Prague’s O2 Arena spends almost CZK 180 million on modernisation and security
O2 Arena, one of Europe’s most modern multipurpose venues, has completed an almost CZK 180 million two-year investment programme encompassing extensive refurbishments and increased security measures. The shareholders of Bestsport, the company that owns and operates O2 Arena, financed the investment with operating profits generated over the last two years, according to Robert Schaffer, O2 Arena’s CEO.
The capital expenditure plans were primarily drawn up for 2014 as part of the preparations for the European Athletics Indoor Championship and the Ice Hockey World Championship, and were concentrated on improving security provisions for the large volume of visitors to these events. “The security scanners and x-ray machines that are used for checking visitors and their bags upon entering the arena were replaced,” said Robert Schaffer. In addition, inspections and repairs were carried out on emergency exits, emergency lighting, and other systems in place to help evacuate people in an emergency situation. In 2015, the arena was subjected to a comprehensive security check ahead of both events. A final inspection of visitor security confirmed that all systems were in place for the smooth running of the events in cooperation with the Czech Police force and Prague Fire Services.
Robert Schaffer explains: “In addition to the upgrade of security provisions and everyday operating expenditure, the largest investments of 2014 and the latter part of 2013 went primarily to the refurbishment of the telescopic stands. Investments were also made to improve the arena’s unsatisfactory lighting and sound systems, and the central kitchen also went through a complete renovation after ten years of operation. Another major project was the reconstruction of the Sky Box floor, which was given new luxury VIP rooms and renamed the Premier Club.”
Last year’s capital expenditure of CZK 35 million was mainly channelled into the information system for visitors, including visual devices, and the control technology for the arena.
The CEO believes that the events of last year vindicated the investments made in the O2 Arena’s security features. “The attacks in France directly preceded the sold out Fed Cup finals. Together with the Czech Police force and State administration bodies, we reinforced security measures inside the arena and in its immediate vicinity. The O2 Arena has long been one of the most secure arenas in Europe. Since opening, it has never let up on the excellent standard of its security measures, including checks and security scanners which frequently came under criticism. We are aware that this strict focus on security can be testing at times, but the security of our visitors is the top priority for us,” concluded Robert Schaffer.