New plans for media box

Sports journalists may get a different home in the Forsyth Barr Stadium, as its developers look for new ways to maximise its income.

The Carisbrook Stadium Trust is considering moving the media box from the south to the north stand in a move it hopes will ultimately be cost-neutral.

Trust chairman Malcolm Farry said the change, which was still being developed, was not critical to the project "but could make quite a lot of economic sense".

The media box would not replace seats in the north stand, but it would free up space for more seats in the south stand.

That would mean the venue had more seats and corporate packages to sell, and more chance to develop a solid stream of new operational income.

Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis suggested at the council's finance, strategy and development committee meeting this week that it might mean infrastructure such as lifts would have to be installed.

Mr Farry said he expected the swap to be made cost-neutral "by what we save on the south side".

He confirmed the old plans were considered by Rugby World Cup officials, but that the potential change was not an issue.

"We are still looking at it as a possibility only at this stage, and we still have time to make that change if we become convinced it is a better option and we can confirm the economics of it."

Options were also being considered for the Academy of Sport moving to the back of the north stand.

Discussions continued with suppliers of the 5000 relocatable seats needed for the stadium.

At this week's committee meeting, trust member Stewart Barnett said officials expected to make financial and design decisions by late January.

The seats would be considered an operational cost and were factored into the stadium's budget, Mr Farry confirmed later.

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