SBD/January 18, 2012/Facilities

Organizations Seeking New Ways To Turn '08 Olympic Landmarks Into Profitable Venues

Government has been reluctant to formally discuss naming rights for Olympic structures
More than three years after the '08 Summer Games, managers of Beijing's Olympic landmarks are "desperately exploring new ways to profit from them in order to avoid financial woes," according to Wang Wen of the CHINA DAILY. The most "recent concern is the Water Cube." Enthusiasm for the "bubble-like architectural wonder has continued to decline, with the number of visitors falling by almost a third in 2011 compared with 2010." Beijing National Aquatics Center Co. Ltd. said that it was US$1.74M "short in balancing its books last year." The organization said that despite hosting some "large sports events and art performances the venue is still unable to break even." Financial problems are "not just pressing on the Water Cube." The number of visitors to the main Olympic arena, the Bird's Nest, "also declined by almost 50 percent in the first six months of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010." The operating team has to "aggressively look for commercial options to fill that gap, although ticket sales still account for half of the arena's revenue." National Stadium Co. Ltd. Deputy Manager Xiang Jun, whose organization runs the Bird's Nest, said that it is "changing its role from that of a venue provider to a content provider by organizing more programs." Interest in naming rights for the Water Cube and Bird's Nest stadium has been "high since the end of the Beijing Olympics, but formal discussions have never started, because of the government's reluctance" (CHINA DAILY, 1/17).
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