South Africa 2010 World Cup: Eco-Friendly Stadiums

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World Cup 2010 South Africa’s Eco-Friendly Approach

Free State Stadium - Mangaung/Bloemfontein

Free State Stadium - Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa

Being on Pacific Coast Standard time here on the west coast of the States, we’re ready for World Cup 2010 action to begin later today, with the host team South Africa taking on Mexico in what should be an exhilarating opening match. I have be hearing lately that host teams have never lost their opening match, nor have they failed to move out of the first round. Should be a great week or so of very challenging match-ups, with our US team taking on England tomorrow morning (Saturday 10:30am PST).

But what about sustainable architecture, the challenge of hosting a multi-nation global sporting event, eco-friendly architecture when it comes to these soccer (football) stadiums, and more environmental concerns? Admittedly, I am super thrilled to see the games, and I’m not even a soccer fan the rest of the year. But there is most certainly something special about World Cup play, and South Africa 2010 shouldn’t be an exception.

World Cup 2010 South Africa’s Eco-Friendly Marketing and Stadiums

Durban Stadium - Durban, South Africa

Durban Stadium - Durban, South Africa

So have any of you heard about South Africa’s attempts to create a more eco-friendly global event? It seems more and more important these days with global events like the Olympics, especially when you get wind of the marketing surrounding an event like World Cup 2010 South Africa, to push an environmentally-relevant and conscious strategy. And it’s great, even if it has more to do with marketing than sustainability — part of the challenge is getting past ignorance, so the fact that the marketing teams are choosing to highlight their eco-efforts and educating soccer fans in the process is wonderful and necessary.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium - Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa

Loftus Versfeld Stadium - Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa

The biggest issue here would be the stadiums, according to what you read around the web. My first thought, in challenge to that — I mean, yes, the stadiums get built or refurbished and then they are there for good, for the most part — but my first thought is the rapid-fire consumption that is a de facto element of a global sporting event crammed into ten days. How much paper, plastic and disposable goods will be burned through, and how huge of an opportunity is that to educate consumers on a different way of going through the world? But alas…

South Africa World Cup 2010 Stadiums and Their Eco-Conscious Elements
Almost by default, five (this does not account for all of them) stadiums that will be used during the 2010 World Cup matches all feature some environmentally-friendly elements. Of these five stadiums, they are each at a different point in their development: only one was remodeled for the event, while two were built brand new. The final two are older stadiums that were in good enough shape for World Cup 2010. Attempts to make these locations as “green” as possible were undertaken by World Cup officials and South Africa, the host nation.

Soccer City Stadium - Johannesburg, South Africa

Soccer City Stadium - Johannesburg, South Africa

The two newly built locations include solar power and have been created with enough flexibility to later be re-used for events other than football, which is really a kind of architectural recycling, if you think about it broadly enough. One of these two newly build soccer stadiums also has a collection system for rainwater (Durban Stadium, Durban). I do not know specifically how much it rains in South Africa, or if this rainwater will be enough to be used outside of the stadium itself.

World Cup 2010 Stadiums Images: Sustainable Global Architecture in South Africa
There is something to be said for taking advantage of pre-existing structures. Not entirely environmentally friendly in terms of solar, wind or other sustainable power supplies, but the carbon footprint is minimized by not razing a structure to the ground and bringing in thousands of temporary workers to build a new structure in a short span of time. Economic benefits might have been great, and as always, these sites are on a global stage and allow for mass education of eco-friendly and sustainable building practices.

Green Point Stadium - Cape Town

Green Point Stadium - Cape Town, South Africa

All photos in this article courtesy
And here is a complete list of all the World Cup 2010 Matches, locations and scheduled times.


  1. Pingback: World Cup Stadiums Go Green | Man jr.

  2. we were at soccer city last night when Ghana versus Germany.i was slapped with amazing awesomeness.couldn’t believe that the calabash is so sound proof due to the you have some more interresting facts regarding our stadiums?

    1. Paul — Thanks for finding the site and the post on soccer stadiums featured during South Africa World Cup. There are a couple of helpful links within the post, one to FIFA site and the other to the site of the architects of one of the facilities, that are super helpful and full of pictures. Have fun!

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