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Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium ready to claim world first with return of fans

Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium ready to claim world first with return of fans
June 6, 2020

Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium will potentially claim a world-first next week it the New Zealand Government allows spectators to again attend sporting events.

With New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expected to announce on Monday whether the country will ease its Coronavirus restrictions to Level 1, there is hope fans will then be able to buy tickets for the Super Rugby Aotearoa clash between the Highlanders and the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium next Saturday (13th June).

If the easing goes ahead as of next Wednesday, the game will be the first top-class live sporting event with largely unrestricted spectator access since the Coronavirus crisis halted sporting events around the world.

Advising that there is a sense of excitement about getting fans into the Stadium, Highlanders Chief Executive Roger Clark told media this week “we could be the first live sporting event (with fans) in the world so you've got to be excited about that.

"Of course we have to wait until Monday and see what the Prime Minister says, but if we get the go-ahead, then that would be great."

"This could be a history-making, world-first event, the first of its kind since the pandemic.”

Terry Davies, Chief Executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML), the company that runs Forsyth Barr Stadium and other venues in the city, told 1News “we're ready to go if the Government and the Minister of Health give us the go ahead.

“We're ready to roll. It would be amazing to see a full house. Two weeks ago, we had no-one here.”

Davies added precautions like ticket tracing are likely to be used for the first few rounds.

Last month, facing the prospect of no events being held at its venues for an extended period, DVML cut its workforce in half, disestablishing 16 of 32 total positions.

At the time, Davies told the Otago Daily Times “decisions made by the Government around restrictions on mass gatherings, the need for physical distancing and the New Zealand borders closing have had an immediate and devastating impact on DVML’s revenue.”

In addition, staff who remained employed by DVML agreed to an immediate and indefinite reduction in salary, a shorter working week and to take a period of leave.

Tickets could go on sale for the Highlanders and the Chiefs clash at 4.30pm on Monday if the easing is agreed.

Image: International rugby at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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11th May 2020 - Coronavirus and financial losses push New Zealand Rugby to lay off half its staff

8th May 2020 - New Zealand Government announces framework for return of professional rugby and netball competitions

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1st May 2020 - Coronavirus has multi-billion dollar negative impact on global sport

14th January 2020 - Video shows renovation of Forsyth Barr Stadium’s playing surface

4th July 2019 - Dunedin City Council to undertake sports field review

25th May 2019 - Risks of local government investment in major venues highlighted in Forsyth Barr stadium study

12th March 2019 - Viagogo blamed as 200 refused entry to Dunedin concert

9th August 2018 - Forsyth Barr Stadium events contribute $55 million into the Dunedin economy

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