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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Too many stadiums in Auckland? Yeah Right 

I'm getting a bit annoyed of talk back callers, hosts and various others saying that Auckland has too many stadiums.

It's not one city in terms of sports. It's two to three.

We have three stadiums used for professional sport: Eden Park, North Harbour Stadium and Mt Smart.

And how many teams do we have that use these grounds over the course of a year?

The Blues (6-7 games)
Auckland NPC team (6 games)
North Harbour NPC team (6 games)
Counties Manukau NPC team (6 games)
The Warriors (12 games)
Auckland cricket (the odd one dayer and 4 day match on the main field)
New Zealand Knights (11 games plus 2 warm up matches)
Bartercard Cup teams (about 10 matches)
All Blacks (2 games)
Black Caps (2 ODIs and a 5 day test)
Kiwis (1 test a year)
Odd Auckland club rugby game (maybe 5 games)
Odd Auckland club league game (maybe 5 games)
Odd North Harbour club game (maybe 5 games)
* each club comp uses the fields for finals days and the odd other curtainrasier match

By my count that is roughly 90 or so days of sport and there is no way that you can
a) coordinate all of that in one or two venues
b) keep the playing surfaces up to scratch

You could also factor in the Big Day Out concert which takes up the whole surface at Mt Smart and the odd concert at North Harbour Stadium as well.

The football players in the A-League have been complaining about the quality of the surface at North Harbour Stadium in the first two matches there and you can see from the pictures that it is sandy and uneven.

And why?

Because it has had several Bartercard Cup league games through winter and more recently some North Harbour rugby games. It is used virtually every single weekend for an entire year.

Can you imagine if we didn't have that field and all the sides who use it had to squeeze into Mt Smart and Eden Park?

Three stadiums is ideal for Auckland at the moment and it would have to even be an outside possibility that we look at upgrading one or two more so that they get used a shade less.

Sydney would have roughly 15 stadiums which seat over 20,000 thanks to having it's 9 NRL teams (with St George having two home grounds as do the Wests Tigers, while North Sydney Oval is now disused by the NRL but still used for lower grade league and cricket). They also have the olympic stadium and telstra stadium. And they have the Sydney Cricket Ground and Concord Oval to boot.

So yeah, wasted then, just shut up about it.

However, we definitely do have too many half-finished stadiums in Auckland! :)

In fact, you could argue that in a literal sense both Mt Smart and North Shore are less than half-finished, in the sense that proper grandstands extend less than half way around those grounds. Mt Smart has one proper stand (the "main" one) and North Shore has two, from memory.

Eden Park's a nasty hodge-podge of half-arsed stands, and again the only one or maybe two of them are really decent.

It would be kinda cool is someone decided to build a proper (LARGE, FULLY ENCLOSED, with A FULL CIRCLE OF ADEQUATE SEATING) stadium in downtown Auckand, but I'm fucked if I'm paying for it.
Carlaw Park got sold off a year too soon by the looks of it.

It would have been ideal. The train goes literally right past it's top fence (you could see down onto the field from the train as it passed) and you have grafton gully right there with access from pretty much every motorway.

Plus it's a 15-30 minute walk to Queen Street depending on route and walking speed or 5 minutes in shuttle buses.

Too late now though. Auckland City didn't want to spend any money on it and the government had no incentive to spend any money on it either.

The water front option won;t go ahead I think for two reasons.

firstly it will potentially have a massive effect on the economy of Auckland in terms of harm to port operations (which are a daily income earner as opposed to once every few weeks).

secondly because of it's location there are potentials for huge unforeseen budget blowouts particularly concerning site prep and foundations.

There was a guy from Phoenix on radio sport though talking about how they played for their big arena and it has basically come out of visitors pockets who stay in hotels and the city gets a cut of that money to pay for it.

Somebody mentioned taxing visitors to NZ as another way of paying for it. You could perhaps nick a few bucks off visitors but you'd have to conceal it a bit I think.

Maybe they could look at the hotal option in Auckland and get each hotel which stands to benefit to pay a certain amount per guest and combine that with other options such as 5 dollars from each overseas vistor, some private investment a big contirbution from central government and smaller ones from each of the other councils.

I wouldn't mind Waitakere City putting in a few million along with the other city councils. It will be earnt back in the long run and then some.

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