Waikato Stadium
Waikato Stadium is a major sporting and cultural events venue in Hamilton, New Zealand, with a total capacity of 25,800. Four areas contribute to this capacity: The Brian Perry Stand holding 12,000, the WEL Networks Stand holding 8,000, the Goal Line Terrace holding 800 and the Greenzone can hold up to 5,000 people. The capacity can be extended, however, by temporarily adding 5,000 seats to the Goal Line Terrace area. The stadium, owned by the Hamilton City Council, regularly hosts two rugby union teams:
  • The Chiefs in the Southern Hemisphere Super Rugby competition
  • The Waikato side in the country's top provincial rugby competition, the Air New Zealand Cup


History
In 1925, Rugby Park opened. In 1930, a rugby union match between Waikato and Great Britain was first broadcast on the radio in Hamilton. In 1937, South Africa visited Hamilton in front of a record crowd of 13,000 at Rugby Park. One of the most memorable events happened in 1956 with Waikato beating the Springboks and 31,000 people in attendance. In 1958, Rugby Park commenced the upgrade of a new grandstand which opened in 1959. In 1996, the city of Hamilton announced plans to replace both Rugby Park and the city's major cricket venue, Westpac Park, with a single large oval stadium at the Rugby Park site. However, the city had second thoughts upon discovering that it only had commitments for NZD 270 million in funding, far short of the estimated NZD 520 million cost. It then decided instead to rebuild both stadiums on a smaller scale, reducing the total cost to NZD 30 million. In 1981, Rugby Park hosted part of the infamous 1981 Springbok tour where the match was cancelled due to the pitch being invaded by protesters. 1987 saw Rugby Park host its first Rugby World Cup match, Fiji v Argentina. In 1996, the Waikato Regional Sports and Event Centre Trust were formed as it was decided that the city required a new sports stadium to attract more sports fixtures and events. In 2000, the construction of Waikato Stadium commenced, and in 2002, Waikato Stadium officially opened with a Super 12 rugby match between the Chiefs and Crusaders.

Facilities
Waikato Stadium is a multi-purpose facility, though used mainly for rugby union. It is the home of the Waikato Air New Zealand Cup team, the Chiefs team in the Super 14 competition, and on occasion hosts international fixtures for the New Zealand All Blacks. It has also been the home ground for Waikato FC in New Zealand Football Championship (NZFC), and has hosted matches for the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team in the National Rugby League (NRL). Waikato Stadium also caters for private functions and events within its many different facilities. Such services include: Gallagher Lounge, Bronze Lounge, Genesis Energy Lounge, Radio Sport Lounge, Clarke Lounge, Network Lounge, Boardroom and TV Commentary Room.

Notable events
Waikato Stadium (then known as Rugby Park) was host to one of the matches during the 1981 Springbok Tour. However, the game against Waikato was called off in front of a full house at Rugby Park. A pitch invasion by several hundred anti-tour protestors and rumours that a light aircraft had been stolen from Taupo and was headed for Rugby Park proved too much for the authorities. From the year 2002, Waikato Stadium has been host to a variety of events ranging from sporting events to cultural events. This includes: Men’s and Women’s International rugby, NPC rugby, Kingz and Wellington Phoenix football, Impact World Tour, Habitat for Humanity, Super 12 rugby, Summer Jam, Volcanic Paintball, Crusty Demons, Super 14 rugby, WIPSEC Cultural Concert, Regional/National Marching Championship, NRL New Zealand Warriors, Waikato FC NZFC matches, Kiwi Bowl Gridiron and International football. It was one of four host stadiums of the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, hosting six group matches and two quarter-finals. Waikato Stadium will also host three important Pool matches for the Rugby World Cup 2011 including two Wales matches " Wales vs. Samoa and Wales vs. Fiji and a New Zealand match " New Zealand vs. Japan.

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