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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stade de Farce

So our options for a venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final seem to be

  • Eden Park
  • Bledisloe Wharf
  • [undisclosed] other waterfront location.

If it’s either of the last two we’ll get something called Stadium Aotearoa. Wooooo

What a terrible name by the way. Stadiums shouldn’t be named anything like that because then it’s harder to sell naming rights later (remember the Basin Reserve’s problems) and naming rights help pay for the thing. I believe that for New Zealand’s premiere rugby venue you could expect $5M over three years for naming rights, at least.

Bledisloe Wharf

Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard got a little too excited over the Bledisloe Wharf idea, claiming that ground work could start on “the next Tuesday” if the Government O.K.ed it. Ports of Auckland pulled him back saying that no such thing could happen while they were still around. See Bledisloe Wharf is a large section of the Ports of Auckland, the same ports through which a THIRD of NZ exports and imports move through, the same Ports of Auckland that contribute huge amounts of money into our economy, the same Ports of Auckland that are the reason that the Auckland motorway system is so important.

Moreover, there is a Treaty Claim on the land by Ngati Whatua o Orakei that has to be taken into consideration. This might not be a deal breaker but it’s pretty bad that that Ngati Whatua weren’t consulted earlier.

And finally we’ve been lied to slightly. We’ve all seen the pics of the “the Bedpan” (left).

That stadium is the Allianz Arena in Munich. The Arena is a large football (soccer) stadium that featured prominently in the recent Football World Cup and is the home field for Munich’s two local teams.

Using the magic of Google Maps I laid the Allianz Arena onto the Bledisloe Wharf but no matter how I tried, I wouldn’t actually fit. It kept spilling out the side.

Then I see on Campbell Live that the idea also calls for the extension of the wharf meaning we get this:

It looks like the Bledisloe idea is dead and it's a good thing.

Eden Park

If another stadium is built in Auckland, Eden Park is dead. Just like Athletic Park in Wellington. Eden Park has giant amounts of rugby history behind it. There’s even a French clothing brand called Eden Park based on a rugby game (played with pink bow ties I believe).

The redesign looks good but doesn’t address the biggest issues about the park. The number one problem being that it is located right in the middle of a very rich suburb. The other problem is that it isn’t a stadium; it’s a collection of stands.

Also if we are doing up Eden Park we can’t hold events there. Or if we do the upgrade in parts we’ll never be able to reach capacity and so will be making less money from the park on the years leading into 2011.

I would leave Eden Park even though at the moment it is the “best” option on the table.

Other waterfront location

Where? Where are you going to put a stadium on Auckland’s Waterfront? Have a look.

Now where are you going to put a 60,000+ seat stadium? 60,000 seats mean 60,000 people. And lets be honest most of them will drive. I did a post about stadiums a while back. In that I briefly discussed the parking issue. At the time New York was bidding for the Olympics and had proposed a wonderful waterfront stadium. One that was much cooler than most stadiums I’ve seen recently (self-sustained power and water purification). But it got killed because it was going to disrupt the city too much. And that stadium had a train station IN IT!

Traffic along Auckland’s waterfront gets backed up if it’s a sunny day. Dominion Road after (and before) a Rugby game is horrible! And let’s not forget Auckland has a large part of its population on the other side of the harbour. Can they catch the train to the waterfront? Let’s go back to Munich’s Allianz Arena. Seen in it's natural state (below).

Notice that it’s on two major highways and what looks like a rail system as well. There is nothing like that on the Auckland waterfront. Nothing at all. In fact by putting the thing on the waterfront you are blocking three directions for people leave the stadium. (Westpac Stadium in Wellington is similar but not the same). A ferry service could work but probably wouldn’t be too practical.

So can we please, please, stop talking about the Auckland waterfront as an option? It just plain isn’t. It should be in Auckland though. And whatever happens, the new stadium needs to be called Eden Park (which the Eden Park trust can pay for).

So what about all of the other games? I assume that wherever the new stadium goes that’s where the All Blacks will be based for the tournament. But what about the other big teams that will have large numbers of followers? England, Australia, South Africa? Where are they going to play?

Our current list of stadiums is (North to South):

  • Somewhere in Auckland
  • North Harbour “Stadium” (One stand doesn’t make it a stadium)
  • Rugby Park (Hamilton)
  • Westpac Trust Stadium (Wellington)
  • Jade Stadium (Christchurch)
  • Carisbrook (Dunedin, also undergoing possible redevelopment)

Smaller venues include

  • Tauranga
  • Rotorua
  • New Plymouth
  • Napier
  • Invercargill

Shouldn’t we be trying to milk this cash cow? Why aren’t we upgrading ALL of our stadiums to pack in those Poms, Ockers, and Yarpies and fleece them for every penny? And why aren’t the smaller venues saying things like “we can host Japan versus Tonga”?

By the way, I would love to watch Japan versus Tonga.


Anonymous said...

This fable, published 2 months ago, pretty much sums it up.


Michelle said...


I was wondering if you might be interested in publishing some articles regarding sports?

all the best,

the mallet said...

Nice work but i disagree with the naming rights bit. They should give it one name and that is the name it should stay. Jade stadium doesn’t have anywhere near the class that Lancaster park does.
And help pay for the thing? You must be kidding. $5m over three years wouldn’t pay the ablution cleaning bill.
I dont necessarily agree with Stadium Aotearoa (it reeks of aussieism) but then I also think Telecom Stadium, or Johnny Cockanballs Arena would be awful (no offence to Johnny C).

Hadyn said...

$5m over three years would probably cover the stadium upkeep. Then you have other events to boost income (conferences, weddings*, concerts etc).

But there's little tricks to naming sponsorship. For example Denver's Mile High Stadium actually has a coporate name, but it's the field that has the name. So you get "Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium". So we could have "Company X Stadium at Eden Park". It would work nicely because you could get money from both Company X and the Eden Park Trust. HaHah!

*A friend of mine went to a wedding at Eden Park

the mallet said...

Dude upkeep over three years? According to the annual report from westpac stadium, operating costs for 2004 were $6.16 million. Naming rights covers the gold backscratchers for the fat cats.
BTW Rugby Park in Hamilton aint called Rugby Park no more.

Hadyn said...

Weeell, just bump up the cost a little. Also you get the rights to name the stands (ASB Stand etc) and rooms (Otago University conference room etc). Every bit you get from naming rights is money you don't have to worry about coming from other areas.

Then again, apparently the big money is in corporate boxes and allocated seats.

And I knew Rugby Park wasn't Rugby Park I just couldn't remember what it was called now. It's not Johnny Cockanballs Arena is it?

the mallet said...

fair point.
Yeah corp boxes are where its at. If anyone out there would like to invite the Dropkicks to "rate your corporate box", please contact us here www.dropkicks.blogspot.com.

Man it should be Johnny Cockanballs Arena. That would be mad!
May be his brother Roger named it....
Isnt it Waikato Stadium?