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The ASB arena is gearing up for its busiest season yet with the upcoming New Year's Eve concert one of a series of planned events.
ASB Baypark manager Ervin McSweeney said growing interest in the arena was changing the nature of Tauranga city and it had not yet hit its overall potential.
Events on the calendar for ASB Baypark over the next three months alone include the Mt Vibes New Year's Eve Concert, fireworks displays, NZ Speedway Championships, Monster Truck Show, National Drifting Championship Series, and V8 Jet Sprints.
"Every weekend is taken up with something that adds a point of difference to the event's calendar for the community. These different events include the school principals' stock car challenge and drive in movie nights. There is a lot of fun to be had on this site. It is dynamic," Mr McSweeney said.
About 20 events were staged at the arena during the first two weeks of December alone. And they were a typically diverse mix. The arena was used for sporting fixtures, corporate gatherings, expos, games for those in their golden years, plus the arena's own branded programmes for mums and children, for example.
Figures show that in the first year about 290,000 people used the ASB Arena. That grew to 370,000 in the second year, while total usage between July and November this year was more than 200,000 and expectations are that will exceed 400,000 over the full twelve month period.
According to ASB Baypark management, the 370,000 equates to in excess of 200 individual events such as conferences , corporate meetings and trade shows, for example, which have defined starting and finishing dates. On top of that are the many other programmes and community events.
Events made up about 43 per cent of arena usage, community sporting fixtures and programmes make up about 38 per cent, with sports tournaments completing the picture at 19 per cent.
In June 2014, ASB Baypark - which incorporates the arena, stadium and surrounding land - will celebrate its third anniversary. By then the whole site will have attracted about 1.5 million people. Figures show about 450,000 people use ASB Baypark facilities each year, although all indications are that that figure will grow, Mr McSweeney said.
Economic development organisation Priority One's Andrew Coker said the ASB arena was of significant value to Tauranga and the region as it worked to grow and attract businesses.