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Design & Development

Sky Stadium ready for Women’s World Cup after upgrades

Featured image credit: Photosport

Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand has undergone a series of upgrades as it prepares to host games at the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.

It was announced in September that the stadium would receive NZ$4.1m (£2m/€2.3m/$2.5m) of government and New Zealand Football funding to assist in venue upgrades ahead of the tournament.

Upgrades include a full pitch replacement, upgraded tower and bowl rim LED lighting, as well as gender-neutral changing facilities. The stadium has also been fitted with 40 new entry turnstiles to enable all ticket types, including mobile tickets.

The venue, which will be known as Wellington Regional Stadium during the World Cup, will host nine matches at the tournament, including seven group fixtures, a round-of-16 clash and a quarter-final.

New Zealand is co-hosting the World Cup with Australia from July 20 to August 20. The first match at Sky Stadium will see Spain take on Costa Rica on July 21.

Women’s World Cup lighting standards meant that upgrades to Sky Stadium’s existing floodlighting were required. A total of 392 metal halide fittings were replaced with 404 LED light fittings, with the new system providing better illumination and improved efficiency by reducing energy usage from 748kw to 606kw.

Sky Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said: “The FIFA Women’s World Cup is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase the best of women’s football to the world. These upgrades will ensure that the stadium is ready to host the world’s best female footballers, while leaving a lasting legacy for our region.”

The upgrades are part of a NZ$19m investment by the New Zealand government to upgrade sporting facilities across the country ahead of the Women’s World Cup. The investment will support upgrades at 29 other venues, including Eden Park, Waikato Stadium and Dunedin Stadium.

Sky Stadium hosted an Ed Sheeran concert on February 2, which required the full playing surface to be covered for 10 days. The stadium turf team, alongside Mexteds Sports Turf and HG Turf, removed and replaced 10,000 square metres of turf, with the project involving 12 months of planning.