Auckland Stadiums Strategy On Hold

Auckland Council has put a freeze on the five-year-old Auckland stadiums strategy, according to the Herald On Sunday.  

Mt Smart Stadium
Sky View Photography
– Mt Smart Stadium

The ambitious project was to revamp the oval at Western Springs, moving speedway events from there starting March 2019, while cricket would be shifted to Western Spring from Eden Park from 2021.

The paper said that Council instructed its Regional Facilities Auckland organisation, which was driving the changes, there are to be “no significant changes to stadia until the future of Eden Park and a national stadium proposal is clearer.”

It is believed that neither speedway nor cricket authorities want to make the moves. Cost of the strategy has escalated from NZ$30 million ($21 million) to $100 million ($70million).

In the meantime, Auckland Stadiums’ director Paul Nisbet is expecting one of its busiest summers for concerts, with Sia’s Dec. 5 and Paul McCartney’s Dec. 16 sets at Mt Smart Stadium followed by Foo Fighters on Feb. 3 and three Ed Sheeran shows in early March at the venue which has a 47,000 capacity for concerts.

Meantime, Auckland City Limits is expected to draw 25,000 to Western Springs March 3, which has 50,000 capacity for concerts. 

Nisbet expects to see Mt. Smart ranked in the Top 20 of stadiums globally in the past year and in the Top 5 in the Asia Pacific region.

“This shows that there is an appetite for stadium concerts in New Zealand and that we have been able to maximise the use of our venues in Auckland to provide access for promoters and fans,” he said. According to Regional Facilities Auckland, concerts in 2014 added NZ$23.8 million ($16.6 million) for the city with half of the total 230,000 draw coming from outside Auckland.