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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

[Sport] Basin, Reserved

Wellington’s iconic Basin Reserve is to get a new name. The Basin’s new name will be: the Prime Finance Basin Reserve. So actually the Basin will still be the Basin, because nobody except commentators will call it by its full name.

A lot can be said about sports names, especially stadium names. Candlestick Park in San Francisco is now Monster Field for example. Also the long-term deals made for naming rights can mean that stadiums are named after companies that no longer exist.

Prime finance paid “seven figures” for a three year deal. That money will be used to upgrade the stands and other aspects. It would be nice if some of that money could be put into making all the roads go under the reserve. (This is pipe-dream territory)

Without wishing to go too far into Tom’s territory, traffic on game days at the Basin gets all snarled up, mainly because the Basin has no parking. The Basin is not alone in this respect. I can only think of one New Zealand stadium that has adequate parking facilities: the Caketin (Westpac Trust Stadium) but that works more because it is also above the train station and has a dedicated bus service on event days. Southerners may want to correct me on parking facilities in Dunedin and Christchurch. Check out the parking at the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field (photo below, click photo for Google map where you can zoom in).

FedEx Field

It is the largest stadium in the NFL has ample parking and is on major public transport routes (it even has a helipad if you look closely). Or look at the aforementioned Monster Field on a full day. It’d be hell to drive home (barring trains and buses) but at least you can put your car someplace.

I went to the British and Irish (can’t forget the Irish) Lions game against the Bay of Plenty Steamers at Rotorua’s “International” Stadium. Obviously international standards were a little more relaxed when this stadium was built. There was parking for team buses and that was about it. Shuttle buses were picking up passengers directly in front of the gates which meant once out of the stadium you had a crush of people waiting for the bus that was difficult (at best) to get through.

The New York Jets’ recent failed stadium bid for downtown Manhattan (right) had this covered. They planed for a large multi-storey subway platform and transport directly beneath the stadium (apparently it would be pretty hard to make NY traffic any worse anyway). As a side note the plan was for the stadium to be mostly self-sufficient in terms of power as well. It would serve as a convention centre as well, dismissing claims that it would useless outside of sport. A few cafes, shops or restaurants dotted around the base would make it accessible to the public as more than just a sports stadium but as a focal point.

I understand that the Americans have truckloads more money than we do but still, beyond parking and transport issues, in general our stadiums, here in New Zealand, are of a fairly poor standard. Eden Park is crap. Westpac Stadium should’ve had a roof and another tier of seating (but is the best of the bunch).

When we host the (Rugby) World Cup in 2011 we had better have some decent stadiums and at least one with a roof. In 2011 Tauranga will be one of New Zealand’s major centres, larger than Hamilton (and possibly Wellington) on current growth trends. They already have a half-decent stadium in Blue Chip Stadium. That’s half-decent for minor NPC clashes. Currently it doesn’t even have good lights for night games (it does have a good carpark and is on a major public transport route). They need to super-size that stadium and fast!

Crowd control features might be needed too. At today’s cricket match between NZ and Australia (which Australia will win) Westpac Stadium is emptying the first three rows in order to keep irate fans further from players. That means XX unsold tickets. But I imagine that this is less an architecture problem and more of an alcohol one.

That’ll do, I’m off to Hope Bros to watch the cricket and then to catch Deva Mahal. Drop by if you want.

Oh and Jennifer Aniston is letting everyone in the world know that someone has topless photos of her but that she won’t let them see daylight. I mention this here for two reasons.

  • One: to say how mean it is for Aniston to do that considering the sizeable amount of men who will be scouring the net for these picks as we speak.
  • Two: to entice these men to my blog to inflate my hit count (haha).

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