New Zealand Super Rugby team the Chiefs is planning on converting shipping containers into corporate boxes in a move designed to attract high-profile sponsors.

The Stuff.co.nz website reported that the plan will set the team back NZ$1.7m (£862,000/€989,000/$1.2m), although the move will need support from the council first.

The team is based in the city of Hamilton and plays at FMG Stadium Waikato, which has a capacity of 25,800 and is owned by Hamilton City Council.

“If Hamilton City Council want to assume ownership, it won’t go ahead,” Chiefs commercial manager Sean Austin said, according to Stuff.co.nz. “The direction some councillors are indicating will make it very difficult for my board to sign off.”

Fourteen container-style corporate suites would be built under the plans. They would be located at the east end of the stadium, with each one to seat 20 guests.

Stuff.co.nz reported that the team will pay all building and installation costs but the council has been asked to provide up to NZ$15,000 for the resource consent.

“Rugby is the place where business still gets done,” Austin added. “Of the 450 lounge spaces behind glass, it is our highest yielding asset and off those we hinge our sponsorship revenue which is 75 per cent of total revenue in the Chiefs’ business.”

Councillor Dave Macpherson said that the Chiefs should be willing to pay for the resource consent application on top of the construction and installation costs.

He said: “When the Western Community Centre wanted to put up buildings on Elliot Park, they were required by council to pay $11,000 plus GST for their resource consents. How is this different?

“I don’t support giving what amounts to handouts to professional sports.”

Fellow councillor James Casson argued that the organisation would make back the NZ$15,000 within the first year of the suites being in place.

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