Australasia News: Facial Recognition Tech; Low Sales Hit Country Fests; NZ: Eden Park Gets New Operations GM

WE SEE YOU: Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, already uses facial recognition technology to identify “persons of interest.” Other large Australian venues are being encouraged to adopt the technology.


Move To Monitor Facial Recognition

The Australian government is being urged to introduce greater scrutiny and transparency for the use of facial recognition technology (FTR) in major concert and sporting venues.
A study by consumer rights group CHOICE of 10 venues found four – Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground and Qudos Bank Arena and Allianz Stadium in Sydney – used FTR, while it was “unclear” with Perth’s RAC Arena and Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

Its release sparked a row over privacy, data monetization and the varying extent to which customers are advised they are under surveillance.

CHOICE’s consumer data advocate Kate Bower argued customers were not advised until after the ticket purchase, or warnings are hidden in conditions of entry or privacy policy.
“Even when they do find out, they have no idea what it’s being used for, they’ve got no idea how long their information is stored, how securely it’s stored.”

TEG responded it uses FTR at Qudos Bank Arena to “identify any persons of interest” and “does not collect biometric data in any form” across its divisions.

Venues NSW, which operates Sydney Cricket Ground and Allianz Stadium, “does not monetize facial recognition data.”

Low Sales Hit Country Music Festivals

The trend towards last-minute ticket buys hit two country music festivals.

The inaugural Coastal Country on July 22, an initiative of the Sunshine Coast Council, pulled the plug citing low ticket sales despite the bill including charting singer songwriters Andrew Swift, Caitlyn Shadbolt and Melanie Dyer.

Let’s Wing It (June 10-11) was canceled after sales struggled at 500, well below the 3,200 break-even mark, despite A-listers Brooke McClymont & Adam Eckersley, Fanny Lumsden, Catherine Britt, Andrew Swift and The Bushwackers.

“We can’t walk into a $300,000 (US$200,606) festival hoping for walk-ins,” co-promoter Phill Doring said. “Slow starts are plaguing the entire live sector.”


New GMO For Eden Park

New Zealand’s largest stadium, Auckland’s 50,000-seat Eden Park, appointed Chris Mintern as general manager – operations.

The 20-year veteran of sports, venues and concert events most recently served eight years as head of event delivery and operations at Venues Ōtautahi overseeing Christchurch’s venues and concerts as Elton John and SIX60.

“I am passionate about creating world-class fan and customer experiences that deepen connections, accelerate revenue and drive growth,” said Mintern, who began in Australia at various sporting codes.