ibnlive » Sports » Other Sports

Mar 18, 2009 at 12:57am IST

Post-Olympics, Bird's Nest has no takers

Beijing: The Bird's Nest housed the biggest Olympics extravaganza in modern history less than a year ago. But now the national stadium in Beijing has been left to host only a few tourists and the occasional cultural performance, which doesn’t attract too many spectators.

“The next performance will be in May this year, but for sports events like football matches and other large events it is more difficult. We have a retractable grass pitch which is very expensive to set and remove, so a single football match would not be worth the cost,” Deputy General Manager, Stadium Operation, Zhang Hengli said.

But for a structure of the magnitude of the Bird's Nest to not be put to use regularly for sports events does naturally force for it to be called a white elephant. This is a bane that has over the years haunted many famous Olympic structures after the games move on.

“The Bird's Nest cost a lot of money and if it had no other use it would be a complete waste,” Travel agent from Shaanxi province Shi Aiping said.

But the Chinese are known to be very enterprising. There have been talks of the mammoth stadium being converted partially to a shopping mall or even a hotel.

“I think for Chinese people the Bird's Nest is like a home, it should have some use for traditional Chinese arts, and take some responsibility. I think if it's just holding commercial activities and selling a few tickets like this, it's not enough,” television broadcasting company worker Yang Saying said.

While there are many takers for the sponsorship and the maintenance of the Bird's Nest, its future as a sporting venue is clearly under a cloud.