Emirates Arena officially opened
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Fri 05 Oct 12 @ 17:02
Hundreds of school children joined politicians and organisers as the £113m Emirates Arena was officially opened in Glasgow today.
Last week Sir. Chris Hoy, Britain's most successful Olympian became the first cyclist to complete a lap at the Commonwealth Games velodrome track, which is named in his honour.
Together with the Commonwealth Sports Arena the two sites in the city's east end will be among the main venues for the 2014 Commonweath Games.
The opening follows Emirates Airline's £5m sponsorship deal with Glasgow City Council giving the company naming rights to the National Indoor Sports Arena in the city.
Emirates said the ten-year partnership would help it strengthen its presence in Glasgow with prominent branding on and throughout the arena, highlighting a long-term investment in Glasgow and giving the venue an internationally recognised brand name.
The airline operates 112 non-stop flights per week from the UK to Dubai, including two a day from Glasgow. Since 2004, it has flown almost two million passengers in and out of Scotland.
Emirates has a long history of backing sport in the UK and worldwide, notably Arsenal football team at the Emirates Stadium in London, and supporting the FIFA World Cup and the 2012 Ryder Cup, which begins today in Chicago.
In the first four months of operation of the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, it will play host to eight Scottish, European and world level sporting events.
The indoor venue will have 6,500 spectator seats when set up for sporting competitions, while the velodrome will have a permanent capacity for 2,000 seated and 500 standing spectators viewing the 250-metre cycle track.
The facility will be a national training centre for athletics, basketball, netball, track cycling and volleyball, and will include Scotland's first dedicated indoor velodrome, providing elite training and an international competition standard venue.
It will host eight Scottish, European or world-level sporting events in its first four months, including the Track World Cup in the velodrome in November.
There are now over 175 people employed in the Emirates Arena, including local residents who secured employment after completing a local training programme with Clyde Gateway, Scotland's largest regeneration partnership. The construction project had a peak workforce of over 500 including 50 apprenticeships.
Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "This is a fantastic deal for the people of Glasgow. Many of the world's top sports venues already enjoy the considerable benefits and prestige secured through a naming rights agreement and this partnership with Emirates puts us firmly in that elite group.
"The Emirates Arena is a truly world-class venue that will host a genuinely world-class sporting events programme. This partnership will bring that venue and global brand together and it will be the people of Glasgow who will reap the benefits. Over the next 10 years this multi-million pound deal will leave a lasting legacy.
"We are one of the world's top 10 sporting cities and the Emirates Arena will play a huge part in ensuring we retain and build on that position in the coming years. We can't wait for the action to get under way."