Apart from being one of the host cities for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Johannesburg will also be the location for the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) where journalists and broadcasters from around the globe will be stationed to broadcast the event.
About 14 000 media personnel, including commentators, camera crew, journalists and technical staff, who are expected in the country in the run-up to and during the 2010 Fifa World Cup will use the 30 000 square metre Nasrec Expo Centre, one of the city’s oldest and largest exhibition centres, as their headquarters.
The expo centre is located less than two kilometres from the FNB Stadium which will host the opening and final matches of the tournament. The South African Football Association headquarters as well as the Fifa headquarters and Local Organising Committee for the event are located here.
A key feature of the area is its strategic location with regard to infrastructure such as transport, roads and the provision of power, water and sanitation. It is situated close to other accommodation facilities as well as to other stadiums which will be used as training venues for World Cup teams.
Almost four billion spectators worldwide will rely on this communication hub to broadcast the games in 2010. According to Fifa figures, the final match of the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany between Italy and France was seen by 715 million people – an increase of 15% from the previous tournament held in 2002. The IBC set up in Munich broadcast images and reports of the 2006 event to more than 120 television and radio stations in 190 countries to a cumulative audience of over 26 billion people across the world.
Johannesburg is already the primary broadcasting hub for international and local television and radio as well as home to almost 60% of all information communication technology enterprises in South Africa.
The City of Johannesburg also announced a R120 million investment plan that will see a hotel being built in the vicinity of the expo centre to accommodate journalists and the IBC support staff. Expected to have 500 rooms, the hotel will be completed in time for the Confederations Cup in 2009. In addition, an exhibition and film centre, offices and retail buildings, and an events facility will also be constructed at Nasrec.
The expo centre will house the host broadcast services logistics offices, and all South African, Asian and European broadcasters. According to a press release issued by the City of Johannesburg, included in the high-tech facilities that will be constructed at the IBC are satellite teleport and telecommunications infrastructure which will support 40 gigabytes of data per second to be transmitted.
“As you know, I am a supporter of modern communication and this IBC will be one of the most advanced centres of information in the world,” said Fifa president Sepp Blatter via video feed at the announcement. “Through a sophisticated network dedicated for this event, it will be linking the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa to the rest of our football family all over the globe. This way it will also create a legacy far beyond the event in terms of telecommunication infrastructure for the country.”
The communications hub is expected to add at least R513.7 million in revenue to Gauteng’s gross domestic product and will create more than 3 000 temporary jobs.