Since hosting the world’s best basketball players at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Wuksong Arena has become the premier symbol of the sport in both Beijing and in China.
Five years later, Wukesong is about to show some of that love back.
Last week, Wukesong Arena Management Co. held a press conference to formally announce the construction of Wukesong Basketball Park. The state-of-the-art facility, which will be built adjacent to the arena on the south side, will include 11 full-courts, four of which will be indoor, and will be spread out of 15,200 square meters of space. In addition, there will be a fenced in half-court, which will serve as the park’s featured court. The four indoor courts will be insulated by transparent glass walls and will be equipped with heating and air conditioning, making them available for use all year.
The park will also include shopping areas, locker rooms, restaurants, family areas and an elevated viewing gallery among other amenities.
And all of it will be open to the public.
Speaking to NiuBBall.com, Jessica Guo, General Manager of Wukesong Arena Management Co. Ltd., said the park’s main focus to give back to the people of Beijing and help foster an active, inclusive and participatory sports culture.
“We want to serve the local community,” said Guo. “We want to promote healthy lifestyles and encourage more people to play sports and make exercise as part of their life routine. With this park, we think we can make a difference in that respect.”
To do that, the park is taking an ambitious, hi-tech approach to raise both awareness and participation. All players who come to use the facility will be given an electronic wristband, which will serve as their personal identification device and virtual wallet. After being issued the wristband, users can load it with money, which can then be used around the facility to buy food, water, equipment and other goods. On the court, the wristband will also be used to track a player’s individual statistics, which can later be viewed on a website.
The park also plans on using its website to allow individual players, companies and teams to register and organize games online.
“We think this park is going to help people make new friends and live happier, healthier lives.” said Guo. “China’s making progress, but there’s still not enough places where people and their families can go play sports. Hopefully, this is going to give people something to get excited about — give something for people to look forward to.”
In addition to public use, the park will also host various leagues for both men and women. The current plan is to hold leagues for four different age groups (15-22, 23-35, 36-45, 45 and above), all of which will be split up into regular season and playoffs. To make the experience as professional as possible, each court will come complete with electronic scoreboards and shot clocks.
There will be more events as well, including youth basketball camps, sponsored events as well as interactive fan zones during CBA All-Star Weekend and NBA China Games.
For those wishing to drop in during public hours, court fees will cost 15 RMB. For those who have cars, the park will provide free parking.
As announced at the press conference, the park’s opening wil be split up into two parts: Its first section will be ready for use in July, while its second will be ready by year end.
To kick off their opening, the park hold a 3×3 tournament, which will be held from July 15 to August 8. The tournament, which is being jointly promoted BTV-Sports, will be open to all age groups. The television station will then videotape and air the final match on BTV-6. And if you’re not Chinese, rest assured: International players are welcome.
Those who wish to register can do so at http://www.wukesongarena.cn/
In all, Wukesong Basketball Park looks to be a valued addition to the Beijing basketball community — and a much needed extra spot for NiuBBall to get some extra run on.