Stadium woes for Crusaders
REACTION: After a poor turnout for their home Super Rugby quarterfinal and semifinal matches, Crusaders boss Hamish Riach believes it is time that Christchurch gets a new stadium.
According to stuff.co.nz, only 13 000 fans showed up to watch the Crusaders semifinal win over the Chiefs last weekend at Christchurch's AMI Stadium, which currently has a capacity of 21 600. A week earlier, in awful conditions, only 10 000 showed up to watch the quarterfinal against the Highlanders.
Some of the problems at AMI Stadium include polls obstructing the view of fans, the stadium is held up by scaffolding, there is no roof over the concourse and big screen is held up by a crane.
The Crusaders moved their home matches to AMI Stadium after Lancaster Park was closed due to damage after an earthquake in 2011.
"We've been talking about it as a temporary stadium and it's not Christchurch's future solution for major events, and the city needs to think about it, talk about it and resolve the future," Riach told stuff.co.nz.
"I think [Saturday] was a really clear signal that the fans are saying that too. They've put up with that stadium for five years and they've been happy to do so . . . but we all thought it was for five years and then we'd have something else."
The Government recently commissioned a pre-feasibility study for a new multi-purpose arena in Christchurch, which could seat between 25 000-35 000.
According to stuff, AMI Stadium was only designed to last until this year. However, the Christchurch City Council put up NZ$1 million to extend the life of the stadium to 2022.
"Because there is no magic wand here, there is no instant fix," said Riach. "There's certainly not a new multi-purpose arena just around the corner. . . so we've got to make the very most of that facility for a little while yet."