What kind of stadium does Auckland need?

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An artists impression in 2006 of a Waterfront Stadium for Auckland.
An artists impression in 2006 of a Waterfront Stadium for Auckland.

The waterfront stadium debate has returned in the last week but what exactly is it that Auckland needs in terms of a sportsground?

Herald sports writers Wynne Gray, Chris Rattue and Patrick McKendry share their thoughts on how big the stadium should be and what it should look like.

1) Does Auckland need a CBD stadium?

Wynne Gray: Auckland needs a stadium which can host multiple events, is easily accessed and run as a profitable business.

Chris Rattue: First and foremost, this city needs a dedicated football stadium which provides the ultimate in viewing experience and atmosphere. If the Eden Park site is the most suitable, then so be it. But Eden Park, in its current form, is so far off the mark it is a joke. The central city does seem like the right location in terms of atmosphere and spinoffs for the restaurants and pubs etc etc. At some point, the decision has to be made - to stop throwing good money after bad at Eden Park in its current form.

Patrick McKendry: Yes - Eden Park is a dog's breakfast and we can't keep pouring money into it. A CBD stadium is the answer and it must come in conjunction with a clear plan for the future of Auckland's waterfront.

Read more:

John Key: Government won't be paying for Auckland waterfront stadium
Eric Watson: Build it and the Warriors will make it their home
Visions for a new national stadium
For and against: Waterfront stadium

2) Which size and shape should it be?

Wynne Gray: Boutique rectangular size with crowd capacity about 30,000 and a grass surface to cope with repeat traffic. A roof and cantilevered platform to allow such diverse events as concerts, circus, motorbike demos, fashion shows, conventions and rallies.

Chris Rattue: Rectangular...as in for football. I would say an Auckland stadium should have a capacity of 40,000, with two tiers. For smaller games, the top tier would be closed. This is about providing for Auckland and Aucklanders, the real people, not protecting an outdated stadium in order to play one All Black test and maybe one big cricket match a year. If the All Blacks have to play in front of slightly smaller crowds, so be it.

Patrick McKendry: Football field shaped - see Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane or Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium. 35,000-40,000 would be about right.

3) Who pays for it?

Wynne Gray: Anyone who wants to be a shareholder. No restrictions, all offers considered.

Chris Rattue: I've long believed Auckland needs a stadium czar to pull it all together. Private/public money. Lifetime seats. Naming rights. Asia. Selling the land at current stadiums. Whatever it takes. Cities around the world manage to build appropriate stadiums, so why can't Auckland?

Patrick McKendry: Mixture of private investment, Auckland rate payers, and central government.

4) Any stadiums in the world it should be modelled off?

Wynne Gray:Suncorp meets the shape and Dunedin is on the money with the seating pitch giving spectators a great connection to the action. Hong Kong stadium and Thomond Park have the right feel too.

Chris Rattue: Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane is perfect. That sort of stadium should not be horrendously expensive to build.

Patrick McKendry: See above. Suncorp in particular is the perfect model. The crowd needs to be close to the field - that must be a non negotiable.

5) What happens to cricket?

Wynne Gray: Cricket has so many levels, styles and audiences for club, provincial, test, T20 and one-dayers, that it needs to decide where it should be played. One things is for certain though-Eden Park does not suit either of our national winter and summer codes.

Chris Rattue: That is something for cricket to sort out, but they hardly play tests in Auckland anyway. It is ridiculous to hold the football codes - which draw the most interest and play regularly - to ransom in order to protect a sport which might provide one major short-form game a year. Even then, the interest is only moderate when teams like Sri Lanka are touring. Seddon Park is close enough - put on transport to Hamilton. Between them, the Blues and Warriors play 20-plus home games a year and a stadium of 40,000 capacity would be ideal for league tests and could attract a State of Origin game now and then. A decent football ground would also draw a couple of Wellington Phoenix games a year and turn Auckland into the home venue for the All Whites.

Patrick McKendry: Develop Western Springs into a Hagley Park type oval. Motorsport can go to Mt Smart as the Warriors will play in new CBD stadium.

- NZ Herald

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