International promoters are eyeing Dunedin for regular sell-out concerts after Forsyth Barr Stadium delivered strong ticket sales and a nearly $20million boost to the city's economy, the man in charge says.
Figures released by Dunedin Venues Management Ltd yesterday showed big concerts by Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond and Fleetwood Mac had together pumped an estimated $19.7million into the city's economy this year.
DVML chief executive Terry Davies said the results showed the stadium was delivering on "two key drivers'' - delivering economic benefits and a boost to the city's pride.
It was also impressing international concert promoters across the industry, as the city and its stadium now appeared to be "the talk of the town'', he said.
Last month's sell-out show by Fleetwood Mac led the economic charge, contributing $8.9million after pulling in about 35,000 fans, of whom more than half (59%) were from outside Dunedin, the survey showed.
Rod Stewart's April show came second, drawing 22,052 fans, 68% of them from outside Dunedin, who together contributed $7.2million to the city's economy.
Neil Diamond was third, with 13,073 fans, 59% from outside Dunedin, tipping in $3.6million.
The results were based on surveys sent to ticket-holders after each show, which also showed the majority of fans for each show came from around the South Island, mainly from Canterbury, other parts of Otago and Southland.
"What has happened in the last 12 months is from being a high-risk venue to bring international content, we're now at the forefront,'' Mr Davies said.
"After this round of ticket sales, promoters are suggesting this [major concerts] might be a regular occurrence here.
"That's a consistent conversation with all the major promoters,'' he said.
The results - particularly in attracting nearly 50,000 fans to two concerts less than a month apart - were something DVML and the city should be "very satisfied with'', he said.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull agreed, saying the "world-class'' venue was delivering big crowds, as well as big acts, to the city.
"As well as the obvious economic benefits, it is great to be able to welcome so many visitors to the city as a result.''
The stadium remained a controversial project for some, with lingering questions about its ability to deliver without an annual injection of $11.65million in ratepayer funding.
But Mr Davies said the results showed ratepayers were getting something for their money.
"The reality with this is without the roofed stadium ... the city wouldn't have had that content coming through. That's pretty obvious.
"The stadium's up. It's here, and to deliver those sorts of results, and if we can deliver it again in 2016-17, or better, that'll be great.''
The benefits of the roof were underscored during recent weather-affected concerts when thousands of Fleetwood Mac fans were soaked in Auckland, and AC/DC retreated from the stage for nearly an hour in Wellington, he said.
"We're delivering a great experience for the artists [and] for the punters. It's an easy experience for the production crews.
"A conversation 12 months or 18 months ago, about us hosting two or three shows of 30,000-plus, would've just been fanciful. Now it's absolutely real.''
Mr Davies declined to say which acts were being targeted beyond Black Sabbath's show next April, but signs were promising for the second half of 2016 and into 2017.