50,000 at stadium in record biggest week

Warriors player Konrad Hurrell high-fives with children from the Fairfield School kapa haka group at a welcome for the team at Dunedin International Airport yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Warriors player Konrad Hurrell high-fives with children from the Fairfield School kapa haka group at a welcome for the team at Dunedin International Airport yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Forsyth Barr Stadium is set for its biggest week yet, with more than 50,000 punters expected through the turnstiles this week.

Those fans were expected to chew their way through 4500 pies and three tonnes of hot chips, and drink 11,000 cans of soft drink, 15,000 cans of beer and 16,000 litres of tap beer.

Completed events this week include the Winery Tour and Otago University Students' Association Orientation events, which culminated in a 5500 sellout for Macklemore last night.

An estimated 35,000 sports fans are expected to attend games between the Highlanders and the Chiefs (tonight), and the Warriors v Broncos pre-season match (tomorrow night).

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive Darren Burden said this week's events, which also included a lunch and an official welcome, made it the busiest for the venue and highlighted its versatility.

''In an ideal world, we would have spread the events out, but what a fantastic week this is for the stadium when we have more than 50,000 coming through.''

The end of the financial year would show just how varied the events had been, he said. They included Nitro Circus, Ride the Rhythm, All Whites, Phoenix, Paul Simon and a regular Sunday market.

''I think people are now proud the stadium is here.

''They are proud and making it part of their own.

''There is buy-in from the students who are saying: `We have come to study in Dunedin and we are going to use our stadium'.''

Stadium income came from venue hire, commissions from catering firm Compass Group New Zealand, and merchandise and ticketing commissions, but ''this varies from event to event'', he said.

In addition to the casual staff employed by the security firm and catering company at the ground, DVML staffing numbers were ''pretty lean'', and it was common for staff to help run events in their own time.

''It comes down to looking after some of the costs and making sure we are as efficient as we possibly can [be], so on Toga Night, for example, I was out there wristbanding students.

''But what better way to understand your venue then to be up close when the students are coming in.''

Mr Burden was in his office at 6.30am yesterday and was not expected home until 1am today after the Macklemore gig.

He was looking forward to the introduction of rugby league to the stadium tomorrow.

''The issue for me is demonstrating to rugby league that this is an exciting place to come to. We have a captive audience here.

''If we can get 15,000 people here for what is effectively a pre-season ... then my hope is we will secure an NRL league game next season.''


Eight days at the stadium
Forsyth Barr Stadium events.-
Sunday
: Winery tour (1400)
Monday: University student welcome (2500), OUSA hypnotist (2120), Otago Polytech welcome (150)
Tuesday: Toga party (2450)
Wednesday: Comedy night (2120 - estimate)
Thursday: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (5500), Faculty of Dentistry welcome (200)
Friday: Highlanders v Chiefs (20,000 - estimate), Club Otago medical lunch (150)
Saturday: Warriors v Broncos (15,000)

TOTAL: 51,590

SOURCE: DVML


- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

Paying your way

Colvin: I agree about the fundraising. We're still waiting for the rugby community to start raising the money they promised. They started by offering us Carisbrook for free to sell to help pay for it, then they took it back and made us over pay them $7m for it. Then they promised to raise $45m in 'private fundraising' but never raised a cent .... we're still waiting.

As far as ticket prices are concerned, if any group - rugby or any other - is not prepared to at least pay the break even costs of their use of the stadium then let's pass on letting them use it. I think that rugby fans are capable of paying their way, I don't think they are as lazy and cheap as you suggest, just used to a sense of entitlement that makes them think that we owe them a living.

The solution is simple - just do what they do in the US have Sky black out local games that haven't sold out. Sky has the technology - all it would take would be for the NZRFU to grow a pair next time they negotiate.

Well done Colvin

We get called anti-stadium people but all we wanted was what was first promoted - a stadium for those who'd enjoy it, that wouldn't be a burden on the ratepayers.  And you have said it perfectly: "It's never too late to fundraise. There's enough bright people in Dunedin to find a solution and reduce the burden on the city, afterall Dunedin is a university town..... Frankly, I believe some form of public ownership through possibly the stockmarket, the rugby and other clubs, the original founders, using the brand building of the Highlanders and the marketing income that complete package could attract." 
Exactly!  It's only because this has been not forthcoming - not so much as a sausage sizzle - that people like Mike keep pushing the alternative i.e. that users of it should pay the true cost, no ratepayer subsidies, no bull-dust.

