Domain return prompts stadium debate

Calls for a new stadium in Tauranga could become a whole lot louder come August if supporters get behind the Bay of Plenty Steamers’ return to Tauranga Domain.

That’s the opinion of Bay of Plenty Rugby chief executive Mike Rogers, who says moving the clash with Waikato is in response to feedback from supporters that ASB Baypark doesn’t provide the atmosphere and intimacy they expect from an “edge-of-your-seat” experience.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive Mike Rogers believes the ITM Cup clash at Tauranga Domain will be great for the city. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

The ITM Cup fixture will mark the first provincial rugby match at the city’s Domain in seven years, and it is hoped an estimated crowd of 5,000-6,000 for the televised clash will create a “cauldron effect” thanks to temporary seating.

But it also reignites the great debate over whether Tauranga needs a new stadium.

Last year the Chiefs turned their back on playing its annual fixture at ASB Baypark, prompting widespread discussion about a new purpose-built facility for the city.

At the time, Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby advocated for a new stadium to be built at the city’s Wharepai Domain, with a 15,000-18,000 seat capacity.

Rogers says the rugby union is certainly interested in a stadium that would cater for all sports in Tauranga. Though it is all hypothetical at the moment, Tauranga Domain is an early frontrunner.

“The future shouldn’t look, in my view, a 35,000 seat stadium,” says Rogers. “It could be a 10,000-15,000 seat boutique stadium that offers the right facilities at the right price.

“If you create the right venue and it’s located in the right place in terms of supporting other infrastructure and other businesses - that’s what we are trying to achieve from the game.”

He also isn’t ruling out an end to ASB Baypark, but goes as far to say that if people think there is a need for change, then they will get behind August’s fixture.

“The best way they can show their support for a new stadium is to get along to this game,” he adds, “and really show they want to have a venue that works for them and provides opportunities for the community.”

Long-time stadium advocate Terry Leeming – known as Hori BOP – applauds the switch back to the domain.

Leeming has been petitioning the council to allocate the No2 or No3 fields at the Domain for a stadium for 13 years. He believes Baypark is not designed for rugby, though during the height of the Ranfurly Shield it was suitable.

“ASB Baypark has proved it’s not fit for rugby and the Bay of Plenty rugby union and council have listened to the community,” he says.

“The community have overwhelmingly rejected it as a rugby stadium.”

He echoes Rogers’ comments of the public needing to fill the domain in order to make the dream a reality.

“We just need to get away from thinking that we need a 40,000 to 50,000 seat stadium,” adds Leeming.

“Hopefully this is the seed that plants the start of the field of dreams.”

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Posted on 20-05-2015 14:19 | By Kaimai

Probably cheaper to bus everyone to Hamilton to watch the game there.


Posted on 20-05-2015 13:46 | By wazzock

A stadium equation: if x = crowd and y =boring game+hard to see+expensive food+watery beer(*plastic bottle)+useless seats+bored kids+no atmosphere+frozen butt then likelihood that x>1137 is inversely proportional to value of y. thus as y tends towards infinity the value of x becomes infinitesimallly small and only able to be detected using the large hadron collider. I suggest we build a LHC under the domain to get an accurate estimate of the likely attendance to future ITM games.If the worst comes to the worst at least we may get a real black hole.

Give me a good stadium!

Posted on 20-05-2015 13:00 | By socantor

Bay Park is fine - it already has a wonderful indoor arena and stacks of parking, both of which are absent at Wharepai Domain.

Not enough numbers

Posted on 20-05-2015 12:16 | By merry

It’s true we don’t need a big stadium. The Hurricanes vs Chiefs game in Wellington last weekend had a crowd of 18000. This was the biggest crowd for the season in Wellington! Tauranga does not need a stadium that seats 30000. What they could do is introduce temporary seating that is placed closer to the playing field at Baypark. That could created the intimacy they’re looking for.


Posted on 20-05-2015 11:27 | By YOGI BEAR

Cant agree more, your numbers are if anything understated. This is all about having nice new toys and as unusual expecting all others to pay (ratepayers). The costs is huge, perhaps adding 10% to rates for no good reason.


Posted on 20-05-2015 10:31 | By Really

You just need to look at the costly disaster Dunedin ratepayers are facing with the stadium built there. The costs are always higher and the revenues always lower than forecast. Hopefully we can use their experience without the cost, so that someone benefits from it.


Posted on 20-05-2015 09:24 | By ROCCO

This is all happening because Baypark Stadium grass playing surface has not recovered from the JetSprint thrashing. New Stadium rugby zealots are using it to peddle their spin. Reality is even if 6 or 7 ITM home games were played in Tauranga ( will not be that many)total crowds would average 5000 a game or 35000 for the total season and at $30 per head that totals $1.05million gross.A $45m stadium will attract interest of $2.5m pa OPEX of say $3m Depreciation of say $2.25m etc. etc. all totalling between $8m and $10m per annum.Hang on that’s a loss of up to a staggering $9million.per annum. AND YES READ MY LIPS THAT WILL FALL ON TCC RATEPAYERS because private funders won’t want a bar of it.Just looks like Baypark all over again started off at $12m now ballooned out to around $30m. OMG


Posted on 19-05-2015 23:32 | By YOGI BEAR

Yes they do, and all that they need to do is think up some of the must mad, crazy, extravagant, expensive over the top, huge, debt ridden, loss making ideas beyond anything sane. They think it is great, they know best what everyone else needs and I mean really needs. it is an official mindset.


Posted on 19-05-2015 21:33 | By Capt_Kaveman

Gonna happen with ratepayers money

Let the rugby union pay for it then

Posted on 19-05-2015 18:26 | By Annalist

Do these people think us ratepayers are a bottomless pit for funding their grandiose schemes? I certainly won’t be going to the game at the domain. I don’t want to give these people the idea that I support council building yet another stadium. It’s Baypark or bust.


Posted on 19-05-2015 17:24 | By CONDOR

A new $45m stadium for 6 second rate ITM Cup games max. a year if you are lucky - you have to be out of your tree buddy.Go back to Rotorua you have an International ground there that is never used with a 35000 capacity.!!!!!

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