Tony Veitch: Eden Park has massive limitations

By Tony Veitch

General view of Eden Park during the first ODI. Photo / Getty
General view of Eden Park during the first ODI. Photo / Getty

Same thing, different day.

It's fair to say my relationship with Eden Park is not exactly flourishing.

I was never a fan of the rebuild and I'm still not a fan of this concrete jungle, with such massive limitations in a residential zone but which is still deemed to be our 'National Stadium'.

We have tried mediation, to mend fences and explain the inner workings of this flawed stadium. I even went along one day to pour some beers, to see exactly how quickly you could service the needs of a thirsty crowd. I was not great, by the way.

But it's time to admit we are so philosophically apart that there is no coming back.

I admire Eden Park chief executive Guy Ngata for at least trying to change things up, trying to get concerts into the old lady before that concept was unceremoniously shut down by the residents and the wondrous Resource Management Act.

But here is the issue for Eden Park and, for that matter, every other stadium in this country. For those who paid hard-earned cash to go, an amazing sporting contest between the Black Caps and Australia, culminating in Aussie batsman Marcus Stoinis' heroics, was overshadowed by the game-day experience, which sucked.

If you don't believe me, here's what Peter Williams, who has lived and breathed sport his whole life and seen more live sport in different parts of the world than most Kiwis, had to say: "Eden Park, you are a disgrace to NZ Sports, entertainment and the hospitality industry. A great cricket match spoiled by ridiculous rules. Stay at home and avoid warm beer and awful food." Well said, Peter.

My NewstalkZB producer Guy Heveldt had his own issues. There was a public holiday surcharge, which meant mid-range beer in a plastic bottle was $9.90.

Queues made that taste even more unbearable, and a limit on beers made the end of play no fun for anyone.

When will the day come when sport in this country, in our major stadiums, is dominated by the on-field heroics and not what's off it?

Even the streaker was an unwanted distraction from a memorable day of sporting theatre.
At a time when sport is suffering like never before, when the remote is the modern day jewel in your sporting arsenal, and when all codes are fighting diminishing crowds, a repeat of last Monday must not happen.

I'm not claiming to have all the answers, but when red blooded sports fans who've experienced stadiums all over the world say "enough is enough", you know we have a big problem.

When is private information in the public interest?

This is one of the great questions facing all of us in this world where social media, instantaneous interaction and gossip-mongering has never been more intense.

So Chiefs and All Blacks first five-eighths Aaron Cruden bites back at the media for delving into his new income in France. Disrespectful? Not appreciated, says Cruden.

But as someone who believes we in the media go way too far in some reporting of sporting lives and stories, on this one, I cannot agree with Cruden.

Yes, there are some things in life that are supposed to remain private: your income, your political leanings, even your religious beliefs.

But in this modern world, where cash in sport has almost reached ridiculous levels, the media have every right to go for gold in predicting an athlete's income.

As many player managers have pointed out to me, often we get it wrong and it's a source of much amusement to all parties concerned.

Not Cruden. He felt like the right to announce his move to Montpellier had been lost, and the size of his deal had been unfairly reported. Maybe it's not right but it happens.

When LeBron James when back to the Cavs, his mind-numbing numbers were reported everywhere. Each time a superstar footballer signs a new deal, it's broken down into some incredible weekly amount. That's just how it is.

So, Aaron, I can only say don't sweat the small stuff. Play out of your skin for the Chiefs, make the All Blacks squad for the Lions tour, and then go and bank a fortune in France, whatever the amount.

Questions

* Do you reckon the Aussies are still not fans of the Chappell-Hadlee?
* Is there anything in sport quite like Super Bowl Monday?
* Has New Zealand found a song yet for the Lions tour?
* Will the Six Nations really serve up a new era of Northern Hemisphere rugby?

- NZ Herald

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