Virtual Tour of the World Cup’s Cape Town (or Green Point) Stadium

Green Point Stadium in Cape Town is one of the new venue darlings for the 2010 World Cup; a 64,100-seat soccer mecca sitting right on the coast line and within shouting distance of Table Mountain and downtown Johannesburg. This week, SVG’s Ken Kerschbaumer went on a tour of the stadium to check out some of its unique features. Here is a brief photo tour of the venue.

Cape Town Stadium

What first strikes visitors to the 15-story structure is the translucent fabric mesh made from woven fiberglass coated with Teflon that is wrapped around it. The filigree skin changes its appearance with the movement of the sun, appearing blue at noon, rose in the late afternoon, and red at sunset. On stormy days, it can appear silver, grey, or even pewter.

From afar, it gives the stadium an elegance that looks like it cost billions. But, up close, it becomes clear that the skin was the perfect design element to save money without compromising the look.

Given the recent stadium builds in the U.S., one would have expected the World Cup stadiums to have followed similar trends, especially when it comes to making them broadcast-friendly. But the cost of Cape Town Stadium was approximately $600 million, a bargain compared with new facilities like Cowboys Stadium and Yankee Stadium.

Unfortunately, for the broadcasters working at Green Point, those cost-cutting measures meant there was little in the way of broadcast-cable paths and infrastructure. In fact, as shown in these pictures, broadcast cabling throughout the venue required some serious workarounds in the form of drilling holes through concrete walls and even the floor. To the right is an example of some of the engineering feats that needed to be required to get the cabling through the venue. Numerous holes were drilled to ensure that cables carrying camera video, audio feeds, and commentary could be passed from the sixth floor of the stadium down to the ground level.

In addition, holes needed to be drilled in the wall in order to get cable signals off of the pitch. The picture below shows the holes that were drilled so that on-field cameras and communications could be cabled back off of the pitch.

Ingenuity rules the day at Cape Town Stadium when it comes to cabling.

On the tour, we also had a chance to check one of the cooler aspects of the work being done for the World Cup: player-tracking camera systems deployed by deltatre. The systems, located at the top of the stadium, include a dedicated camera that tracks all of the movements by a particular athlete. Based on military missile-tracking technology, it can be set up at the press tribune of most stadia within a day and requires only two dedicated operators. It provides accurate tracking data of players, referee, and ball throughout the match, which can be used to drive live Web and mobile applications, compelling TV graphics, and coaching aids.

Deltatre player-tracking cameras get ready to zero in on Portugal and North Korea earlier this week.

In the coming weeks, Cape Town Stadium will become a major focus point for the world’s soccer fans, hosting both a quarterfinal and semifinal match. The hope now is that the weather will be crisp and clear on both those days, as the dramatic backdrop to the stadium, Table Mountain on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, makes it one of the most beautiful venues in sport. Even if the cabling paths do leave a little to be desired.