Mount Smart Stadium will remain the Vodafone Warriors’ home ground until at least the end of the 2028 NRL season under a heads of agreement jointly signed by the club and Regional Facilities Auckland.
RFA CEO Chris Brooks confirmed the RFA had granted the Vodafone Warriors a 10-year extension of their existing contract which expires at the end of the 2018 season.
While both organisations still have to ratify the details of the final contract, Brooks and Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle hailed the outcome.
Brooks said the discussions with the Vodafone Warriors had been entirely constructive and were focused on finding the best solution that met the club’s needs and those of fans alongside the RFA’s goal to maximise the use of its facilities on a cost-effective basis for ratepayers.
“This agreement offers value to both parties,” he said.
“Importantly, it offers greater commercial value to the RFA and Auckland ratepayers, reflecting the council’s investments in Mount Smart Stadium and the on-going cost of maintaining the venue into the future, while also providing certainty and some enhancements for the Warriors and their fans.”
Doyle credited Brooks for opening the way for a review of the RFA’s plans for Mount Smart Stadium.
“We were in a position not so long ago where we were being told Mount Smart Stadium wouldn’t be our home beyond 2018,” he said.
“We were passionate about staying here. We have always said it is our home and we certainly appreciate the way so many people showed their support for us to remain, particularly our members, fans and, of course, our No 1 member Sir Peter Leitch.
“We’re especially grateful to Chris who was open to consultation and discussion about the stadium strategy. It’s his attitude and his willingness to listen to our views which has enabled us to reach the point we are at today.
“This is a fantastic day for the Vodafone Warriors, for our players and staff, for all our members, for the city and for rugby league.”
Vodafone Warriors ambassador Sir Peter Leitch was elated about the decision.
“This is a huge day for everyone who loves the Vodafone Warriors, for all the members and the fans,” he said.
“Mount Smart is our home. We love it here and I couldn’t be happier that this has all been sorted out.”
Doyle said the terms of the agreement feature an undertaking for significant upgrading of the stadium and its facilities.
“This will include replacement seating, refurbishment of the dressing room facilities and a community classroom while the agreement also allows for replacement floodlights, a new big screen and a facelift for various areas of the stadium,” he said.
“We’re excited about what is in store as we work with the RFA to make Mount Smart Stadium the best home it can be for the Vodafone Warriors.”
Doyle also said beyond 2028 the Vodafone Warriors were keen to see the concept of a city football stadium become a reality to bring sporting codes and fans together as one in the heart of the central city.