Entertainment in KwaZulu-Natal:
The Mr Price Kings Park Stadium, previously the ABSA Stadium for sponsorship reasons, and colloquially known as The Shark Tank, is a stadium in the Kings Park Sporting Precinct in Durban, South Africa, which was originally built in 1891 and extensively renovated in the 1990s. It has a capacity of 55,000 and is the home ground of the Sharks. The stadium has also been used by Durban based Premier Soccer League football (soccer) clubs, as well as for large football finals.
History of the Stadium:
The Shark Tank has a proud history and, for over forty years, has hosted many memorable provincial and international events, such as the Rugby World Cup as well as being the home of The Sharks and various rugby teams, like Duikers, Sharks XV, Sharks Under 19s, Under 21s and the Sharks Academy as well as two of the premiership soccer sides –Thanda Royal Zulus and Golden Arrows.
In 1953 the lower embankment seating on the eastern side was built, this could accommodate about 5000 people. In 1955 the western grandstand was established and this seated 3500 people. It was officially opened in 1958 by Danie Craven, the President of SA Rugby Board, with a capacity crowd of 12 000.
The same year, the stadium capacity was increased to accommodate a further 2500 spectators. Huge developments took place in 1960 and this was the creation of the north, south and east upper terrace. The mayor at the time was Mr. H.W Jackson, better known as Jacko Jackson.
Jacko Jackson one of the finest full-backs Natal ever produced, said on the occasion, "It was on December 20, 1954, when as Chairman of the Works Committee of the City Council, I had the pleasure of turning the first sod of this ground at a ceremony and in a space of as little as three years later you see laid out before you the magnificent stadium” (keep in mind this area used to be the old agricultural show ground which was only used once a year). The Stadium is situated at 12 Jacko Jackson Drive – named after Mr H.W Jackson.
In 1976 the first renovations were done for a test between all the All Blacks and Springboks, the stadium was then extended to a capacity of 44 000.
A further major development that occurred in February 1984 when the desion was taken to alter the old Western stand and build a huge new cantilever grandstand with all its amenities. This included extensive new administration offices, entertainment areas, 84 private suites on two levels, full facilties for TV, radio and the media as well as the development of all important rooms and warm-up areas for the players. This took over a year to complete.
In 1989 the south/west corner suites were added and in 1990 the north/west corner suites – thus bringing the number of executive suites 125. in 1992 announcements were made of further developments that would establish Kings Park as one of the premier venues in the country. A further 45 suites were added to the western grandstand and were sold almost immediately. The original eastern embankment was knocked out and 170 suites were built. These were the first of their kind in terms of proximity to the playing field and afforded unparalleled intimate seating.
In 1995, the stadium capacity was then extended to 52 000 for the Rugby World Cup with the development of the Eastern Upper stands. At present the stadium has a seating capacity of 52 500 with 350 private suites and a number of public bars.
Kings Park Stadium had a proud heritage and, for over forty years, hosted many memorable provincial and international events.