The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has teamed up with official airline partner British Airways to create a dedicated area for up to 10,000 fans at a time with giant screens and picnic lawns in acres of newly created parklands in the Olympic Park. ‘BA Hosts’, made up of volunteers from the airline and their families, will also be on hand to help visitors.
At the heart of the plans for Park Live is a giant double-sided screen in the River Lea broadcasting live London 2012 coverage. Sitting in a newly created natural amphitheatre, Park Live plans to offer a host of entertainment including interviews with athletes on the British Airways presentation stage, allowing fans to hear first-hand from medal-winning athletes and other stars, and short films on the creation of the parklands.
Park Live will be set in the centre of the wetland bowl, within the newly created 250 acre parklands, which provides new green space for people and wildlife as well as spectacular views of the Olympic Park venues and London landmarks. It features riverside spectator lawns, timber seating, frog ponds, loggeries, wildflower meadows, woodlands, tree-lined footpaths and reed beds with over 30 species of native reeds, rushes, wet wildflowers and irises.
Park Live will be open from early morning to late evening for spectators to visit before and after sporting events on the Olympic Park. LOCOG has also outlined its ambition to offer general Park tickets, enabling people to come into the Olympic Park without tickets for sporting events.
Chair Seb Coe said: ‘Whether it’s “Halsall Hill”, “Pistorious Park” or “Dai Greene Fields” our plans for Park Live will create a green and colourful place for fans to cheer their heroes and soak up the Olympic Park atmosphere. With lush lawns surrounded by wildflower meadows and rustling reeds, a trip to Park Live will be a truly unforgettable experience.’
Olympic gold medal winner Denise Lewis said: ‘It’s fantastic that British Airways is presenting Park Live, it looks like it could be the “Henman Hill” of the Games. I know the athletes, their families and guests at the Olympic Park will be thrilled to have a dedicated place for people to come together.’
British Airways managing director of brands and customer experience Frank van der Post, said: ‘Park Live Presented by British Airways will be the place for fans to go, cheer on Team GB and ParalympicsGB and give them some home support. It will be open to all guests on the Olympic Park before or after they’ve watched an event, or simply as a destination in itself. We’re looking forward to offering a great experience and dedicated area to watch all the action live.’
Park Live Presented by British Airways includes:
- Park Live will be set in a natural amphitheatre in the north of the Olympic Park spanning 15,220 square metres.
- With a capacity of 10,000 people Park Live will create the fifth largest venue on the Olympic Park and will be open from early morning to late evening on a first come first served basis.
- Up to 1,000 dedicated British Airways staff will welcome hundreds of thousands of spectators to Park Live during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with up to 100 staff on hand to help at any one time.
- The ’BA Hosts’ will receive extensive premium service training to prepare for welcoming people from hundreds of different countries.
- Once the planning process is concluded in the coming weeks, carefully planned construction work will start on the temporary double-sided 14m high, 132 square metre screen, which is the height of three double-decker buses and will sit on a purpose built structure on the river bed.
- Alongside live sporting action, Park Live will feature a host of activity including live entertainment, short films on the creation of the parklands and visits from Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
- Riverside spectator lawns originally grown in Lincolnshire and watered with non-drinkable recycled water provided by the new Thames Water Old Ford treatment plant.
- Wetlands and rare wet woodlands in the north of the Park which create habitat and help manage floodwater, protecting new housing and venues and 5,000 existing properties from a 1:100 year storm. Rainwater is captured through porous paving and cleaned through a network of planted ditches, ponds and reedbeds before flowing into the river.
- The UK’s largest ever urban river and wetland planting with 300,000 wetland plants grown on the Gower peninsula in Wales and then Thetford in Norfolk. Includes over 30 species of native reeds, rushes, grasses, sedges, wet wildflowers and irises, with around a third grown from cuttings and seeds collected from the Olympic Park before construction started.
- The UK’s largest-ever perennial nectar-rich wildflower meadows designed by James Hitchmough of the University of Sheffield, showcasing world-leading colourful and bee-friendly wildflower planting.
- Accessible footpaths with shallow gradients and resting points and timber seating with wheel chair spaces.
- A host of wildlife habitats including frog ponds, loggeries, wetlands, woodlands, irrigation ditches, fish channels for spawning, otter holts, kingfisher nests, bat boxes and strips of Toadflax planted to attract the rare Toadflax Brocade caterpillar.