DVML wants Sevens for stadium

### ODT Online Fri, 8 Jan 2010
Plan to bid for Sevens
By Chris Morris
A plot to poach the Wellington Sevens rugby tournament for Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium is being hatched in the deep South. The annual NZI Sevens event – which attracts 16 teams, 50,000 visitors and millions of dollars of spending – was on a list of events to be targeted by Dunedin Venues Management Ltd for the city’s new stadium.
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Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Economics, Events, Geography, Politics, Project management, Sport, Stadiums

10 responses to “DVML wants Sevens for stadium

  1. Phil

    If David can pull that one off, then he probably deserves the salary. It will be very interesting to follow the sales pitch and arguments from all sides.

    If we didn’t have a stadium with a roof, we wouldn’t be attempting this, so that has to be the prime argument for. I recall there being rain on various occasions over the years of the Wellington event, but I can’t say that I ever recall it being an issue. Especially with the Wellington event being held in early February. Likewise in the UK tournament locations. Maybe it has been behind the scenes. It would be good to take weather out of the equation, but not convinced that it’ll be the deal winning argument.

    There is still the unanswered question of the durability of the natural turf surface, so there might be some questions there. It’s been shown that they can make the grass grow, that’s ok. But the consultant report does advise caution and care with the turf, suggesting that it be used sparingly during the football season. So I wonder if there will be a question in the minds of the event promotors over the ability of the turf to survive for 3 continuous days of rugby. With the Super 14 (or whatever it is now) starting a week later. Unfortunately, no-one will know if the turf has been successful until after the decision date for the 7s competition. So a gamble there for the promoters.

    The biggest task for Mr Davis and his team will be to convince the event promoters that people will travel to Dunedin from the large population centres. Wellington holds the upperhand there as people from Auckland and Hamilton can drive to Wellington if they want to. And obviously an established flight path hub. I’ve been at Dunedin airport on the Friday of the Wellington 7s tournament, and seen business groups heading off to Wellington for the weekend. So we do support the event. Not in any numbers that have any effect, but we are there.

    The question is going to be asked about whether sufficient numbers will get on a plane in Auckland and travel south. Or whether they will choose to stay home and watch it on Sky. Having a relatively small seating capacity, maybe we can fill it with bums from Christchurch and south. In which case, we don’t need North Island patronage. A full stadium is a full stadium. The downside to that is that there is little financial spinoff for the community. If half of the people attending are from Dunedin then there’s not much in the deal for the hotel/motel industry.

    The NZRFU do tend to trundle out the party line on occasions that major games should be played in the regions where growth in the sport can be maximised. Which is another way of saying “Auckland”. So Mr Davis is going to have to convince the union that there is a significant advantage to them in playing the showpiece tournament outside of the main rugby playing population areas. If he can do that, then he’s probably a greater asset to the city than the stadium.

  2. Richard

    I have been aware for some months (as have some others who have frequent contact with those who live “north”) that the rest of NZ is just waking up to the “threat” of the FB Stadium and that its roof guarantees any scheduled event taking place regardless of the weather.

    So, no heavy insurance premiums for the promoters or franchise holders (or whatever) that require a certain rainfall to occur before the ‘cancellation payout’ needs to be paid etc.

    South Islanders WILL drive to Dunedin for something special. People from Nelson used to do that just to catch the former Freedom Air flights to OZ. Just a few, of course, but they certainly came in numbers from anywhere around Christchurch et al.

    The catch will be just how many hundreds of thousands of dollars the Wellington CC will put up just to retain the Sevens.

    It may not be enough.

    With changing climatic conditions, it all starts to look quite different!

  3. Richard

    So, where is ‘our’ summer?

    • Elizabeth

      I won’t tempt fate of What if? becoming a simulation of ODT Online with its dreary comments and interminable ‘essays’ about climate change and Arctic ice. Amazing the editor didn’t shut that lot down months ago. Boring as all hell.

  4. Richard

    So, I hear! Not a debate I would want to get into!

    Anyway, I was not intending to refer to ‘climate change’ per se – should have been more careful and used ‘changeable climate’ or my usual reference to Dunedin being ‘naturally air-conditioned’!!

    Not certain how to describe today though!

  5. James

    In relation to the serviceability of the turf, it should be fine in February I would imagine. The difference in sun intensity between Feb and the middle of winter is marked. Talking about 3-4 times as much solar energy. Compare Feb with June here

    In a related note about travelability, I attended the Pearl Jam concert in Christchurch recently, which featured a pretty solid amount of drizzle. With respect to FB stadium, there has been discussion about acoustics, but I suspect it can’t be worse than the massive rebounding echo from the two new stands at AMI/Jade/whatever. That concert attracted ~30,000 punters, including people I know from Wellington, Queenstown and Invercargill. Half of my under 40 workmates also went up for the concert. This is pretty serious mobility. It provides a modicum of optimism.

  6. “The catch will be just how many hundreds of thousands of dollars the Wellington CC will put up just to retain the Sevens.”
    The catch will be how many many hundreds of thousands of dollars the Dunedin CC will put up to gain the Sevens. And where the money will come from.
    Most opponents of the Stadium are reconciled the the fact the City is committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars financing the Stadium, and are waiting to see if it turns out to be viable.
    But one thing certain to raise the temperature of the debate again is any attempt to spend further City money on subsidising, guaranteeing, or attracting events to the venue.

  7. Richard

    The Wellington CC has long had a substantial budget for events and promotions. My recollection is it runs to a couple of million dollars, maybe more.

    Dunedin CC also has a longstanding but much more modest EVENTS budget. It is allocated each year according to the merits of applications. I do not envisage it being increased.

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