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Fans return to Super Rugby in New Zealand
Spectator sport has returned in New Zealand with a sell-out crowd of close to 20,000 watching the Highlanders beat the Chiefs 28-27 at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium last night.
The first round of the new Super Rugby Aotearoa saw fans gather at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in celebratory mood, with no need for masks or social distancing, as New Zealand marked a week which saw an almost complete easing of Coronavirus restrictions.
On a weekend when New Zealanders also flocked to shops, bars and restaurants, the country became the first nation in the world to allow fans to return following months of cancelled events and deserted stands.
Speaking during the week, Terry Davies, Chief Executive of Forsyth Barr Stadium managers Dunedin Venue Management Limited, told RNZ “two-and-a-half months ago we put a proposal and proposition to our owners - the city - and said 'The reality of where we are is that we may not have any events until early to mid next year'.
"That wasn't just stadium events because also run Dunedin Centre and Town Hall which is our conference and business events. But what we are seeing today our July through to December period is just as busy coming up as it was pre-COVID."
At Auckland’s Eden Park the venue is sold out, with over 43,000 fans anticipated, the biggest for a Blues Super Rugby match in 15 years, for the Blues v Hurricanes clash this afternoon.
The lead up to the match is expected to see an innovative activation for fans featuring athletes artists and world leaders including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Elon Musk, Tyson Fury, Taylor Swift, Steven Adams, Carole Baskin, Dame Julie Andrews, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylie Jenner and Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Looking forward to the fixture and the reopening of the economy, Eden Park Chief Executive, Nick Sautner stated “New Zealand is a global leader in tourism, agriculture and film, and now being able to experience live sport back in stadia together again following the worldwide pandemic.”
Image: Forsyth Barr Stadium.
4th June 2020 - New Zealand looks for return of spectator sport from next week
2nd June 2020 - New Zealand Rugby announces details of new domestic competition
29th May 2020 - New Zealand Cricket advises of planned job losses
18th May 2020 - Taranaki Rugby Union confirms financial restructuring
14th January 2020 - Video shows renovation of Forsyth Barr Stadium’s playing surface
7th May 2019 - Forsyth Barr Stadium welcomes strong start to year
18th February 2019 - 2018 the biggest year for Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium
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