The New South Wales Government has opted to bring the operation of Sydney’s Accor and CommBank Stadiums in-house with the news that the contract of management and hospitality services company, VenuesLive, will not be extended.
The NSW Government will instead operate the two stadia, which it owns, through its Venues NSW agency. Venues NSW will assume direct operation and management of the Western Sydney venues from January 1.
In a statement on the takeover, Venues NSW told Australasian Leisure Management that it “will employ significantly more staff directly to deliver a strong schedule of events, with the majority of the current stadiums’ operational and event delivery employees to be offered new roles”.
It added: “The change in stadium operation will deliver a consistent customer experience across the Venues NSW network and will continue to capitalise on the NSW Government’s significant investment in major public entertainment and sporting facilities.”
The Venues NSW network comprises more than A$4bn (£2.08bn/€2.38bn/$2.54bn) of public community assets, which host some 500 major sport and entertainment events in undisrupted years, attracting upwards of five million attendees each year.
In Sydney, Venues NSW owns the Sydney Cricket Ground and Allianz Stadium in Eastern Sydney, as well as Accor Stadium and CommBank Stadium in Western Sydney, on behalf of the NSW Government.
Asked about the reasons behind the operational change, a spokesperson for NSW Minister for Sport, Steve Kamper, said: “Venues NSW was created to provide long-term oversight and direction across the fantastic sporting and entertainment venues in this state.
“Accor Stadium and Commbank Stadium will be fully incorporated into the Venues NSW network, as VenuesLive’s contract expires at the end of the year. We want to be the premier destination city in the Asia Pacific and to do that we need to capitalise on the incredible facilities this state has to offer.
“Importantly, this will provide significant opportunities to champion local businesses that will benefit the state economy and solidify NSW’s position as the home of major events.”
Gema to offer ‘ultimate taste of Sydney’
In associated news, Western Sydney-headquartered Gema Group has been selected as the exclusive hospitality experience partner at Accor Stadium and CommBank Stadium.
Following what is said to have been an extensive competitive tender process run under the NSW Government procurement framework, the partnership will see some of Sydney’s most popular restaurants and brands available for patrons at the two venues.
At Accor Stadium, the two terraces will be transformed into event day destinations, with Ribs & Burgers and award-winning Lebanese restaurant Al Aseel reimagining these spaces, serving a mix of their favourite dishes in the stadium setting for the first time.
Accor Stadium members will enjoy a renewed dining and bar experience, with The Meat and Wine Co., a unique African-inspired steakhouse, Ribs & Burgers, and Al Aseel available. For selected major events at Accor Stadium, Nobu will bring to life a premium hospitality experience through a “unique, high-quality offering”.
As part of a major Event Chef Series, Accor Stadium will see Spanish-Australian chef Miguel Maestre, French-Australian chef and restaurateur Manu Feildel and award-winning pastry chef Anna Polyviou provide bespoke menus for major event and non-match day packages.
Gema Group managing director, Paul Valenti, said: “We’re bringing the best of western Sydney’s diverse food and wine culture into NSW’s major venues. We look forward to giving the millions of people who attend sporting and entertainment events the ultimate taste of Sydney.”
Venues NSW chief executive, Kerrie Mather, added: “We’re incredibly excited to partner with Gema Group who will revolutionise the event experience for the millions of fans who visit Accor Stadium and CommBank Stadium.
“We will be giving fans the ultimate choice of cuisine; reflecting the diverse communities who attend our events and Sydney’s richness of culture.”