Eden Park
Eden Park is the biggest sports ground in Auckland, New Zealand for both rugby union during winter, and cricket in summer (although most domestic cricket games are played on the Outer Oval, which is situated next to the main stadium). To accommodate both sports, the cricket pitch is removable. The ground is located three kilometres southwest of Auckland's CBD, straddling the boundary between the Kingsland and Mount Eden suburbs. It is set to become the first stadium to host two Rugby World Cup Finals in 2011, having held the inaugural final in 1987. It was also the venue for the Rugby League World Cup final in 1988.

The Eden Park area has been in use for sport since around 1900. Eden Park has been the home to Auckland Cricket since 1910, and has also hosted many international Tests and international One-Day cricket matches. In 1950, Eden Park was the principal venue for the IV British Empire Games, where the Opening Ceremony and the Track and Field Events were held. In 1981, Eden Park was buzzed by a Cessna light airplane on the occasion of the third and final New Zealand v. South African test match of the South African Springbok rugby tour. The pilot, who was a staunch anti-apartheid activist, had threatened to land the plane on the pitch, but instead just dumped onto the field leaflets, flares, a parachute-supported banner reading "Biko", and flour bombs, one of which felled a New Zealand player. The original grandstand that was situated at the north-west corner of the main ground was relocated to the west side of the number two ground in the late 1980's. The number two ground also served as supplemental car parking at major sporting events. Eden Park is the home of the Blues Super 14 team, and has also been the home of the Auckland Rugby Football Union since 1925, hosting Auckland's home games in the NPC and its successor the Air New Zealand Cup. The ground has also been a frequent host of international test rugby. It hosted the final match of the Rugby World Cup. In a switch of codes, Eden Park hosted the 1988 Rugby League World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia which drew a sell out crowd. An American college football game, the Haka Bowl, was scheduled to be played at Eden Park in 1996, but was cancelled because the organisers could not make required financial guarantees. It would have been the first collegiate American football game in New Zealand, and the first "bowl game" anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. It is scheduled to be the focal point of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, with the opening ceremony, first pool game, two quarter finals, both semi finals, third-place play-off and the final taking place at Eden Park, as well as numerous other pool games.

Redevelopment Plans

Eden Park used to have a crowd capacity of 42,000 for cricket, and 47,500 for rugby. This is the largest of any New Zealand sports arena. There are no standing areas. Temporary seating in front of the ASB Stand and the West Stand (usually only used for international rugby matches) is required for the capacity of 45,472 to be reached. Due to sight-screens and the larger area required for cricket matches, cricket capacity is less. A $256 million redevelopment was completed in October 2010, providing a permanent capacity of 50,000 and ability to add a further 10,000 temporary seats for the 2011 Rugby World Cup finals.

The redevelopment project includes a new three-tier South stand that will replace the old South and South West stands with a capacity of 24,000 and a new three-tier East stand to replace the Terraces. The number of covered seats will increase from 23,000 to 38,000. The redeveloped Eden Park will also feature an internal concourse that will allow people to circulate around the grounds inside the stadium and world-class facilities, including food and beverage outlets, toilets and corporate areas, are being promised. Public transport upgrades are also planned, including a transport hub, featuring a pedestrian bridge between the stadium and Kingsland Station, and a bus drop-off area. The open plan approach to the design and establishment of a community centre and green space, as well as the removal of the perimeter fence, all mean that the stadium is set to become more publicly accessible and a part of the neighbourhood. There have been public concerns about the height of the new structure and its shading effect on many nearby houses. Auckland City Council announced that it had received 470 submissions towards Eden Park's resource consent application - over 300 of which were in favour of the redevelopment. On 26 January 2007, Eden Park received resource consent, but 91 conditions were imposed. The consent permits the building of new stands in place of the terraces and south stand, but does not include consent for the NZ$ 385 million 'full option' which would include covered seating.

Possible alternative stadium for the RWC
In September 2006 it was announced that instead of Eden Park, the Government and Auckland City Council were assessing the possibility of a new stadium on Auckland's waterfront to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup. This assessment was part of the Government's formal due diligence process on the decision to redevelop Eden Park. The Government had said it would assist with the funding if a new stadium was built. The Government announced in a report in November 2006 that it would favour a new stadium on the Auckland City waterfront, which would have meant that the Eden Park redevelopment would not have gone ahead, and that eventually, new options for its use or redevelopment would have to be developed. After the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Regional Council differed in their support for the new stadium, the Government changed to supporting the redevelopment of Eden Park, subject to suitable resolution of the design, funding and governance issues.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
This stadium has also been selected for the 2015 Cricket World Cup which will jointly be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.


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