Stakeholders behind the new North Queensland Stadium have agreed a partnership with Ticketmaster, while maintaining that the 25,000-seat venue will be ready for the start of the 2020 National Rugby League (NRL) Premiership season despite unprecedented flooding in the region earlier this year.
Ticketmaster has been named as the official ticketing agent for the A$290m (£157m/€182m/$205.8m) facility, which is located in Townsville and will serve as the new home of the NRL’s North Queensland Cowboys.
Ticketmaster has an existing relationship with the Cowboys, serving as the current provider for the team’s membership platform. Ticketmaster Australia managing director Maria O’Connor said: “Ticketmaster has a regionally-focused content strategy, and we’re committed to doing our best to attract major events to the venue, while also supporting community development.
“Our focus for North Queensland Stadium is distinctly local and are pleased to be opening dedicated ticketing outlets in Townsville, Mackay and Cairns as part of this deal. We’re committed to customer service, fan engagement and providing fans a safe and secure ticketing experience, and we look forward to providing this to patrons in North Queensland.”
North Queensland Stadium manager Glenn Arboitt said Ticketmaster would help ensure the stadium becomes North Queensland’s premier entertainment destination. “This is going to be a world-class stadium not only for sporting events, but other major entertainment events, concerts and community events,” Arboitt said.
“Ticketmaster has a proven track record in Australia, servicing several major hirers at venues like The Gabba and Marvel Stadium, and also successfully implementing ticketing arrangements during the commissioning of Optus Stadium in Perth.
“Ticketmaster’s wealth of experience in ticketing and technology has helped them lead the ticketing landscape for decades, and through their global network they can help Townsville attract major events.”
North Queensland Stadium is a joint project of the Queensland government, Australian government and Townsville City Council and is supported by both the NRL and the Cowboys. The stadium forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.
The Ticketmaster deal has been announced after Queensland’s Housing and Public Works Minister, Mick de Brenni, yesterday (Thursday) said the stadium contractor, Watpac, has sought an extension to the practical completion date of the venue. However, he remains confident the project will still open on schedule.
“Even with this inevitable delay we will still have plenty of time to put the venue through all its paces and it is still on track to be ready for the 2020 NRL season kick-off,” said de Brenni. “This is great news for Townsville and the Cowboys,” he said.
De Brenni said his department was working with Watpac on an updated program of works for practical completion of the stadium that reflected the full impact of this year’s extreme weather event.
“The floods had a huge impact on local businesses, including those helping to build the stadium,” he said. “It was always going to take some to gauge the full impact of the floods and Watpac has now asked that we extend the practical completion date and we are working through how we accommodate that.”
While the construction site itself was not severely affected, de Brenni said that during the event contractors and workers needed to protect their homes and businesses, and those of their families and friends, before the long task of cleaning up. He added: “I have visited the site and Watpac have given me a promise that they will make it happen on time.”