NRL Asks Fans To Bail Out Debt-Ridden Eden Park Stadium
National Rugby League fans are being asked to "bail out Eden Park, which is cash-strapped and weighed down by debt in the wake of the Rugby World Cup's euphoria," according to Bernard Orsman of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. The cup's legacy is a 50,000-seat stadium NZ$55M ($45.8M) "in debt and struggling to break even, and the plan is to move the New Zealand Warriors from Mt. Smart Stadium to Eden Park." The proposed move is part of a review of Auckland stadiums that focuses strongly on "saving money and pays little attention to the effect on the sporting codes and their fans." A "strategic direction" for the city's big stadiums proposes that Eden Park becomes the primary venue for rugby, league, one-day and Twenty20 cricket matches. Warriors patriarch Peter Leitch said that the fans "were happy with Mt. Smart Stadium and a move to Eden Park with the 50,000-seat capacity ground three-quarters or half empty would create a horrible atmosphere." Peter said, "When you think of Eden Park, you think rugby union. Think Mt. Smart Stadium, and you think rugby league. That's the reality" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 9/27).