It’s a pity Ghana cannot boast of an adequate multi-purpose indoor facility such as the O2 Arena in London or the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre in Downtown LA or Madison Square Garden in New York City, for our numerous entertainment concerts and events.
The above mentioned venues form part of many places Ghanaian artistes dream of having at least a performance, but no one has ever talked of contributing to building an almost similar edifice to save us the discomfort.
The 20,000 seat Staples Centre which opened in 1999 after a year of construction cost $375 million to build and financed privately by the owners, the L.A. Arena Company and Anschutz Entertainment Group. It hosts over 250 events including basketball, hockey, boxing and concerts with nearly 4,000,000 guests a year.
It is not different from the O2 Arena in London which seats 20,000 people being the second largest in UK after the Manchester Arena.
The Madison Square Garden in Manhattan is the third-busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales hosting approximately 320 events a year. At a total construction cost of approximately $1.1 billion, Madison Square Garden has been ranked as one of the ten most expensive stadium venues ever built.
Now to Ghana where we have used and abused the National Theatre and the Accra International Conference Centre which only seats 1500 and 1600 people respectively.
The capacity can’t hold the growing population of entertainment lovers judging by the high attendance at these venues with many hanging around due to lack of seats.
The Dome by the Conference Centre which was built in 2008 specifically for the UNCTAD conference became a necessary choice for event organizers due to its extra seating capacity but currently it’s still “under renovation”.
The Accra Stadium has grown in popularity among event organizers playing hosts to international artistes like Chris Brown and Akon. The 40,000 seating capacity stadium was filled up during the recent Big Eruption and Sonnie Badu Concerts.
But of course it’s not the most suitable venue considering its outdoor characteristics leaving attendants at the mercy of the weather and creates a lot of hitches for organizers.
The only solution is to build at least one multi-purpose indoor arena that could host at least 50,000 people. But the question is: Who should build that event saver?
The religious events have been blessed with the Perez Dome of the Perez Chapel International at Dzorwulu which has a seating capacity of 14000, bigger than the National Theatre and Conference Centre combined.
The dome being an indoor venue has already hosted many renowned international preachers and gospel music celebrities like Morris Cellulo, Don Moen and Kirk Franklin, with organizers under pressure as more seats were required for the already filled venue.
Event organizers make money that’s why they keep organizing shows, artistes make money that’s why they keep bragging about it and sponsors have money that’s why they keep sponsoring.
It is about time there is a created partnership to pool funds in order to build a multi –purpose arena, like the Staples Centre, to host local and international concerts, boxing matches and other events rather than wait for another 50 years for government to make the move.
Shouldn’t we “put our money where our mouth is”?