A fully staffed HBS House in Port Elizabeth/Nelson Mandela Bay

As the 2010 FIFA World CupTM draws to a close and stadiums host their final matches, it is a timely moment to look back on the opera­tions carried out at the ten venues. “During the operational phase, the Broadcast Venue Managers (BVMs) are the first point of con­tact for FIFA and the LOC for broadcast-related matters,” explained Gary Shaw, Head of Venue Management. “They therefore need to be aware of everything HBS does in terms of production, unilateral services and everything ‘behind the scenes’, such as power, telecoms, information distribution etc...”

Wednesday saw Durban host its final game and BVM Yvonne Briggs has been pleased with the success of the project at her venue. “The preparation in Durban has had its challenges, but I feel fortunate to have a very strong HBS team here and a good relationship with the FIFA and LOC teams. People are your most valuable commodity, and with good people you can achieve anything.” That relationship was epitomised by a friendly football match played between HBS, FIFA and the LOC.

“The best aspect of the role of BVM for HBS is being involved in every aspect of the World Cup,” revealed Anna Berg, BVM at Port Elizabeth/Nelson Mandela Bay, the location of the 3rd/4th place match. “We get to work with all groups, making every effort to ensure host and MRL needs are met. It’s satisfying to watch the years of planning become reality and to see the compound full of vans and broadcasters.”

With just two venues still operational, the BVMs who have already completed their mission have also been reflecting on a job well done. “Things went well here at Bloemfontein,”explained Fausto Pighin, BVM for the Free State location. “We had challenges, but a strong relationship with FIFA and the LOC that was built over the last two months meant we worked together to find solutions.” The Free State Stadium was used for four matches during the FIFA Confederations Cup last year and that expe­rience certainly helped make things run smoothly for the FIFA World Cup™. “The continuity of management allowed us to hit the ground running. We really did pick up from where we left off in 2009.” That is not to say there were not a few challenges to overcome. “A relatively late transformation from a rugby venue in early May to a FIFA World Cup™ venue in under a month required detailed planning. Thankfully, over a period of many months, HBS coordinating BVMs and Venue Technical Managers (VTMs) had plotted everything from camera platforms to office layouts,” Fausto concluded.