Empty "Bird's Nest"

2 Feb 2009

More large-scale events are needed to keep Beijing’s massive “Bird’s Nest” stadium from falling into disuse.

Officially known as Beijing National Stadium, the 91,000-seat venue, reported the Associated Press, is starting to peel in some areas, and the only visitors these days are tourists willing to pay about US$7 (CNY48) to walk on the stadium floor.

The main confirmed event this year is Puccini’s opera “Turandot,” set for August 8, the first anniversary of the Olympic Games’ opening. The stadium has no permanent tenant after Beijing’s top soccer club, Guo’an, backed out of a deal to play there.

Operator Citic Group was quoted by state news agency Xinhua to be developing a plan for a complex of shops and leisure outlets to help attract business to the US$450 facility. Details have yet to be finalised.

Built to reflect China’s increasing power on the world stage, the structure, which derives its nickname from its latticed façade, costs about US$8.8 million annually to maintain. This cost makes it difficult to turn a profit.

Margie T Logarta

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