With New Zealand’s government officially announcing that the country is “virus free”, the ops team at its national stadium Eden Park has been adding the finishing touches as it prepares for crowds to return this weekend in the revised Super Rugby Aotearoa competition after months of cancelled events and abandoned stands.

Yesterday, to celebrate the return of rugby and his arrival into Auckland’s team – The Blues – two-time World Player of the Year, Beauden Barrett celebrated the kick-off of the world’s first professional tournament with a kick from the roof of Eden Park.

In a world first, New Zealand will welcome fans back en masse as the stadium “kicks back into events and looks to welcome a capacity crowd this weekend,” said a representative of the venue.

“New Zealand is a global leader in tourism, agriculture and film, and now being able to experience live sport back in stadia together again following the worldwide pandemic,” says Nick Sautner, Eden Park’s CEO. “We’re hoping to welcome back 50,000 of our team of 5 million who all played a key role in eliminating COVID-19. A special thank you to all Kiwis who are just as excited as we are to return to watching live sport and entertainment at New Zealand’s national stadium,”

View the video below.

Does Beauden’s kick also signal the restart of the global stadium business? We certainly hope so.