Confidence football will be popular

Terry Davies.
Terry Davies.
Dunedin Venues Management Ltd is to underwrite next month's top-tier football clash between English Premier League team Newcastle United and Sydney FC at Forsyth Barr Stadium, it has been confirmed.

However, DVML chief executive Terry Davies told the Otago Daily Times he was confident the deal ''ticked all of our boxes'' and any financial risk was ''minimal''.

As part of the deal, DVML has agreed to pay an underwrite fee to the Wellington Phoenix club, which organised the Football United Tour featuring three three clubs and another EPL team, West Ham.

The Newcastle-Sydney clash in Dunedin on July 22 will be the only South Island fixture in the four-match exhibition tour, with other matches in Auckland and Wellington.

Mr Davies said the size of DVML's payment to the Phoenix remained commercially sensitive, but it left the company with the goal of selling about 9500 tickets to break even.

So far, about 3500 had been sold, which was a good start when attention remained on next weekend's All Blacks test at the stadium, he said.

A crowd of up to 15,000 was hoped for and Mr Davies expected DVML to break even or make a small profit from the fixture.

The real benefit would come from the international exposure to a television audience of 3.5 million people - through Australia, Asia and Europe - and the economic benefits if fans travelled to Dunedin for the clash, he said.

The fixture was expected to lure some fans to the city, but ''we're not going to get carried away on that one'', he said.

Ground members and other stakeholders would get free entry, as part of a push to increase benefits for supporters of the venue, he said.

DVML was also in talks to stage a community skills session featuring some of the players at the stadium ahead of the match, he said.

The event had been assessed against those priorities before DVML decided to bid for it, and stacked up well, he believed.

''The intent on this was never to make a lot of money. It was to deliver all those other elements.

''All of those tick boxes get ticked, and we won't lose any money, and the members get free entry, which is a great product.''

Mr Davies was confident at least 9500 tickets would be sold, on top of free entry for the 2200 ground members.

Expectations for the crowd had been measured against previous football matches at the venue, including Wellington Phoenix's first appearance in 2011, which drew a crowd of 15,000, and their last, in March last year, which drew just 3000.

''If you were to be rational about this, it [next month's crowd] would sit somewhere in-between.''

However, he was confident the financial risk from underwriting the event was ''minimal, if not mitigated''.

''There's always risk, but the reality on this is we've mitigated our risk by negotiating a competitive underwrite but also by ensuring the reasons we're bringing the event in tick all of our boxes.''

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment