Transtasman stadium stoush
Sporting bosses face-off over similar event at Kiwi and Aussie arenas
Atranstasman war of words has broken out between two sporting bosses over a similar event held at two of Australasia’s most famous sporting grounds.
The clash between Eden Park Trust chief executive Nick Sautner and Nick Cutler — publisher of Australian Golf Digest and organiser of a stadium golf event at Adelaide Oval — began when, according to Cutler, Sautner sent a “wishy-washy legal letter” claiming there were similarities between the Adelaide event and Eden Park’s G9 golf event.
The Eden Park event teed off for a week in November last year, with a repeat week-long event wrapping up last night. The Adelaide event began last Monday and Cutler told Australian media: “hitting high above the stands down on to the playing surfaces is just not repeated anywhere else in the world, particularly not on golf courses”.
Sautner told the Herald on Sunday that Eden Park Trust was “surprised and disappointed” with Cutler’s comments, given representatives from Golf Digest took part in Eden Park’s event in 2017.
“Although the Adelaide Oval’s launch event had the identical grounds markings . . . they did change the field markings for their actual event once in market — arguably an acknowledgement of this being identical in nature and compromising Eden Park’s IP [intellectual property] around our G9 event.”
The stadium boss sent the newspaper a list of similarities between Eden Park and Adelaide Oval’s stadium golf set-ups, including the green layout, scoring system, holes, course layout and the longest drive simulator.
But Cutler said they had not copied Eden Park — stadium golf had been around since 2015 in the United States.
“Eden Park was by no means the first to run this event in the world. Adelaide Oval is not unique — the whole concept is not unique.”
He stood by his comment to Australian media because no stadium or golf course was the same.
“We teed off in front of the iconic Adelaide Oval scoreboard . . . in front of the fig trees, the dressing room. That’s what I meant by that quote. You can’t do that anywhere else.”
Cutler also said they had not changed ground markings.
“The only thing we changed was a colour from yellow to white in regards to a scoring area.”
Sautner had contacted him “all huff and puff” earlier this year, sending a “wishy-washy legal letter” about the Adelaide Oval golf plans.
The Herald on Sunday hasn’t seen that letter, but Cutler’s response to Saunter in September, which the newspaper has seen, shows he claimed that stadium golf “has been around [in] various forms in other parts of the world since 2015”.
Cutler had more advice for Sautner. “My understanding is Eden Park will be fighting to retain any sort of relevance in the Auckland sporting landscape should the new stadium proposal get up.
“I would suggest Nick focus his time and effort here.”
Eden Park is fighting for its future after a consortium’s proposal for a new national stadium sunken into the Auckland waterfront.
Sautner said that his team was “committed to challenging perceptions of how Eden Park can be utilised”.
“Embracing change and modernising our operations by incubating events like this enables the park to evolve . . . We look forward to exporting the G9 concept developed in New Zealand around the globe.”
Eden Park Trust chief executive Nick Sautner, left, and Nick Cutler, who runs a golfing event at Adelaide Oval.