Perth’s Optus Stadium is embarking on a snap recruitment drive as it quickly prepares for what could be a post-COVID record crowd for the southern hemisphere on Friday.

Western Australia will allow 100-per-cent capacity at arenas from this week, and 55,000 fans are expected at the Optus Stadium for the Australian Football League (AFL) clash between West Coast and Collingwood.

While stadium and sport chiefs welcome the return of fans and full stands, the quick turnaround is causing headaches in that hundreds more workers are needed at short notice.

The Optus Stadium website is filled with job opportunities, from chefs to kiosk operators and customer services personnel to staffing services coordinators.

While around 1,500 staff are lined up, it is expected around 600 more positions will need to be filled. The events staff recruitment drive follows the end of the Federal Government’s JobKeeper Payment and JobSeeker Payment at the end of March.

Stadium chief executive Mike McKenna told The West Live: “We’re a couple of hundred short at the moment, and we’re making phone calls to people who have worked for us before, we’re recruiting flat out, so anybody who’d like to work at the stadium, and that could be in customer service, greeting people at the gate or at the top of aisles, working in any of our food and beverage outlets, or premium hospitality spaces, or if they’re a chef or just moving beer kegs around the venue.

“Anybody who wants to work, we’re looking to recruit.”

RAC Arena, the city’s major indoor arena, is also on a recruitment drive with up to 13,000 expected at the 15,000-capacity venue to watch the Perth Wildcats play Illawarra Hawks tomorrow (Friday) night.

RAC Arena is currently recruiting to fill around 80 casual positions. Once event touring kicks off and the venue is operating at pre-COVID levels again, there will be a requirement for a further 300 casual positions to be filled.

Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti said in a statement: “It is fantastic news for Western Australians looking for employment opportunities following the Premier’s announcement that venues will be back to 100-per-cent capacity.

“Western Australia is on the track to recovery and we are committed to ensuring employment opportunities continue to rise. This is one of our highest priorities.

“If you’re looking for a position where no two days are the same, then the State Government strongly encourages you to check out the RAC Arena and Optus Stadium websites for some fantastic opportunities to create memorable experiences for the people of WA.”

Last week, Australia’s Federal Government agreed to a set of principles for tackling the coronavirus crisis going forward, including that large, ticketed and seated gatherings can now pack seats to a 100-per-cent capacity. Individual states must then decide whether they wish to maintain restrictions. Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced that full stadiums would be allowed in the state within hours.

The biggest crowd recorded in the southern hemisphere since the COVID-19 lockdown was the 51,723 recorded at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Victoria on March 25 for the AFL game between Collingwood and Carlton.

Capacity at the MCG is currently limited to 75 per cent, or about 75,000 people, but it is possible that could be lifted to 100-per-cent capacity in time for ANZAC Day games later this month. The current stadium capacity in Victoria is 75 per cent, and the AFL has previously said it was hopeful of being able to fill the MCG for the Collingwood-Essendon match on April 25.

The biggest crowd worldwide over the last year is believed to be the 67,200 that attended the Twenty20 cricket game between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on March 12.

Main Image: Evad37/CC0 1.0/cropped for size

Other Images: Optus Stadium