Mount Smart Stadium

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Mt. Smart Stadium
EricssonStadium00.jpg
Former names Ericsson Stadium (1995–2006)
Location 2 Beasley Avenue, Penrose, New Zealand
Coordinates 36°55′6″S 174°48′45″E / 36.91833°S 174.81250°E / -36.91833; 174.81250Coordinates: 36°55′6″S 174°48′45″E / 36.91833°S 174.81250°E / -36.91833; 174.81250
Broke ground 1965
Opened 1967
Owner Auckland Council
Operator Auckland Council
Surface Grass
Capacity Rugby League / Rugby union / Soccer: 30,000
Concerts: 47,000
Tenants

New Zealand Warriors (NRL) / (SL) (1995–present)

Auckland Vulcans (NSWRL) (2008-present)
Football Kingz (NSL) (1999–2004)
Counties Manukau Rugby Union (ITM Cup) (2006–08)
1990 Commonwealth Games

Mt Smart Stadium, (formerly known as Ericsson Stadium), is a stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. It is the home ground of National Rugby League team, the New Zealand Warriors. Built within the quarried remnants of the Mount Smart volcanic cone, it is located 10 kilometres south of the city centre, in the suburb of Penrose.

History[edit]

The Mount Smart Domain Board was established in 1942 with the purpose of transforming the former quarry site into a public reserve. In 1953 a plan was approved for a sports stadium which was officially opened in 1967.

The stadium hosted track and field events including the highly successful Pan Am series during the early 1980s.

During the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour the Auckland rugby league team defeated the tourists 30-14 at Mt Smart before a crowd of 8,000.

The stadium was chosen as the Main Athletics Stadium as well as the opening and closing ceremonies venue of the 1990 Commonwealth Games. It was where the New Zealand national football team (the All Whites) played all their home qualifying games for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. This was the first occasion that New Zealand had qualified for a FIFA World Cup and the event captured the imagination of the nation with large crowds packing the stadium.

The Auckland Warriors' home ground record at the stadium is 32,174, who saw them play the Illawarra Steelers in Round 6 of the 1995 ARL season.[1]

Ericsson Stadium was the host of the Super League's 1997 World Club Championship Final between Australian teams the Brisbane Broncos and Hunter Mariners. In front of 12,000 fans, the Broncos defeated the Mariners 36-12.

Ericsson Stadium hosted three quarters of the 1999 Rugby League Tri-nations' games, including the final, which New Zealand lost 20–22.

The stadium is now owned by the Auckland Council, following the merger of Auckland's regional authorities.[2]

Tenants[edit]

The South Stand at Mt Smart Stadium, shot from the northern end of the stadium. Warriors Open Day, February 2005.

It currently serves as the home ground for the New Zealand Warriors of the Australian National Rugby League. It is the former home of the Football Kingz of the Australian National Soccer League; however, its A-League successor, the now defunct New Zealand Knights, played on the other side of Waitemata Harbour at North Harbour Stadium.

The Athletics Ground (officially Mt Smart Stadium Number 2) hosts athletics meets, right down to Primary School Level. It also holds local rugby league matches and serves as the home ground for the Auckland franchise in the Bartercard Premiership.

Music[edit]

Big Day Out Double Stages, Auckland 2007

The capacity of the stadium for concerts is roughly 47,000 people.

U2 performed two concerts at the venue during their Vertigo Tour in 2006 and again on their hugely successful U2 360° Tour in November 2010. Both U2 and Elton John have performed four concerts at the venue. Elton John has visited the venue for the first time in 1984. The stadium also has had Michael Jackson perform here as part of the HIStory Tour for two concerts in November 1996, and Ricky Martin on his record breaking Livin' la Vida Loca Tour in October 2000. Pearl Jam performed at the stadium on 27 November 2009 during their Backspacer Tour, and 14 years earlier during their Vitalogy Tour as well. Alternative Rock Band Coldplay performed a show on their Mylo Xyloto Tour in November 2012. Bon Jovi has performed at Mt Smart Stadium as well, during his These Days Tour in 1995. Other artists that have performed at the venue include Iron Maiden, The Smashing Pumpkins, Guns N' Roses (in 1988 and 1993), AC/DC, Queen as well as the Dire Straits and Bob Dylan & Tom Petty.

American rock legend Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band will play two concerts at the venue on 1 and 2 March 2014, only his second and third ever performance in New Zealand and the first ones in over a decade.

Mt Smart Stadium was the Auckland venue of the Big Day Out music festival until 2012. In 2014, Western Springs Stadium will serve as the venue for the festival in Auckland.

Among the concerts hosted, Rainbow Warrior Benefit Concert (Greenpeace 1986) featuring multiple artists including Neil Young on acoustic guitar and Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Topp Twins, Dave Dobbyn and a Split Enz reunion[3][4] within Mt Smart Stadium, and Kiss 31/1/1997 at Mt Smart Supertop.

Recent developments[edit]

The Eastern Stand, built in 1995 for the Warriors' first season, was dismantled at the conclusion of the 2003 National Rugby League season to make way for a new stand, with a roof, corporate and dining facilities, training facilities for the Warriors as well as offices for the team management, which was completed in late 2004. The stand as built over the remains of the running track to allow a closer view of the field, squaring the pitch off as a field sports only ground.

In preparation for the 2006 U2 Vertigo Tour concerts, the moveable North Stand was shifted to sit behind the South Stand, effectively doubling the size of the South Stand, leaving a hill at the North end. In 2010, in preparation for concerts by Bon Jovi and the U2 360° Tour, a large temporary stand was built on the northern hill to increase capacity of the venue to over 50,000 – up from approximately 42,000 in the 2006 concert configuration. However, the Bon Jovi concert was then held at the Vector Arena and only U2 performed two concerts there.

Naming rights[edit]

As of 12 July 2006, the stadium reverted to its original name, Mt Smart Stadium. In a press release, the Auckland Regional Council, owners of the stadium stated they had considered other offers, but felt they did not suit. Auckland Regional Council did not actively pursue a replacement sponsor.

Panoramic image of Mt Smart Stadium photographed in 2006.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ONE Sport (2007-08-24). "Warriors sell-out crucial home game". tvnz.co.nz Sport (New Zealand). Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  2. ^ "Regional Facilities". Auckland Council. 12 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Rainbow Warrior music festival". NZHistory. History Group of the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Rainbow Warrior concert 1986". Frenz Forum. July 14, 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 

External links[edit]