Wellington Phoenix eye stadium move

  • 16/02/2014

The Wellington Phoenix have confirmed a conditional commitment to move to a new football-specific stadium in time for the 2016/2017 A-League season.

The Hutt City Council announced plans to build a 12,000 seat stadium on the current Petone Recreation site, a prospect that chairman Rob Morrison and co-owner Gareth Morgan are very excited about.

"A purpose-built football stadium has to be an attractive proposition for the Phoenix and although there are clearly a number of hurdles to be overcome, this is a proposal the Phoenix is keen to support," Morrison said.

"We have to re-invent the game-day experience for fans and the start of that process is an arena fit for purpose, where the fans get up close and personal to the action with a ground tailored to the needs of a football audience," Dr Morgan said.

"Only by building a 12,000-15,000 seat football-specific stadium with state of the art technology will the fans turn up in sufficient numbers to safeguard the financial viability of the club long term.

"This new arena promises this and while there is a lot more work to be done, we’d be crazy not to investigate the potential further"

 

The new 'Petone Arena' would cost in the region of $44-48 million with the Welnix ownership group set to make a contribution which is 'enough that it hurts' according to Dr Morgan.

They will also seek a $25 million grant from Hutt City Council.

Morgan says the Phoenix will look to expose the train links between Wellington City and Petone, comparing the train journey to and from matches to British football.

Petone Arena would also be used for concerts, club rugby and Team Wellington matches, while it could also be used by the Hurricanes, who are part-owned by Welnix.

The Phoenix have played at Wellington's Westpac Stadium since they were founded in 2007, but the ground's 34,500 seating capacity has always proven too much to fill.

"Westpac Stadium is a great ground for big crowd games, but when the club is only averaging 7,000 to 8,000 crowds, then financially Westpac Stadium doesn't work," Morrison said.

"Any proposition that could make a material difference to the financial stability of the club has to be taken seriously."

Dr Morgan admitted that big games would have to be played at Westpac Stadium, but that the club's offices and training base would be at Petone Arena.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said the Phoenix looked at many options around Wellington City including Newtown Park, Dave Farrington Park and Karori Park before settling on Petone.

If the proposal is accepted then construction on the project is expected to begin later this year.

3 News

source: newshub archive


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