Why New Zealand needs to get real on sta­dium size

Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - A strong case can be made for Brodie Re­tal­lick be­ing our most valu­able All Black right now.

The big­gest re­ac­tion to the Christchurch sta­dium pro­pos­als this week is that, at 25,000 seats with the abil­ity to add an­other 5000, it’s too small.

Why would a city the size of Christchurch need any­thing over 30,000?

The All Blacks would pre­sum­ably play there each sea­son — that’s one guar­an­teed sell-out a year.

Don’t bank on the Cru­saders do­ing that for any­thing other than a Su­per Rugby fi­nal.

Let’s not ig­nore trends over­seas. The NRL are re­assess­ing their sta­dium strate­gies.

Crowds are down and the old Olympic sta­dium looks aw­ful empty, so they’re con­sid­er­ing go­ing back to sub­ur­ban grounds. Auck­land should be look­ing at a cen­tralised sta­dium of no more than 35,000 seats. Why go big when it’s go­ing to spend most of its work­ing life half-empty?

Can you imag­ine the War­riors, or Blues, or a Mitre 10 game in a cav­ernous 50,000-seat sta­dium? There’s a sim­ple case for smaller equalling bet­ter. Cre­ate a fab­u­lous, in­ti­mate, rec­tan­gu­lar arena for not just sport, but events that will make turn­ing up fun and the ex­pe­ri­ence bear­able again.

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