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Darren Burden named SMG’s Project Executive Director for Hong Kong Kai Tak Sports Park project
Experienced venue professional Darren Burden has been appointed as SMG’s Project Executive Director for the Kai Tak Sports Park development in Hong Kong.
SMG, part of the Kai Tak Sports Park Limited (KTSPL) consortium that is building Hong Kong’s largest ever sports infrastructure project, is one of the world’s largest venue managers and is set to merge with AEG Facilities as a new global entity, ASM Global.
Set to open in 2023, Burden will head venue management and operations as part of the design, build, operate contract for the 28 hectare precinct. The project comprises a 50,000-seat stadium, 10,000 capacity arena, 5,000-seat public sports ground, 60,000 metre² of retail space, and public open spaces.
Burden has most recently worked as a consultant for the NSW Government, leading the business case for the redevelopment of ANZ Stadium, the former Olympic Stadium, in Sydney and prior to that as an operations adviser on the newly completed Bankwest Stadium in Western Sydney.
Until July 2018, Burden spent nearly five years as Chief Executive of Vbase, manager of Christchurch’s leading venues including Horncastle Arena, AMI Stadium, Hagley Oval, Air Force Museum Wigram, and the Christchurch Town Hall.
Before moving to Vbase Darren spent seven years in Dunedin, firstly working as the Chief Executive of the trust established to masterplan and build Forsyth Barr Stadium in time for Rugby World Cup 2011. He then became Chief Executive of Dunedin Venues, operator of the Stadium as well as the Dunedin Centre and Town Hall.
Burden has been involved in a number of other venue developments including the redevelopment of Christchurch Town Hall, the major refurbishment of the Dunedin Centre and the opening of Hagley Oval in time for Cricket World Cup 2015.
At the end of 2016 Burden was named ‘Venue Executive of the Year’ and ‘Supreme Venue Person of the Year’ by the Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand at their annual awards. Last year he was named as Asia Pacific ‘Venue Professional of the Year’ by the Venue Management Association.
He originally trained as a surveyor in the UK holding a degree in Building Surveying and becoming a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Subsequently he became a Project Director for one of the largest construction consultancies in the UK.
He holds an MBA and was previously Deputy Chair of YHA NZ.
Images: Darren Burden (top) and how the main stadium at the Kai Tak Sports Park will look when hosting rugby sevens after 2023 (below).
25th April 2019 - Work commences on Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Sports Park development
8th February 2019 - AEG Facilities and SMG announce merger to create global venue management giant
30th January 2019 - Vbase looks forward to sporting events and international concerts
28th December 2018 - Hong Kong Government awards contract for Kai Tak Sports Park development
15th October 2018 - Two proposals submitted for Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Sports Parks development
6th July 2018 - Vbase Chair praises outgoing chief executive
4th July 2018 - Christchurch City Council reveals plans to restructure Vbase
24th May 2018 - VMA recognises professional excellence at 2018 industry awards
1st February 2018 - Suppliers sought for Kai Tak Sports Park project
20th November 2013 - Darren Burden to leave Dunedin Venues for Christchurch Vbase role
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