Now, football in the sky as new sports facilities bloom
Jing’an’s biggest sports center, which includes a rooftop football field 13 meters above the ground, opened this month as part of the district’s campaign to improve access to sports facilities.
The Jing’an Sports Center, at 116 Wenshui Road, covers 61,733 square meters and dwarfs all other sports centers in the downtown area.
The rooftop football field seats 750 people and is the first in Shanghai, said Yu Biao, director of the Jing’an Sports Bureau, although because of its capacity it is more likely to be used just for training.
The center also has a 5,600-seat multifunction venue, a swimming pool, two basketball courts, two volleyball courts, four tennis courts, 16 table tennis courts and 20 badminton courts, covering the most popular sports among residents, Yu said. Prices will be discounted 20-50 percent during the trial operation to the end of the year.
Except the swimming pool, opening hours are 10am-10pm Monday to Friday and 9am-10pm at weekends. The new stadium is part of the district’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) to provide residents easy access to sports facilities.
The plan calls for residents to have access to gym equipment in their communities within a five-minute walk from home, a gym club or school playground within 10 minutes and comprehensive sports facilities,
such as a stadium, within 15 minutes.
For Jing’an, with its mix of white-collar workers and senior citizens, authorities regard it as vial to establish sports venues in business areas and residential neighborhoods.
Sports and recreation rooms for workers are becoming more common in office buildings.
In the Kaidike Building that holds more than 4,000 workers, desk jockeys like to have a walk or play badminton in the rooftop recreation area during their noon break.
The LL Land Holding Building converts an emergency shelter into a fitness club that can be used when there is no emergency. And facilities are going high-tech.
In July, two self-service basketball courts opened at 262 Xinma Road and 1640 Linfen Road, where users pay with WeChat to gain entry.
About 10,000 people use them a month. Vending machines provide drinks and rental balls and administrators monitor the courts through CCTV cameras.
“Sports is the future and it is something we will take any effort to develop,” Yu said.
Near the new sports center, at 880 Yonghe Road, tables with chess pieces and boards have been set up in an outdoor public activity area.
Such tables will be introduced to at least 15 neighborhoods by the end of the year. But the district government is fostering the development of non-traditional activities as well, as younger generations develop new interests and new trends develop.
In the Jing’an Sports and Fitness Center, at 151 Kangding Road, sports such as baseball,
roller skating and billiards have been introduced.
And in May, a professional venue for e- Sports, or electronic sports, opened. In November 2003, eSports was officially included as a game in China.
Over the past few years, the number of professional gamers and spectators has surged in the
country and China now has an estimated 170 million eSports followers.
League of Legends, or LoL, is one of the world’s most popular multi-player online battle arena games with at least 100 million users.
The venue in Jing’an, called 666, is the designated venue for LSPL for the year. In its 2,000-square-meter main hall, 16 teams competed in the spring game, attracting more than 5 million online viewers.