WIN Sports and Entertainment Centres (WSEC) operate two large public assembly venues, located in the southern NSW city of Wollongong, WIN Stadium and WIN Entertainment Centre (WEC).
WIN Stadium is a facility that has developed since the mid-1980’s and is now able to host a wide variety of sporting and special events. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the venue holds a capacity of 23,000 with 15,000 seats undercover. In 2012 the last development – the Western Grandstand – was completed, featuring a new two-tiered stand with a capacity of 6,000, replacing the previous grandstand, which was over 50 years old. The development also included other innovations to WIN Stadium, including improvements to patron access, connectivity through a fibre-optic network, and adding revenue-earning facilities; through the leasing of 3 areas to be used for shops and eateries, 2 large rooms for conferences and functions – as well as event days, and 21 corporate suites.
The Northern Grandstand, was opened in 2002, after being relocated from the Sydney Aquatic Centre -following the Sydney 2000 Olympics. It provided a $13 million upgrade to the venue, and offers corporate entertainment, with the Premiers Room Function Centre overlooking the playing field. “Now with 3 grandstands (the new Western Grandstand, the refurbished Southern Grandstand, and the Northern Grandstand) and a magnificent location (‘On the Beach – In the City’) we are an attractive alternative for stadia events. We have around 1.5 million people within a one hour’s drive of the venues, so we are not only presenting entertainment, events, and sports for those in our region, but for the south-western areas of Sydney and the regions south of here” says General Manager – Stuart Barnes.
The adjacent WIN Entertainment Centre (also run by same management as WIN Stadium) is an arena that accommodates 6,000 patrons. Built around a 1500 square metre floor, the WEC was originally designed for basketball, but is more often now also used to accommodate concerts, expos, dinners, and conferences. The staff and management team help to hold 125 event days a year in the two venues; about 40 event days in the stadium, and 85 in the indoor arena, including, in the WEC, Wollongong Hawks NBL games, ice skating and indoor bull-riding. WIN Stadium is the home of the St. George Illawarra Dragons, but accommodates numerous other football, rugby union and rugby league events and special events such as ‘Nitro Circus’ and Supercross.
Venue management is all about building strong business relationships with key clients and customers who hire the space, bringing in patrons to their events. WSEC uses external providers for the venue concessions, operating the catering, ticketing and merchandise businesses. “With these relationships, you expect more from suppliers, because youare a venue that cannot close or go offline for a long time, while something is being done or fixed.(‘The show must go on!’).
We have an event schedule in which they must work around and within, so we often need to find people who understand that being in sports and entertainment, they need to be willing and able to respond to those demands.” The WSEC has built many important relationships over the years with their contractors and suppliers to ensure that they succeed in offering the premium services, which the public rightly demand.
As with all major venues, WIN Stadium and the WEC has a larger number of people attending events and their major focus is on ‘patron safety’. They run a full risk assessment on every event, before it comes to the venues. The model has been developed to identify the major risks of a particular event, and works out how the major risks can each be addressed and/or minimised. “No one in the venues wants any of our patrons or participants to be injured, so our risk assessment is vital in how we work. This comes from the point of view of our patrons; those who come in to visit us, and for whom we have a huge duty to care – but also for every person who are working or playing in our venues.”
A great deal of the work that is done inside the WEC is at height – including rigging and elevated work platform work – which involves a large number Operating and Developing into a Successful Integrated Venue