Auckland’s Eden Park threatened with loss of name

December 29th, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 29 (IANS) Auckland’s Eden Park, one of the most recognisable stadiums in the world, is under threat of losing its name as the owners have engaged consultants to establish the worth of the ground’s naming rights ahead of the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup. Cricket is being played at the Eden Park since 1910 and the stadium hosted its first rugby match in 1925. Since then it has been regularly used for international matches for both sports.

The Times of London reported Monday that there are fears that when the ground hosts the opening match of the 2011 World Cup it will be under a different name as the Eden Park Trust Board has roped in consultants from London and Melbourne to get a new naming sponsor for the ground.

The ground is being redeveloped and upgraded to a capacity of 60,000, from 47,500, to meet the conditions for staging the Rugby World Cup. And chief executive of the development project Adam Feeley said that there is a shortfall of $7 million on the budget.

He said that the consultants were looking into various commercial opportunities, including selling the naming rights to the stadium, to make up the money.

The development has been hit by rising steel prices, which have almost trebled since the start of the project, and construction problems with the foundations for a new stand.

“Every time we needed to strike rock to build foundations on, it wasn’t there. Then every time we needed rock not to be there, it was,” Feeley was quoted as saying by the daily.

He added that in the midst of a financial turmoil some of the frills in the stadium’s had to be cut back.

“We don’t have any spare money left over to spend on extras. It’s a fine line between the poshest carpet and expensive finish in bar and lounge areas. You can blow a budget in that area pretty quickly. The project certainly won’t be lavish but we will get good value for money,” Feeley added.

The designers have already scrapped plans for a new transport hub at Eden Park, which will have an impact on match day traffic.

Due to the renovation work, Auckland Cricket moved out of the stadium that was its home base for 103 years.

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