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Eden Park targets concert market as revenue generator

Eden Park has submitted a proposal to host up to six concerts per year as part of ongoing efforts to create new revenue streams, while the Auckland venue has been given the green light to stage its first-ever Sunday night cricket match.

The move by the Eden Park Trust Board is also a means to avoid the current process whereby approval for a single concert can cost NZ$100,000 (£49,319/€57,166/$63,489) and take up to 18 months to realise. Board chairman Doug McKay told the Stuff.co.nz website that the application would be entered this month, but could take up to a year to receive approval.

Eden Park is said to be adopting a strategy that would give it the flexibility to host up to six concerts, and then look for events to fill these slots. The staging of music events is said to be vital part of securing the stadium’s future after Auckland Council in March approved a NZ$63m bailout for the venue consisting of NZ$53.5m of loans to address the stadium’s debt, and a NZ$9.8m grant for essential maintenance work over the next three years.

“We have to get our concerts to get more financially independent, to be able to afford over and above what the council is giving us support for,” said McKay. “There’s a lot to do at the Park, and we need a new source of revenue.”

Eden Park currently has a conditional right under Auckland’s Unitary Plan to stage up to six concerts per year, but each needs individual resource consent. Stuff said the prospect of more concerts at Eden Park has divided opinion, with former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who lives locally, a vocal opponent.

“We’re not asking for anything that we are not entitled to already in the Unitary Plan,” said McKay. “Then, if successful, we’ll give the community the commitment as to the type and nature of acts we will try to attract.”

McKay said the application will initially be entered to Auckland Council, but he expects it to go before the Environment Court, which he described as “not a bad thing” if it happened. He added: “I think a concert at Eden Park would be the best concert-goer experience you can have, two-thirds of the audience would be seated, there are the corporate boxes, it has easy access to transport – it would be a great experience for people.”

Meanwhile, a panel of independent commissioners has granted New Zealand’s national stadium resource consent to host a Twenty20 cricket match on January 26, following strong support from local residents and stakeholders.

It was announced today (Wednesday) that the event, which will see New Zealand face India, has attained the green light after a submissions period, which achieved near 97% support from public submissions, and a subsequent hearing on October 9.

The event is scheduled to align with India’s Republic Day and the Sunday of Auckland Anniversary weekend, with Monday being a public holiday. The match was subject to resource consent as Eden Park currently cannot hold night-time fixtures on a Sunday.

Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner said in a statement: “Cricket has been a staple at the Park since 1903 so it’s reassuring there is vast support in the community for our team to continue to deliver these unforgettable matches.

“We look forward to welcoming as many fans as possible through the gates, including those from Auckland’s thriving multicultural community, to create a celebration of Indian sport, culture and cuisine next January.”

Earlier this week, it was announced that Eden Park will stage a rugby league-rugby union double-header next year after the city’s two franchises teamed up on a groundbreaking initiative. The partnership between Super Rugby’s Blues and the National Rugby League’s Vodafone Warriors will see the ‘Codes of Auckland’ event take place at Eden Park on March 21.

Image: Eden Park