50,000 at stadium in record biggest week

Warriors player Konrad Hurrell high-fives with children from the Fairfield School kapa haka group...
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.-
: 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


- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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