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Queensland Government and NRL aim for 50,000 fans a day at Suncorp Stadium during 2021 Magic Round

Queensland Government and NRL aim for 50,000 fans a day at Suncorp Stadium during 2021 Magic Round
February 9, 2021

The Queensland Government and the NRL is hoping to host capacity crowds for this year's Magic Round in Brisbane, when all 16 teams play out of the city’s Suncorp Stadium over three days in May.

First played in 2019, but abandoned last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Queensland Government and the NRL expect all 272 players will travel to Brisbane to play eight matches over the weekend of 14th to 16th May.

Anticipating that 50,000 fans will be able to attend each day, Queensland's Tourism and Sport Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe advised “in 2019, more than 91,000 fans enjoy the Magic Round (and) I am sure we can top that this year and see more than 29,000 visitors come from interstate

"$22 million will be injected into the city's economy, which will be very welcome to Brisbane.”

Confident that the NRL can drive a move to near capacity venues, ARL Commissioner, Kate Jones stated “we are back … and we want blockbuster crowds.

"The NRL has done a lot of work to ensure we are COVID safe and will continue to work with authorities to ensure we can have a full house for the long weekend.

"We wouldn't have been able to do this without help from the Queensland Government and local government, and this shows the NRL continues to be innovative and do what other codes can't deliver."

While the NRL hopes the event will proceed as normal if infection rates remain low, some Coronavirus restrictions will still be in place.

The ASM Global-managed Suncorp Stadium has been a leader in developing a series of industry-leading safety and hygiene protocols for venues, providing trusted protection for the live experience as facilities in Australia and around the world have moved to reopen in the post-Coronavirus environment.

In an exclusive interview in the latest issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Harvey Lister, APAC Chairman and Chief Executive of ASM Global (Asia Pacific), commented on the VenueShield initiative and the role of Suncorp Stadium General Manager, Alan Graham in its development.

Lister advised “we have deployed Venue Shield in more than 350 venues globally - providing for the local conditions and local government requirements in each country, state and/or region.

“It gave us great comfort that we were able to provide that type of resource, the first in our industry.

“But even more pleasing than that was, we put together a team of a hundred of ASM Global’s smartest people - including 11 of our people from our Asian-Pacific region - to deliver it.

“We divided these people - the real brains in our organisation, our front line operations people with experience across every sector of the business - up into seven different working groups and they were doing Zoom calls every day. They put the Venue Shield guide together, bringing in international expertise, medical universities, including risk consultants here in Australia and others that allowed us, by June, to be working differently and be well placed to be among the first venues to start coming back.

“Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane was one of the first, with our General Manager at Suncorp Stadium, Allan Graham, having been part of the Venue Shield team.

Referencing back to NRL games returning to the venue after its COVID enforced closure, Lister added “the event plan that he and his team at Suncorp Stadium put together enabled us to start accommodating fans again, at Brisbane Broncos games initially, was so impressive that it was adopted by the company in every other region of the world.”

To read the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine, click here to subscribe.

Images: Crowds at third State of Origin 2020 clash at Suncorp Stadium (top, credit; Blair Hughes) and the venue's COVIDSafe protocols as of its reopening (below).

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22nd September 2020 - NRL announces ‘brutal’ job cuts as it looks to slash $50 million in costs

15th September 2020 - Brisbane to host fans’ return to international cricket with women’s series

2nd September 2020 - AFL announces Brisbane’s The Gabba as 2020 Grand Final venue

17th August 2020 - NRL warns of ‘strongest possible’ penalties for racial abuse by fans at Central Coast Stadium

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26th July 2020 - NRL broadcasts lose more than a million viewers since competition restart

10th July 2020 - VenueShield protocols drive reopening of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

27th June 2020 - ASM Global releases operational plans for the reopening of its arenas, stadia, theatres and convention centres

18th June 2020 - Live Entertainment Industry Forum welcomes return of sports fans in Queensland

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30th April 2020 - Federal Sports Minister warns that NRL’s return could be threatened by players’ breach of social distancing requirements

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