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The SPICE Arena is an indoor arena located in the township of Bayan Baru in Penang, Malaysia. It serves as Penang's main indoor sports centre as well as the preferred venue within the city-state for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).[1]

SPICE Arena, Penang (2).jpg
SPICE Arena is located in George Town, Penang
Location within    George Town in    Penang
Former namesPenang International Sports Arena
LocationBayan Baru, Penang
Coordinates5°19′42″N 100°16′51″E / 5.328349°N 100.280827°E / 5.328349; 100.280827Coordinates: 5°19′42″N 100°16′51″E / 5.328349°N 100.280827°E / 5.328349; 100.280827
OwnerPenang Island City Council
OperatorSP Setia

Originally named the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA), the complex initially consisted of an indoor arena and a swimming centre. Since its completion in 2000, PISA has hosted national and international sports events, including the 2000 Sukma Games, the 2001 Southeast Asian Games and the 2013 Women's World Open Squash Championship.

Between 2011 and 2017, PISA underwent major renovation works conducted by SP Setia, a major Malaysian property developer.[1] The refurbished indoor arena, renamed as the SPICE Arena, is now supplemented in its role as a MICE venue by the new RM284 million SPICE Convention & Exhibition Centre.[2] In addition, the renovation project included the upgrading of the swimming centre, now known as the SPICE Aquatic Centre, which was completed in 2016.[3][4]


The Penang International Sports Arena (PISA), along with its adjacent aquatics centre, was completed in 2000 in time for the Sukma Games, a biannual national-level multi-sports tournament.[5] At the time, PISA served as the venue for basketball and swimming events.

In the following year, PISA became the venue for the wushu and judo events of the 2001 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games). PISA was one of the three SEA Games venues within Penang, while the majority of the other sporting events were held in Kuala Lumpur. Another international sports event that was held within PISA is the 2013 Women's World Open Squash Championship, which included among its participants Nicol David, the Penang-born squash player (and world number 1 at that point).


In 2011, a public-private partnership project was undertaken between the Penang Island Municipal Council (now Penang Island City Council) and SP Setia, a major Malaysian property firm, for the renovation and upgrading of PISA.[6][7] SP Setia would bear most of the estimated RM300 million cost for the project, and would be given a 30-year concession to manage and maintain SPICE prior to its eventual handover to the Penang Island City Council.[6][8]

A total of RM22 million was spent on the renovation of PISA, which was subsequently renamed the SPICE Arena.[1] Renovation works had to be carried out intermittently, as the venue remained open for MICE events. Meanwhile, the newly-refurbished SPICE Aquatic Centre was opened to the public in 2016.[3][4] In 2017, the SPICE Convention & Exhibition Centre, which has an internal capacity of 4,500 m2 (48,000 sq ft), was launched.[2][9][10] Aside from these facilities, SPICE Canopy, the retail component of the project, was also completed in 2015.[4]

A four-star hotel situated adjacent to these facilities is currently under construction.[1][3][4] The hotel is scheduled for completion by 2019.


SPICE ArenaEdit

Interior of the SPICE Arena

The SPICE Arena, with an internal space of 33,000 sq ft (3,100 m2), can accommodate 10,000 guests in a terrace-style seating arrangement, or 180 exhibition booths.[1][11] The arena's capacity is further boosted by the 42,000 sq ft (3,900 m2) Concourse at Level 3, which can sit a further 250 booths.

SPICE Convention & Exhibition CentreEdit

The new SPICE Convention & Exhibition Centre, which can accommodate up to 400 banquet tables or 8,000 theatre-style seats, complements the existing SPICE Arena in its role as a MICE venue.[2] Its 1,858 m2 (20,000 sq ft) grand foyer adds to its capacity by another 150 round tables. It also has 13 function rooms of varying sizes.

Notably, the GBI-certified SPICE Convention & Exhibition Centre is the world's first hybrid solar-powered convention centre, with electricity being generated from a 4,546 m2 (48,930 sq ft) solar farm on the SPICE Aquatic Centre.[1][12] The building incorporates energy conservation practices as well, with 654 energy-efficient light bulbs illuminating its roof.[12] Moreover, the building houses the largest urban spice farm in Malaysia, which is sited at its rooftop along with a playground for special needs children.[2][12]

SPICE Aquatic CentreEdit

SPICE Aquatic Centre, a community swimming centre which also serves as a venue for major indoor aquatic sports events.

The upgraded SPICE Aquatic Centre, which was opened in 2016, contains a wide variety of sports amenities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a diving pool and a water them park for children, as well as badminton courts and squash courts.[3][4][7] The centre also comes with function rooms, a cafe, a sports clinic and a swimming school.

The solar farm on the rooftop of the SPICE Aquatic Centre and the SPICE Canopy is the largest commercial solar photovoltaic farm in Penang, capable of generating up to 980MW hour of electricity in a single year.[7]

SPICE CanopyEdit

The SPICE Canopy is the retail component of the renovation project by SP Setia. Launched in 2015, it consists of 59 leasable retail spaces.[4][9]

Notable eventsEdit

The Penang International Science Fair is held at the arena every November.[13]

  • G.E.M. – Queen of Hearts World Tour (30 June 2018)
  • Joker Xue – Skyscraper World Tour (14 February 2019)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Filmer, Andrea (May 2017). "The MICE Industry Matures". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  2. ^ a b c d "One of Penang's most iconic landmarks, The Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  3. ^ a b c d "SP Setia unveils SPICE Aquatic Centre in Penang". NST Online. 2016-01-28. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Zabidi, Nor Diana. "Portal Rasmi Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang - The Official Opening of The Aquatic Centre at SPICE Arena". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  5. ^ "Bayan Baru E-Community". Archived from the original on 2009-02-19.
  6. ^ a b "Archives | The Star Online". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  7. ^ a b c "Spicing up the island Aquatic centre promises splashing fun for visitors - Metro News | The Star Online". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  8. ^ "TMI". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Setia SPICE Convention Centre to hold maiden event in first weekend - Metro News | The Star Online". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  10. ^ "RM650m convention centre to open in February". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  11. ^ "One of Penang's most iconic landmarks, The Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  12. ^ a b c "SPICE Convention Centre runs on hybrid solar power - Metro News | The Star Online". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  13. ^

External linksEdit

  Media related to Spice Arena at Wikimedia Commons