Johannesburg – 2022 marks a significant year for the iconic Imperial Wanderers Stadium. With sanctions imposed in 1970, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) welcoming back South Africa in 1992, this year sees the celebration of the stadium’s 30-year post isolation birthday!
The past 30-years have provided millions of fanatical fans with memorable entertainment value forever entrenched in the memory banks. From the hosting of the ICC World Cup, the IPL, Greatest One Day ever, AB’s fastest century and of course the 10-hour batting display by Mike Atherton, saving the 1995 Test SA versus England – to mention but a few.
The venue has hosted countless cause-based events aimed at addressing pressing socio-economic challenges. These include the 10th Pink Day in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness; Autism and Gender Based awareness; and poverty alleviation as part of the Jozi Stars inaugural Mzansi Super League season.
The oval has hosted multiple non-cricket sports events too such as the Davis Cup, 2010 FIFA Soccer Goodwill match, a local PSL game (Mamelodi Sundowns FC vs Rangers FC in 2006), Cycling, Marathons, Spinathon, annual International Yoga Day, Afrika Tikkun Sport Days and the Neon Run to mention a few.
The list goes on, this time with non-sporting business and lifestyle events such as the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, Ethiopian Prime Minister Address, Starlight Helicopter launch, Skydivers, Top Billing Auditions, Holi Festival, Cookout, Business Seminars, Workshops, Team Building sessions, Conferences, Weddings, Product/brand Launches and other lifestyle events.
In the recent months, the venue has converted multiple suites into long and short term office space, offering co-working spaces, virtual offices, BRM retail distribution point and kitchen outlets that now serve the broader Illovo, Rosebank, Melrose and Sandton community with its Uber Eats pick up offering. Then there’s the world class medical centre, permanent yoga studio and several retail sport shops added.
“As part of converting the 66-year old iconic venue and celebrating 30-years post ICC isolation, we have embarked on a journey to keep the lights on 24/7/365. Our multipurpose venue strategy offers wellness, entertainment and a market where SA’s economy is stimulated through small-to-medium enterprises whether it be a trader selling their own bespoke cuisine, internationally recognised brands or business-to-business trade. Our sole purpose is to breathe energy into our iconic fortress where citizens from all walks of life feel at home” comments Wanele Mngomezulu Head of Marketing, Commercial & Communications.
Mngomezulu continues to say:
“Part of the year-long celebration is to entrench our new Imperial Wanderers brand proposition #WhereJoziMeets”.
“We seek to welcome not only Joburgers but the world at large across all racial lines, religious beliefs, creed, artist, music loves, entrepreneurs and health conscious under three pillars – memorable Entertainment Value, Wellness Centre and Business Hub”.
“Our wellness offering includes an array of outdoor activities including stadium cycling tours, walk on the field in a safe environment, regular Spinathon, partnerships with marathon planners and so much more”
“Our medical centre includes multidisciplinary medical team, with a holistic approach on patient care. It consists of 11 practitioners, namely, Optometry; Chiropractic’s; Podiatry; Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber; Sports Physician (Doctor); Orthotist and Prosthetist; Biokinetics; Psychology and Physiotherapy. A fully equipped gym”.
“The stadium recently welcomed The Yoga Experience Studio. The Yoga Experience was established in June 2003, made up of a group of men and women that are crazy about yoga and all things concerned with the awakening of higher consciousness. The studio teaches Yoga. Hot Yoga, Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Yin Yoga and strength & core classes”.
“On the entertainment front, we have plenty of lined experiences including various sports and lifestyle events – musical, art on the pitch, comedy nights, camping weekend and fresh produce market”.
“Our Business Hub offering extends from small-to-medium enterprises based at the stadium with regular business networking support, thought leadership and workshops amongst other with like-minded community members”.
The Imperial Wanderers is excited with the journey ahead so says Lions Cricket CEO Jono Leaf-Wright:
“In response to the changing and challenging times faced by South African society, the Lions Cricket board and management intends to create sustainable job opportunities, a business hub, a wellness centre and of course world class entertainment value through the better use of the 66-year old stadium. We continuously strive towards the redesign of the stadium into a multi-purpose asset which not only seeks to offer the world’s best cricket venue but to contribute to the country’s urgent requirement for job creation as more than one third of South Africa’s youth are unemployed”.
“Lions Cricket believes in the better utilization of its resources for the betterment of our society and the exploration of the multi-purposing of the stadium into a business incubator, entrepreneurial hub, wellness and entertainment venue in South Africa forms part of the fabric of the organizational strategy including the use of cricket as the change agent”.
“We want to give our community the sense that the lights are always on at the stadium and that the iconic Imperial Wanderers which sits in the golden triangle of retail in Africa is truly the place ‘WhereJoziMeets’.” concludes Leaf-Wright.
@WanderersZA #ThePrideOfJozi #ImperialWanderersCelebrates30 #WhereJoziMeets