UFL’s new home: Megaworld’s all-weather stadium ‘exclusive for football use’By Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — A field that can withstand all weather conditions, a stadium exclusive for football use, and the home of the United Football League (UFL) for years, and even “decades,” to come.
That is what real estate developer Megaworld is offering as it officially launched for use the ‘Emperador Stadium,’ a multimillion-peso venture situated at the heart of McKinley Hill in Taguig.
“Our partnership with UFL, is a long-term commitment. We expect to extend that to decades, if possible,” said Jericho Go, Megaworld’s first vice president for Business Development and Leasing Group, at a press briefing on Thursday night at the Venice Piazza.
“This is a permanent facility; it’s going to be here for years to come,” Go, who disclosed inking a four-year partnership with the Football Alliance and the UFL.
“It’s a dream of the Football Alliance and the UFL, way before we even started. Megaworld was able to come and deliver us a world class football field and stadium,” said UFL Chairman Santi Araneta.
UFL and Megaworld’s partnership, meanwhile, goes beyond the use of the Stadium for the league’s games and team practices but also the control of events there.
And they would like for it to “remain exclusively for football and football related events. We will not have concerts there, it’s not good for the field,” said Go.
“We want to try to make sure the field is kept and used as a football field. There’s enough football to fill up the use of that field and to protect the artificial turf as well,” Araneta added.
Sitting on a 15,000-square meter land, the Emperador stadium boasts of a world-class artificial pitch, and a 2,000-seating capacity which can be increased “as the need arises,” according to Go.
Megaworld also sourced the “best the world could offer” when it came to the materials used in building the stadium.
“We wanted to make sure whatever we’ll be providing the UFL will be truly and sincerely world class. It’s what we call a game changer,” said Go.
The artificial turf uses the Max S 60 mm variety, set up by renowned Italian brand Limonta Sport, one of the few turf providers certified by FIFA.
The light post was manufactured in Turkey, and the lights by Belgian brand Schreder Group GIE and the French Zenith Luminaires.
And best of all, rain won’t be an issue in this “all weather field.”
“If there’s a signal number three storm, the field can handle it We have more than adequate drainage facilities that prevent puddles from being collected and things like that,” said Go.
The artificial turf works best to UFL’s favor with the games being held all-year round, at least two times per week.
“(Natural grass), it’s a grass you cannot use as often as this kind of field,” added Araneta.
The public gets a first peek at it this coming weekend as six UFL League games are set to be played there on Saturday and Sunday and the first televised fixture on February 12.
But, as of the moment, the Emperador stadium is just the field, the bleachers and the lights. The covered grandstand area, including the locker rooms and the modern amenities like VIP Boxes, media areas, are set to finish construction in June.
Temporary restrooms for the fans and changing rooms for the athletes will be put up.
Araneta, meanwhile, is confident that public transportation to McKinley Hill is not going to be a problem for the fans. UFL games in the past have been played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium and University of Makati.
“As a football fan, there are public transportation to get you there and I think we just have to get the information out,” said Araneta.
“Second, maybe it’s important to brief the public. Anywhere in the world you will not find a football stadium which will be easy to get to,” he added.