Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Live Auckland ... without The Edge: New name and logo for city's events hub

Name-change part of effort to attract more big-name acts to entertainment venues

The new logo for Auckland Live - formally The Edge. Can it help attract more big name acts to Auckland?
The new logo for Auckland Live - formally The Edge. Can it help attract more big name acts to Auckland?

Auckland Live is the new name of the city's home of performing arts and entertainment, which has ditched its The Edge brand in a move to jazz up its marketing appeal and win more acts such as the successful Bruce Springsteen and Eminem shows and the Mary Poppins musical.

The organisation was renamed The Edge 15 years ago from Aotea Centre, then a struggling venue in the city council's "cultural precinct" stable of Aotea Centre and Square, the Civic Theatre and the Auckland Town Hall.

But the name meant nothing to international promoters - the ones who have to be persuaded to bring their shows.

Now, The Edge is said to have lost its sharpness as a marketing name - open to confusion with a radio station and bars and night clubs.

Auckland Live director Robbie Macrae said The Edge was a successful business with $36 million of ticket sales a year and bringing in $250 million a year to the regional economy.

When the Super City was created, Regional Facilities Auckland took over managing the big venues.

This left its business unit, The Edge, to focus on building a programme of events and marketing them.

Auckland Live programmes performing arts and entertainment for Aotea Centre (ASB Theatre and Herald Theatre), the Civic, Auckland Town Hall (Great Hall and Concert Chamber), Aotea Square, Bruce Mason Centre (Takapuna), Mt Smart Stadium, Western Springs Stadium and QBE Stadium (formerly North Harbour Stadium).

Auckland Live will also put more emphasis on making money from ancillary activities such as food and beverage.

The logo for Auckland Live
The logo for Auckland Live


Mr Macrae said a decade ago Auckland missed out on many good shows.

But Auckland's reputation internationally as a market is shown by promoters preparing to risk $10 million or more to bring shows here, because they know they will sell tickets and get a return on their investment.

The benefits for Auckland of having international shows such as Wicked and Mary Poppins had been estimated at 105,908 visitor nights for accommodation and a contribution of $12 million to the regional economy.

"The focus is to put on a show that is exclusive to Auckland to get tourists to come for big shows - about 40 per cent of ticket sales have come from outside of Auckland."

The cost of changing the brand to Auckland Live and creating a new logo was $20,000, because most of the work was done in-house.

Last year, about 90 per cent of Auckland Live's operating costs were met by commercial revenue.

But it received $3.2 million from the Auckland Council to hold free events - community, education and arts development programmes.

This year, the Rolling Stones will play at Mt Smart in November and the 10-hour Soul Fest will be held at Western Springs during Labour Day weekend.

There will be international productions of Annie, Shadowland and The Illusionists 2.0, the return of the Aotea Square Ice Rink, the Auckland International Cabaret Season, NZ Opera's La Traviata, the NZ Symphony Orchestra's Beethoven Symphonies and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's performance of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.

Also returning is the popular free Saturday morning Pick & Mix.

Showtime...

• 902,878 people attended venues

• 1342 individual performances

• 175,000 fans went to Summer 2014 Concerts

• 186,376 children attended live performances

• $36 million annual ticket sales

- NZ Herald

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