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Big future ahead for Bird's Nest
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People who failed to get tickets for Olympic events at the Bird's Nest can look forward to getting inside the iconic venue after the Games, as it was announced it will become a sports and entertainment venue.

Beijing CITIC Consortium Stadium Operation Co Ltd, a co-venture among CITIC Group, Beijing Urban Construction Group and Golden State Holding Group Corp, recently won the rights to operate the stadium for 30 years after the Games.

It said the venue will be used for a range of sports and entertainment events and other commercial operations.

It was earlier announced that the stadium will be the future home of Beijing Guo'an Football Club and will open to tourists during the National Day holiday in October.

The Bird's Nest has become a landmark in the north of the capital and regularly attracts visitors keen to have their photographs taken beside it. During the Games, it will host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the athletics events and some soccer matches.

Li Hang, chairman of the consortium, said he is confident the venue will be a good investment.

"The operating cost of the stadium is about 70 million yuan ($10.2 million) a year," he said.

"But we are confident of making a profit in the future."

The company has held talks with several event promoters and sports companies, including the National Football League of the US and Spanish football club Real Madrid, Li said.

A list of future events will be decided soon, he said.

The consortium will also generate revenue from the sale of naming rights, he said.

"We will sell the naming rights at various levels, such as for the whole stadium, and for each entrance and stand," Li said.

"We will also select 10 partners and 15 suppliers for the stadium."

After the Games, the stadium will be redeveloped to include hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and shopping malls, he said.

The reconstruction will cost at least 300 million yuan and after it, commercial buildings will cover about 35 percent of the entire compound, he said.

"After the Games, it will become an international cultural and recreation center," Li said.

"It will first open to the public in October and the price won't be high, as we want as many as people as possible to enjoy it."

(China Daily July 25, 2008)

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