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Ellis Park Stadium

Mr JD Ellis was instrumental in building an Icon! An Icon that was named after him, The Ellis Park Stadium. After he made the land available the stadium was constructed in 1928. The stadium was erected in approximately eight months and in June 1928 the first test was played against the New Zealand All Blacks. Over the years Ellis Park Stadium has become internationally renowned and synonymous with rugby, although other major events have also been staged at the facility. These events include, amongst others, soccer matches and open-air concerts.

A photograph that has been viewed millions of times, by people around the globe, was taken during one of the country's most significant sporting events, the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The photo is of then-president Nelson Mandela and Springbok captain Francois Pienaar holding up the Webb Ellis trophy on 24 June 1995. This was the first major international sporting achievement for South Africa after years of isolation, and the victory was considered a stepping stone toward the creation of a united South Africa. The South Africa national rugby union team, known as the Springboks, defeated New Zealand's All Blacks 15-12. The story of this period in South African history and this achievement in particular was turned into a motion picture in 2009 by Hollywood director Clint Eastwood, the movie was called Invictus.

The old stadium was completely demolished in March 1979 to make way for a bigger, more modern facility. The new facility which includes upgrades made in preparation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup now seats in the region of 62 000 people. It is believed that the only extended period in the stadiums history where rugby was not played at the facility was during the 1979 rebuild. Games were played at the Wanderers while the stadium was being rebuilt.

The Ellis Park Stadium is home to Super Rugby's Lions, Currie Cup's Golden Lions and the Premier Soccer League's Orlando Pirates. In 2005, 10 years after hosting the legendary Rugby World Cup final, it became the first black-owned stadium in South Africa when the Golden Lions Rugby Union relinquished management to a majority black-owned company. Today, the stadium is managed by Interza Lesego, Orlando Pirates Football Club and Ellis Park World of Sport.

After a R500 million upgrade was completed in 2008, Ellis Park Stadium was ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The upgrade saw the seating capacity increased by 5000 seats, a facelift to the Presidential Suite, a new hospitality room and new changing rooms. Ellis Park hosted five group games, one second round game and one quarter-final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Ellis Park now boasts high-tech media facilities, a premium audio-visual set-up and improved accessibility for the disabled. It also has nine conferencing venues, which host up to 1 000 people at a time. Visitors can choose between executive suites and banquet conference venues, all overlooking the pitch. It is also a popular concert venue in South Africa, with the likes of the Rolling Stones having performed there.

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