 

 

Not a stupid idea

Claret: the library's not competing with some private library using ratepayer's money I don't understand your comparison with the for-profit rugby stadium. Those 30,000 going to the rugby stadium are paying the city only a few of dollars each to DVML to get in. If Hoyts discover that they can't pay their mortgage what do they do? They don't nip up the street and shake down a few ratepayers - they do what any other business does, they put up their prices until they are earning more than they are paying out.

This is the mistake the ORFU never learned, and it's why they almost went bankrupt. You have to charge more for your tickets than what it costs to run your ground - it's a lesson that DVML needs to learn. Now that you are in a brand spanking new rugby stadium and the city paid off the ORFU's debt and bought the Carisbrook millstone from around their necks at an inflated price do you really think it costs the city the same amount to put on a rugby game as it did when the ORFU was losing money on each one? Of course not - you need to be paying twice what you were when you were losing money for using those crappy old premises. This is simple economics, business 101 - not a stupid idea. [Abridged]

 

Well done

Well, whatever anyone's views are relating to the existence of the stadium it would seem obvious that the stadium has permanently changed the lives of the majority of Dunedin's population for the better by offering a first class arena for world class events.  51,000 people attending 11 events in one week is exceptional and credit must be given to those who made this happen.

Nothwithstanding this success, it doesn't take away from the fact that the original sourcing efforts to raise the funds needed to construct the stadium did not produce the capital required.

It's never too late to fundraise. There's enough bright people in Dunedin to find a solution and reduce the burden on the city, afterall Dunedin is a university town. Closing the stadium is not an option; neither is, I'm sorry to say Mike, the idea of raising ticket prices to higher than the market will bear.

Frankly, I believe some form of public ownership through possibly the stockmarket, the rugby and other clubs, the original founders, using the brand building of the Highlanders and the marketing income that complete package could attract. But then I'm an optimist. Challenges are there to be overcome.

Inaccurate rhetoric

Digger: "Many-probably most- of those going are not paying for
entrance fees".  Really? So most of the 30-odd thousand going to the rugby and league games will be getting in for free? Mate, you're dreaming.

MikeStK: Great. Lets run, say, the library under your proposed cost model.  If it isn't making money charge the library's users at least as much as it actually costs for them to use it, including overheads.  Yeah, stupid idea, isn't it?   

Sad

Pretty sad you two cant just say: "Hey, well done for the week - how about keeping it going?" [Abridged]

 

Free entry?

Most of those attending are not paying? Not this nonsense again. Where are these free tickets coming from? Get me some now! Pretty sure 5500 students did attend Macklemore for free. [Abridged]

 

Uninformed comments

Almost all of these people will be paying customers. Lets stick to the facts and not comment unless we have them.

Does it make money?

Digger: I agree. This is just more spin - it must be election year. Really the only question that's important isn't "how many people went to the stadium this week?" -  it's "did it break even for the year?" if the ratepayers are still subsidising it's existence it doesn't deserve to be open - it's a for-profit entertainment business competing with other private businesses (like Hoyts, Rialto etc) that don't receive public subsidies like rates relief orthe ratepayers being forced to cover their losses.

And if it isn't making money there's a simple solution - charge the rugby stadium's users at least as much as it actually costs for them to use it, including overheads - so lets see those rugby tickets increase so that DVML gets more that just a few dollars a head per game.

More stadium spin

One busy week for the stadium doesn't make it a success. Many-probably most- of those going are not paying for entrance fees- like with the students for Orientation Week. We also don't know what the stadium gains from hiring out the stadium (if anything) or the percentage of gate takings. The stadium continues to bleed the city financially whatever 'feel good' DVML puts on it.

This is basically promotional spin from DVML and the ODT has kindly printed it. 

White Elephant?

But no, it's a white elephant, cry the DAPL. 

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