Steeped in over 100 years of tradition, nib Stadium is an iconic Australian sports venue located in Perth, Western Australia. Historically known as Perth Oval, the venue was converted in the 1950’s to an AFL and cricket ground. In 2004, nib Stadium was converted to a dedicated rectangle stadium to accommodate Perth Glory FC and the A-League Football. The latest major redevelopment took place in 2013, where $96 million was invested into the venue. This redevelopment included a new eastern and southern grandstand, corporate facilities, pitch upgrade, new lighting, storage as well as a facelift to the heritage gates at the north of the venue. We speak with Peter Bauchop, General Manager, who states these improvements are part of a master plan, to see nib Stadium continue to grow and prosper.
“This year we have Perth Glory and Western Force playing full seasons at our venue. Furthermore, our rugby league portfolio has expanded and we are in the final stages of negotiating Rugby Championship Tests,” said Mr Bauchop.With a strong finish to 2015, this year is already shaping up to be just as successful for nib Stadium.
“The stadium will also host entertainment events such as Nitro Circus, an expected sellout, as well as various concerts towards the end of the calendar year.”
“We’ve recently renovated the north precinct of the Stadium and have created a lovely open grass area which we call The Gates,” added Mr Bauchop.
The Gates is an additional concert area, which can host up to 5000 patrons and be sectioned off from the rest of the Stadium to make it an activation space for events.
With the help of Western Force and Perth Glory, the State government’s masterplan has already delivered a plethora of new features and facilities to the stadium.
“These include new food and beverage facilities, extra toilets, a corporate BBQ terrace in the new grandstand and open corporate reserves which can accommodate 420 patrons,” said Mr Bauchop
“Technological improvements include two big screen replay boards, state of the art music P.A. system and a modern CCTV surveillance system. These features aid us in managing events to ensure everything goes smoothly.”
The stadiums new playing surface (which has been plauded as the best in Australia) also includes new pitch lighting. This allows nearly 20,500 patrons for sporting mode and 35,000 in concert mode to enjoy the Stadium in full view.
At all VenuesWest venues, safety is always a top priority.
The management team at nib Stadium would like to be prepared for all possible circumstances and potential occurrences at the Stadium.
“We are currently completing a review of our command centre team and their relationship with our zone supervisors. This is to ensure our emergency response is as effective and efficient as possible,” said Mr Bauchop
Stadium staff have also undertaken some key work practices in relation to crowd density and people movement. These practices were applied to two large events, the Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran.
“This is at a level which is now best practiced across Australia and quite a number of stadiums consulted with us to see how we achieved our numbers and how we manage those people so safely,” said Mr Bauchop
“We have also taken some critical initiatives, such as a benchmarking survey of our operations. We track our profitability and our costs and compare them to all rectangular stadiums across Australia. This provides us with a wealth of information to ensure our operations are as effective and efficient as possible. We do this alongside the Centre for Environmental and Recreational Management in South Australia.”
“It’s also paramount to have excellent relationships with our key tenants. We have invested funds into each affiliate sporting club by creating new initiatives to attract more people to their events.
“In regards to our sponsors, our relationships with them are critical. We take great care in ensuring we deliver on their set objectives. In particular, we have a strong relationship with our naming rights sponsor, nib, who has been a fantastic supporter.”
The stadium is currently into their second five year agreement with nib.
“We look forward to a long, healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with them,” added Mr Bauchop.
When it comes to an entertainment venue, the most important people are our patrons. VenuesWest staff at nib Stadium are continually striving to ensure patrons have an enjoyable and safe experience.
Staff will always go far and beyond for patrons, this has been evident when staff paint their faces or wear team colours, getting into the full spirit of the event.
“When we hosted Leonard Cohen, we had all our staff in fedora hats. When the Socceroos were playing, we had the management and frontline staff in their attire, complete with green and gold painted faces. We try to do anything we can to help promote the event and improve the experience for our patrons,”
It is no secret that the industry is faced with some challenges due to Australia’s tighter economy. “It has certainly been a lot more challenging to attract people to events and sponsorship is certainly a lot more competitive. If we are going to attract people out of their lounge rooms and away from their TVs, we need to provide an experience that is unequal. It has to be so much better than what they can get at home. If we can provide that experience and entice people to our venue then we have succeeded.”
Both staff at nib Stadium and Peter Bauchop are fiercely motivated to provide an unforgettable experience for all patrons and with an exciting sporting and entertainment schedule for 2016 already underway, it seems it’s a fight they could win.
Peter has been managing nib Stadium for 10 years, with the last 12 months working for VenuesWest and the State government managing the venue.
“There has been some great benefits of working with these groups. I am able to work closely with influential partners such as Tourism WA, who have been able to fund international fixtures at our venue. For example, the Qantas Wallabies are coming up for a number of matches against Argentina and South Africa. Furthermore, we are looking to secure a Rugby League International.
It has been very beneficial to work with so many government agencies allowing us to fund major international events and bring them to not only our Stadium, but to Perth, Western Australia,” finishes Mr Bauchop.