Home venues confirmed for 2014

Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah today confirmed the clubs 2014 NRL home games will be split between Eden Park, Wellingtons Westpac Stadium and Mount Smart Stadium.


In a major initiative he announced the club would significantly step up its use of Eden Park.


The countrys biggest stadium staged the Vodafone Warriors first home game in each of the past three seasons but will be used for three home matches next year.


This years Capital Clash in Wellington was the first time the Vodafone Warriors had ever staged a home game outside Auckland; the club will again play there in 2014 while the remaining eight regular season matches are all scheduled to be played at Mount Smart Stadium.


While were still waiting for the 2014 draw to be confirmed the likelihood is our three games at Eden Park and the match at Westpac Stadium will all be played in the early part of season, he said.


On the back of the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park (February 15-16) we can create an exciting festival of football feel to the start of the year with big crowds getting along to the Nines, our three games there and also in Wellington.


NRL AUCKLAND NINES AT EDEN PARK


Eden Park Trust chief executive David Kennedy and Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said the Vodafone Warriors provided a huge opportunity for their venues.


Weve been delighted with hosting the Vodafone Warriors in each of the past three years, said Kennedy.


Theyve attracted three crowds in excess of 30,000 to give us three of our biggest events at the stadium.


With the NRL Auckland Nines also being played at Eden Park next year its clear rugby league is well-suited to the venue and has a proven ability to attract really big crowds. For us, its a natural progression to go to the next level.


The Vodafone Warriors visit to Wellington for their clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in May drew a crowd of 30,112, the biggest attendance in history for a rugby league match in the capital.


The Vodafone Warriors made an exceptional impact with their trip here and went close to selling the ground out, said Harmon.


They also did a wonderful job in the community to promote the club and the game and were certainly thrilled about being able to work with them again.


This years venture was proof, if needed, of how popular the Vodafone Warriors and the NRL are around Wellington and were confident that will be reinforced next season.


Scurrah said due to Bruce Springsteens two concerts at Mount Smart Stadium in March and the NRL Auckland Nines being staged at Eden Park in February, there was a possibility the best fit would be to play the Eden Park and Westpac Stadium games in the early weeks of the 2014 season. He added the late summer weather was also more conducive to attracting bigger crowds to the large stadiums.


The move to play more games away from Mount Smart Stadium has become a commercial necessity for us, he said.


The Australian Rugby League Commission has also outlined its objective for all clubs to increase average home attendances to 20,000 as well as promoting the NRL by taking games to the regions and to bigger stadiums not traditionally used for rugby league.


The fact is our numbers at Mount Smart Stadium arent close to the targeted 20,000. If were committed to being more successful an absolute requirement is increasing our revenues and a critical way of achieving that is through growing our crowds.


We will still have Mount Smart Stadium as our principal home ground next year but were also excited about continuing to widen our support base by playing at Eden Park and Westpac Stadium.


The three crowds at Eden Park in 2010, 2011 and 2012 fill the top three spots for the biggest home attendances in the clubs history while the crowd in Wellington ranks fifth behind only the 32,174 attendance for the 1995 clash against the Illawarra Steelers at the then-named Ericsson Stadium.


Scurrah said the announcement of the 2014 venue strategy would be followed in a matter of days by the launch of a renewal window for existing Vodafone Warriors members.


Were set to go on sale next Thursday and we can promise existing members we have a very special offer in appreciation of their support and loyalty in 2013, he said.


The 2014 NRL draw will again feature fixed times, dates and venues for the first 20 rounds of the season as it did for the first time this year.


Once we know the dates, it will be fantastic for everyone, especially Vodafone Warriors members, so they can plan their programmes for home games in 2014, said Scurrah.


It takes the guessing out of planning events around games. Our members and all fans can organise their lives with confidence.


He said the fixed draw would also be helpful in catering for members who wanted to travel to the Vodafone Warriors match in Wellington and in Australia.


We will again work with Air New Zealand on special packages tailored for our members, he said.


The fixed scheduling provided an opportunity for Auckland City and the Vodafone Warriors to promote visitation for the 11 games to be played in Auckland in 2014.