the region’s first-of-its-kind 360-degree viewing lounge where a select group of VIP members will be able to watch the action unfold just a stone’s throw away, as well as the exit from the changing rooms, the moment before taking the field in the tunnel, and the press conference itself.

Blending the history and atmosphere of the Riyadh fans, the first challenge is to study the ambitious objectives of the project managers, and apply them to the interior, generating an innovative and modern image that respects the preferences of fans.

The project has been entirely spearheaded right from the beginning by Javier Martínez García, a recognized expert in the sport and entertainment field with over 20 years of experience working with brands such as Walt Disney, the Spanish professional football club Atlético Madrid, and the English football club Manchester City F.C.

Stated Garcia, “This is one of the projects that is aligned within the vision of the Saudi Arabia 2030 strategic plan. Another example of private initiative to reaffirm the country’s desire to regularly host major world events. And to do so, they have chosen to select leading international professionals and combine them with local talent.”
 

Total transformation

The stadium which is owned by a public university will undergo total transformation, relying on three main pillars: Fans, venue and business. It will come armed with facilities keeping in sync with the latest global standards. The stadium operators are keen on keeping the venue open seven days in a week. Personalized experiences, smart cashless solutions, and seamless access will be some of the features that the facility will boast.
 

MRSOOL Park (King Saud University Stadium)

Construction work on the campus of King Saud University in Western Riyadh was launched in the Spring of 2011 and was expected to end within 24 months. However, despite the stadium being structurally ready in 2014, opening only took place in May 2015.

The design and construction work was commissioned to Hashem Contracting Company, who delivered the stadium along specifications (and FIFA rules for international games) within the budget of 215 million riyals ($57m). Clad with perforated and metallic outer skin, the stadium may seem gold or soil-brown depending on the sunlight. Only the West side differs with a simple main building having a different outer cladding.

Structurally the stands are simple and have a very standard layout creating a uniform single ring around the field. Although, it should be mentioned it’s still one of the first large football-specific stadia across the country. The stands are primarily built with concrete cast on site, topped with precast steps.

The audience area with roughly 22,000 seats is topped by rhythmic concrete ‘ribs’ that give support to a rather delicate, thin steel truss system. The roof is slightly bent over the main grandstand (West), emphasizing its central role with a lavish presidential suite on top. The roof doesn’t cover all seats as there is no need for protection from rain. Selected roof size provides decent sunlight access to the field and gives support to artificial lighting.

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