End of a good innings by VenuesLive!



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NSW government ends management contract with VenuesLive Image: Bankwest Stadium, Adrenalised, CC BY-SA 4.0

The New South Wales (NSW) Government (Australia) is to end the long-term management of Sydney’s 83,500-capacity Accor Stadium and the 30,000-capacity CommBank Stadium by VenuesLive as of the beginning of next year, with the venues to be operated by its Venues NSW agency moving forward.

‘AUSTRALASIAN LEISURE MANAGEMENT’ stated that the Venues NSW taking over the direct operation and management of the Western Sydney venues from January 1st, 2024 will end the management of Accor Stadium (also known as Stadium Australia) by a core management team that dates back to the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sydney (Australia)-based VenuesLive are a leading provider of management and hospitality services to venues and events, with a vast array of services including venue and event management, sponsorship, corporate hospitality, membership, catering, staffing, technology, marketing, and communications. They operate in Australia.

Venues NSW is an agency of the Government of New South Wales that owns and operates several sporting facilities across New South Wales, Australia.

‘AUSTRALASIAN LEISURE MANAGEMENT’ further stated that VenuesLive has managed Parramatta’s CommBank Stadium since 2019.

In a statement on the takeover, the Venues NSW stated that it “will employ significantly more staff directly to deliver a strong schedule of events, with the majority of the current stadiums’ operational and event delivery employees to be offered new roles. The change in stadium operation will deliver a consistent customer experience across the Venues NSW network and will continue to capitalize on the NSW Government’s significant investment in major public entertainment and sporting facilities.”

However, the circumstances of the change of management may indicate some sensitivity within the NSW Government given the impact it will have on Western Sydney at a time when the NSW Government and other influences are pushing for more concerts at the 42,500-capacity Allianz Stadium in Sydney’s East – largely ignoring that the Accor Stadium, with its larger capacity, already hosts a large number of major outdoor concerts. During the upcoming Summer it will host performances by the Foo Fighters (American rock band), Juicy Fest (the biggest Hip-Hop and R&B music festival in the Southern Hemisphere), Taylor Swift (American singer-songwriter), and P!nk (American singer-songwriter and actress).

The NSW Government has released no statement or press release on the change and the NSW Minister for Sport Steve Kamper stated that the change was “an operational matter”.

A spokesperson for Minister Kamper advised, “The Venues NSW was created to provide long-term oversight and direction across the fantastic sporting and entertainment venues in this State. The Accor Stadium and Commbank Stadium will be fully incorporated into the Venues NSW network, as VenuesLive’s contract expires at the end of the year. We want to be the premier destination City in the Asia- Pacific and to do that we need to capitalize on the incredible facilities this State has to offer. Importantly, this will provide significant opportunities to champion the local businesses that will benefit the State economy and solidify NSW’s position as the home of major events.”
 

Venue NSW’s Catering Contract

Recently, it was announced that VenuesLive’s contract for catering at the Accor and CommBank Stadiums as well as at the 33,000-capacity McDonald Jones Stadium in New Lambton and Wollongong’s WIN Sports and Entertainment Centres (both in Australia), would not be renewed.

The change comes despite the VenuesLive Catering business being widely acknowledged as one of the best in-venue catering operations in Australia – as evidenced by its teams at the Accor and CommBank Stadiums and Perth’s 61,266-capacity Optus Stadium winning major awards at the prestigious Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence.

The Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence is an annual program that recognizes venues and companies across Australia for their service and culinary offerings. The awards recognize operators in both the metropolitan and regional areas.
 

Moving Forward

The VenuesLive will continue to operate the Optus Stadium on behalf of the Government of Western Australia, along with Gosford’s 20,059-capacity Industree Group Stadium, on behalf of the Central Coast Council.

The Venues NSW faces a potential challenge with Accor Group’s (French hospitality company) $5 million a year naming rights sponsorship of the Accor Stadium conflicting with brands such as Crown Sydney which is to be introduced at the venue.

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