New Zealand: Eden Park will have fully covered stands?

source:; author: Maciek Ściłba

New Zealand: Eden Park will have fully covered stands? New Zealand's largest venue can soon become one of the most modern arenas in the world. Plans to upgrade Eden Park are very ambitious, and that means the investment might be really expensive.


What does the future hold for Eden Park?

The national stadium of the largest country in Oceania has a truly long and rich history. It was opened at the very end of the 19th century and has undergone a number of renovations over its nearly 125 years of existence, bringing it up to almost all current standards. Eden Park has hosted major sporting events on numerous occasions like Cricket World Cup matches in 1992 and 2015, as well as the Rugby World Cup in 1987 and 2011. However, it has never hosted a prestigious football tournament. In less than a month this will change thanks to the opening match of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

For New Zealand fans, this is sure to be a complete novelty and an incredible opportunity to see the world's best female footballers live. In addition, they can enjoy a fast payout online casino nz before the audience at Eden Park witnesses this exciting spectacle. It is worth noting that the Auckland venue has not undergone any significant renovations prior to this event. The last refurbishment that took place was in 2010. At that time, a new south stand was built at a cost of $NZ 256 million ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup, giving the stadium a more rectangular shape. Much of the money spent on this investment was taken up by the installation of a transparent ETFE membrane. The membrane is arranged in the shape of a fern leaf, and the inscription "All Blacks" emphasises that one of the main users of the arena is the national rugby team.

Eden Park© Sibi John

How should Eden Park change?

After almost 14 years since the last major refurbishment, there is increasing talk that Eden Park should be upgraded further. As such, a development plan for the stadium has been in the works for the past five years. It was authored by the operator and owner of the facility, the Eden Park Trust Board. It identifies the key points to be realised once funding for the renovation has been secured. According to the concept, a completely new north stand would be built. The west and east sections would be expanded. The pitch would be altered so that, depending on the sport, it could be adapted for cricket matches (oval), or for rugby and football matches (rectangle). This would also allow the number of arena seats to be changed – depending on demand. The most important change, however, would be the roof. It would be retractable, making the venue resemble the well-known Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam and Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

How are these plans being sourced by the facility operator, Auckland authorities and ordinary metropolitan residents? Will the resources needed to implement the plan be found? As Doug McKay, chairman of the Eden Park Trust Board, argues, the chances of the project coming to fruition are heavily dependent on how the city's funding plays out. In 2019, Auckland City Council approved $NZ 63 million in cash support for the facility, of which $NZ 53 million is loans and $10 million is a special grant for immediate expenses. Recent financial reports indicate that the stadium is profitable, as 2022 generated an operating profit of $NZ 7.3 million. After paying off liabilities, it was revealed that it ultimately made a loss of $NZ 3.6 million. As calculated, the redevelopment of Eden Park is expected to cost 40-50% of the amount of building a new facility from scratch.

Despite such reports, authorities in New Zealand's largest city recognise the gigantic potential of country's largest stadium. Over the past several months, following the end of the pandemic, concerts by major music stars have returned to Eden Park and hundreds of thousands of people have passed through the arena. McKay bluntly points out that the biggest competition for the venue he manages are the biggest Australian stadiums and to compete with them modernisation is a must. Also, Shona Tagg - spokeswoman for the Eden Park Residents' Association - conveyed that people living around the existing arena are excited at the thought that the structure could change beyond recognition. They see a huge opportunity for the site to become a multi-purpose entertainment centre.

Eden Park©