20/09/2017 - 15:37

Perth Stadium on track for goals

20/09/2017 - 15:37

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Perth Stadium chief executive Mike McKenna expects to attract a crowd of 50,000 for its first football game, featuring the AFLW Fremantle Dockers, he told a Business News Success & Leadership breakfast this morning.

Perth Stadium on track for goals
Mike McKenna says the Perth Stadium will stimulate economic activity in WA. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perth Stadium chief executive Mike McKenna expects a crowd of 50,000 at the venue’s first football game, which will feature the AFLW Fremantle Dockers, guests at a Business News Success & Leadership breakfast heard this morning.

See the video here: https://youtu.be/kwiTZk5ohM8

“We are hoping that’s going to be an event that draws a crowd that sets a massive benchmark for women’s sports in Australia in terms of attendance,” Mr McKenna said.

“AFL was talking about 30 (thousand); we’re going to be planning for a lot more than that.”

Mr McKenna brings to his role as chief executive experience with both the Essendon Football Club and Cricket Australia, having overseen Essendon move from the MCG to the now Etihad Stadium and having contributed to the birth of the Big Bash Twenty20.

“Once upon a time my perception of marketing football was a sausage sizzle and cake stands,” Mr McKenna said.

After spending a few years with Essendon, his knowledge became far more sophisticated.

Mr McKenna said the men’s and women’s Big Bash were some of his proudest achievements, with the latter paving the way for women’s AFL and setting a benchmark for women’s professional sport salaries.

On the homestretch towards opening day for his next big challenge, Mr McKenna said the development for the Perth Stadium was on budget, on time, and also well-prepared, with an event calendar that had been booking up into 2019.

“If we open as planned (on January 21) and have the One-Day International match against England, that’ll be a great start,” Mr McKenna said.

Further into the agenda will be a visit by English Premier League champions Chelsea, which will play Perth Glory in mid-2018.

“And that’ll attract not just Chelsea fans around Australia, we also expect a large contingent from Asia to travel down,’’ Mr McKenna said.

“That’s people in hotel rooms, bums on seats, people in restaurants and on tours.

“We’ve then by 2019 already contracted the second of the State of Origin matches, the biggest sports events on television in Australia with two states who go absolutely nuts for it.”

He said the state government had allocated $40 million towards events spending and that it was his job, along with his team, to acquire events.

“Our job is to bring people from interstate and overseas and get them to spend their hard-earned here in Perth and hopefully travel further in WA and invest,” Mr McKenna said.

He said the parkland surrounding the stadium would also provide an opportunity for a range of community events.

One of the major attractions already making ticket sales was Ed Sheeran, Mr McKenna said.

He said although Ed Sheeran performed all over the globe and elsewhere in Australia, overseas and interstate visitors were travelling to Perth for the concert.

Mr McKenna said Perth Stadium had sold out both of the two Ed Sheeran concerts, including 5,500 tickets sold to interstate and international buyers.

“That’s worth about $12 million in direct expenditure into WA,” he said.

“If we can bring more of those things here that attract people, we can drive greater economic value and provide a return on investment.

“(Another) part of our business is meetings and special events.

“We have a 1,200-seat dining room, which will be fully fitted out with blackout curtains, drop-down screens, everything you need for a major conference.

“The key feature of that is floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall glass overlooking the river and the city of Perth and East Perth.”

On non-match days, Mr McKenna said, the views at the stadium would be a drawcard for people to eat at its restaurants and show their interstate or international friends or colleagues the unique views of Perth.

A feature of Perth Stadium will be that all food offerings will be provided by the stadium itself, as opposed to outsourced vendors.

“We’re spending probably about $20 million on supply contracts over time and probably in the next five years we’ll spend about $150 million; a lot of that will be food and beverage,” Mr McKenna said.

“At the moment our team is spending a lot of its time in procurement.’’

He said extra weighting would be applied to local suppliers to boost local business.

“We’ve got about $10.8 million of fit-out material, everything from 15,000 spoons to an ambulance cart, to a whole range of things we need to put into the stadium to make sure it’s ready to go.”

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