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Fans return to Super Rugby in New Zealand

Fans return to Super Rugby in New Zealand
June 14, 2020

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.

Related Articles

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

5th June 2020 - Eden Park Chief Executive ‘thrilled’ at prospect of again welcoming fans to watch live sport

4th June 2020 - New Zealand looks for return of spectator sport from next week

8th June 2020 - New Zealand Government lifts all internal Coronavirus restrictions

3rd June 2020 - New Zealand Government moves to eliminate Coronavirus restrictions

2nd June 2020 - New Zealand Rugby announces details of new domestic competition

29th May 2020 - New Zealand Cricket advises of planned job losses

28th May 2020 - Christchurch venue manager Vbase confirms plan to reduce permanent staff by 60%

21st May 2020 - New Zealand events bodies submit industry recovery plan to Government

20th May 2020 - Global sports sponsorship market predicted to fall by 37% this year

18th May 2020 - Taranaki Rugby Union confirms financial restructuring

17th May 2020 - New Zealand budget includes $265 million for sport and recreation

19th May 2020 - Quality of Eden Park’s playing surface recognised by New Zealand Cricket

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

8th May 2020 - World Rugby releases guidelines for top level matches to be held in closed stadiums

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

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

7th May 2019 - Forsyth Barr Stadium welcomes strong start to year

18th February 2019 - 2018 the biggest year for Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium

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


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