The Blues and Warriors are fully supportive of a downtown stadium concept and prepared to shift matches away from Eden Park and Mt Smart.

The Warriors recently committed to another 10 years at Mt Smart but have a clause in their tenancy agreement that allows them to vacate the Penrose facility if a new stadium is built in the Auckland CBD.

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Warriors managing director Jim Doyle confirmed they had entered discussions with the council and Price Waterhouse Cooper as part of their joint review of potential stadium sites but was unable to provide further details after signing a non-disclosure agreement.


The Warriors last year signed an agreement with Regional Facilities (RFA) to remain at Mt Smart until 2028. But Doyle confirmed the out clause and repeated his enthusiasm for a downtown playing base.

"Definitely the review is a welcome development," Doyle told the Herald last night. "We've said that what Auckland deserves is a downtown stadium and I think that's a real positive and it's been part of the discussions we've had with the council right from the start when I got here.

"We've signed the 10-year extension but, as part of that, we've said in there and agreed with the council that if there's a downtown stadium before 2028, then we would move there.

"We asked for that condition to be written in because we wanted to emphasise how important and how much we believe in the downtown stadium idea.

"It's the perfect spot. Britomart is not far away, so you've got buses and trains. It's got a lot of benefits."

Warriors owner Eric Watson has previously expressed interest in investing some of his own money into a downtown stadium project and in establishing a presence within a sporting precinct in the surrounding area which could potentially encompass a Warriors-themed bar or venue and merchandise store.

The Warriors are open to sharing a downtown venue with the Blues.

"There's no doubt it's inevitable that in the future, there's a downtown stadium where you're playing both Blues games and Warriors games and you've got one on a Friday night and one on a Saturday, or one on a Friday and one on a Sunday, or whatever it is. That happens in multiple stadiums all over the world," said Doyle.


The Blues Super Rugby franchise, mooted as a co-anchor tenant with the Warriors, would not comment last night but pointed towards previous comments on a downtown stadium.

Chief executive Michael Redman told the Herald in March last year that the Blues support the idea of a stadium in Auckland's CBD and would be happy to leave their spiritual home of Eden Park.

The Blues board considered the issue early last year and decided it would support in principle the construction of a football-specific stadium in the central city rather than continuing at the ground where they have played for 20 years. At the time, Redman said the franchise "would seriously consider any proposal presented to us to become a core user".

He said feedback from members and fans affirmed the biggest issue with Eden Park was the ground's size.

"The reality is the [Eden Park] capacity is a strength and weakness. We've had very strong crowds [in 2016] of just over 20,000 for our first two games but that is less than half the capacity.

"Historically we probably only have one round-robin game a year where we might need a 30,000-plus capacity."

Calls to the Eden Park Trust Board yesterday for comment were not returned at the time of deadline.

Should the downtown stadium proceed, it's understood Mt Smart Stadium could be downgraded but continue to serve as the Warriors' administrative headquarters and main training facility, while also hosting lower level and school-age league competitions.

The club's offices and gymnasium are located in the eastern grandstand on Beasley Avenue, which together with the main playing field and surrounding training grounds could be further developed into a high performance facility.