Park nam­ing rights an op­tion

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

SELL­ING the nam­ing rights to Eden Park is one op­tion the ground’s new trust board will con­sider as it seeks to make up a $12 mil­lion short­fall in its re­de­vel­op­ment bud­get.

The board was reshuf­fled last month, with five new gov­ern­ment ap­pointees re­flect­ing the tax­pay­ers’ $190m in­vest­ment in the up­grade.

New chair­man John Waller, who also chairs the Eden Park Re­de­vel­op­ment Board, says with construction ahead of sched­ule, the trust board’s fo­cus will now move to rais­ing the money needed to com­plete the $240m project.

“We re­ally con­cen­trated on get­ting the park up and run­ning to start with. Now we’re looking at find­ing qual­ity spon­sor­ship.

“It’s a nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion. We’re fo­cus­ing on how we can make the park a proud as­set for the Auck­land re­gion.”

Re­nam­ing the park, along with sell­ing the nam­ing rights to grand­stands and of­fer­ing dif­fer­ent mem­ber­ship op­tions, are just some of the ways that have been iden­ti­fied to bal­ance the books.

Mr Waller says the board will need to make some tough de­ci­sions.

“It’s tricky and we need to make sure we’ve looked at all the pos­si­ble spon­sor­ship op­tions.”

But he ac­knowl­edges the name Eden Park is im­por­tant to many dif­fer­ent groups, in­clud­ing the In­ter­na­tional Rugby Board which awarded New Zealand the tour­na­ment.

Out­go­ing Eden Park Re­de­vel­op­ment Board chief ex­ec­u­tive Adam Fee­ley says po­ten­tial nam­ing rights is the big­gest as­set the board has at its dis­posal.

How­ever, he says if nam- ing rights were sold, the ti­tle Eden Park may stand side by side with the name of a com­mer­cial part­ner.

“To be hon­est some spon­sors see the value of be­ing as­so­ci­ated with the name of the park.”

New board mem­ber and sports lawyer Derek Dal­low says Eden Park is an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised brand and any change would need to be care­fully con­sid­ered.

“What the value of that brand is I’m not sure, but it has a lot of his­tory.”

He says se­cur­ing longterm spon­sor­ship be­yond the 2011 Rugby World Cup is also im­por­tant for the fi- nan­cial sta­bil­ity of the sta­dium.

Board mem­ber and Auck­land Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Rex Smith says the name Eden Park is im­por­tant in both a his­tor­i­cal and com­mer­cial sense.

“Eden Park as a brand is some­thing the pre­vi­ous board were very keen to pro­tect.

“I would be sur­prised if we move away from that.”

He says while cricket and rugby main­tain their rights to use the park, he hopes the ground will get more use from other sport­ing and cul­tural groups once the re­de­vel­op­ment is fin­ished.

Mr Waller says hold­ing more events at the sta­dium is cru­cial.

“If you look at its use com­pared with other sta­di­ums in Aus­trala­sia, it’s prob­a­bly used less than oth­ers.”

Join­ing Mr Waller, Mr Smith and Mr Dal­low on the new board are for­mer Na­tional Party pres­i­dent Michelle Boag, for­mer ASB Bank chief Hugh Bur­rett and busi­ness­man Mor­ris Pita.

Robert Fisher and War­wick Ni­coll from the pre­vi­ous board re­tain their po­si­tions, while Auck­land Rugby’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive is Greg Muir.

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