Red Stand 'raises the bar' in Guyana stadium

Patrons enjoy the all-inclusive experience in The Red Stand at the Providence Stadium, Guyana. Photo by Stephon Nicholas
Patrons enjoy the all-inclusive experience in The Red Stand at the Providence Stadium, Guyana. Photo by Stephon Nicholas

AFTER four consecutive years in Trinidad, from 2017 to 2020, the playoffs and final of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) were shifted to Guyana for the 2022 edition.

Also making its way from TT for the enjoyment of Guyanese cricket lovers was the Red Stand, an all-inclusive section, which has been part of CPL games in Trinidad – at the Queen's Park Oval and Brian Lara Cricket Academy – for the past eight years.

The Red Stand, which is owned by Keith Nexar, Tony Sampath and Steve Mathura, features an array of food options, a well-stocked premium bar, waiters to serve guests and security.

The stand has been a hit in Guyana, with the night games involving Guyana Amazon Warriors in particular well attended. The stand can hold approximately 250 patrons.

Sampath told Business Day on Tuesday he felt proud to have the stand at the popular Providence Stadium in Guyana.

Patrons are served food at the VIP all-inclusive stand at Providence Stadium. Image courtesy The Red Stand

"We started in Trinidad as doing something for friends and family, because we all have our own businesses.

"We've done it in Trinidad for eight years and when it (CPL) came to Guyana, we were asked to do it, and that's why we're here. Logistically it was very challenging, but we got it done."

He said some materials for the stand were imported from Trinidad and the remainder was sourced from the host nation.

Sampath said the invitation to bring the stand to Guyana came from the Guyanese government, led by President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

Guyana has signed an agreement with CPL to host the playoffs and finals from 2022-2024. But it is not just cricket on display: the government has organised a cricket carnival, including cultural shows, two mega-concerts – featuring Machel Montano, Beres Hammond, Skillibeng and Spice – a nightly bar-hopping experience, and other events.

Sampath said the Red Stand is part of this new experience.

"They wanted to offer a different dimension to the cricket public in Guyana, as opposed to just sitting in the stands. They wanted a full-service stand, so there's the VIP red stand and there's also another one, so they're introducing new things to Guyana."

The bar at the VIP section of the all-inclusive section, The Red Stand. Image courtesy The Red Stand.

He said the cricket carnival was a brilliant concept to maximise the hosting of the CPL final.

"It's great, it's something new. It's new to CPL and goes well with the CPL – the biggest party in sport.

"The President is very keen on having the cricket finals here. He will do whatever it takes to grow the carnival and cricket."

He said the response from the local public to the stand has been tremendous.

"It was exceptional. Everybody wants to get back out after covid. The response has been good. We supply food, drink and a convenient, comfortable location."

Nexar said President Ali visited the stand in Trinidad five years ago and it left a memorable impression. He said that visit triggered a chain of events that led them to Guyana. He said Ali had visited the stand already and praised it for "raising the bar" in Guyana.

"We've put a footprint in Guyana and we hope to make it bigger and better as we go along."

He added that the stand attracts a number of corporate personnel and is expected to be near capacity for the final.

Taking Business Day on a tour of the Red Stand, Nexar noted that the all-you-can-eat food court was catered by the Original Palm Court, the Georgetown-based buffet-style restaurant.

The Red Stand bar was managed by Demerara Distilleries Ltd with the words "El Dorado Rum" emblazoned on the counter. The Guyanese rum is one of the most popular rums in the world, especially its 12-years-old and 15-years-old bottles.

Nexar said when the stand was conceptualised, he never envisioned it being part of another country's cricket culture.

The entrance to The Red Stand at Providence Stadium, Guyana. Image courtesy The Red Stand.

"We didn't think of this at all, but we're so established and the brand name – Red Stand – is now part of the CPL games.

"CPL has been good to us, we're good partners and they like what we put out."

Apart from the all-inclusive stand for CPL, the Red Stand has hosted a number of all-inclusive fetes in Trinidad.

"Eventually, the company, Red Steel Sports and Entertainment Ltd, that owns Red Stand, we'll not only do cricket but other events in a calendar year."

Asked whether the Red Stand would be seen up the islands next year, Nexar said, "It depends, you never know. There is so much franchise cricket now, but CPL is here to stay, and we are here to stay with CPL."

Guyanese patron Mokesh Daby was in the Red Stand on Tuesday with a group of friends and family having a good time. He said he travels to the US quite often and believes the stand will be a huge hit with the West Indian diaspora coming back home for the games. He praised the initiative and predicted that The Red Stand will grow into a staple in the CPL cricket carnival culture.

Asked what he enjoyed about the stand, Daby said, "The comfort, the convenience, the safety measures, everything being all-inclusive – you don't have to go anywhere to get your food and drinks."

He praised the government of Guyana for marrying cricket with the carnival and putting on a tremendous show.


"Red Stand ‘raises the bar’ in Guyana stadium"

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