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Sports Precinct – Issue 20

Alrighty, the superiors, with all their infinite wisdom, have decided to give us an unlimited budget to design a brand-new Waikato University sports precinct, albeit an imaginary budget. Imaginary or not, we reckon we can put together a sport’s plan that’ll leave you, the sports-deprived, mildly-alcoholic reader, frothing at the seams and gaggin’ for more. 

Currently, our sports field is about as useful as dick veins on a rolling pin, and we’ve got to make a change. Currently, we have three cricket pitches, a couple of footy fields plus change out front of the uni. Now I’m all for swinging a piece of willow around, and I’ve dabbled in a bit of code, but that’s too much. So, with that being said, here’s phase one of the genius plan.

Phase 1: We replace some of the front fields with a small-sized stadium, maxing out at around 12,000 people. For context, FMG stadium has about 25,800 capacity. This will allow us to host sporting events for the smaller sides that can’t afford to book out a place the size of Waikato Stadium. And it goes without saying, a stadium the size of Auckland’s Spark Arena, the number one destination for foreign music acts in the country within spitting distance of us, would attract those same acts to Hamilton. This brings me to phase two.  

Phase 2: Use the money the University saved giving us half-assed education over A-trimester and purchase the Wellington Phoenix. A controversial call in a rugby-dominated town, but hear me out. The Phoenix have been drowning for the better part of a decade. Renting out the cake-tin every week is a costly endeavour for a team that attracts four-fifths of fuck all fans and a stray cat to their games week in week out. If they moved here, we’d not only give them the cheaper option of booking out our freshly-built, smaller stadium, but we could embrace them with a vibrant student culture just stoked to have someone actually wants to move to their city. Thus, we will be saving the Nix from themselves, getting their heads above water, and creating a go-to destination on Saturday night for Mr and Mrs degenerate student. Now that we’ve acquired a cheeky little stadium and got the Phoenix off their life-support, we can move on to phase three. 

Phase 3: Word about the stadium has spread, the Nix are second on the table, going strong, the fan base has exploded into an army of Hamilton breathers and breathettes with nothing better to do. Now we can really hit our stride and make the new stadium Hamilton’s hotspot. Picture it, you’re a young soul in the Halls, you and your mates have been kicked out at ten by your RA. You’ve nowhere to go. However, this year’s different, now there’s a stadium on your back doorstep. Introducing: the corkage fee. You run through the entrance, leaving your troubles behind you, bringing your piss with you. By paying a simple $6 corkage fee anyone could bring in with them a 15-box of your finest neck oilers, or a bottle of wine if you swing that way. Now let’s say you get 6,000 of Waikato Uni’s 12,000 strong student population out to watch a Nix game every week. And we’ll also say that an extra 2,000 normal, working, debt-less people join in for the sake of it. That’s 8,000 people at the game paying $6 each. We’ll be pulling in $48k every week, $96k if we get some cheeky back to back gigs going. This, working in tandem with your standard $15 game ticket and some strategically placed $9 beers for the more affluent boomers, results in a fuck load of disposable income. This transitions nicely into phase four. 

Phase 4: Now that we’ve got more cash than you could poke a stick at, it’s time to use it. We design a brand new student-sports bar. Cheap drinks, and any sport you could hope to watch. Tear down the Don, it was doing fuck all anyway.

Phase 5: With the leftover cash we could put in place brand-new training facilities and new Human Health and Performance faculty buildings for the University, We rebrand as the go to destination for student-athletes in the country. The new facilities, the stadium, the injections of cash from the bar and stadium every week, and the opportunity to work with real professional sports teams could see the Health and Human Performance faculty expand hugely. Think about it for a second, we can solve two problems at once. The University needs an identity. Otago is the student culture place, Auckland is the wanky pretentious campus, Lincoln marry their cousins when they can’t find a merino sheep to accept a dowry. Hamilton has Momento and a lake. 

There is a real chance we can become the sports University. We already have the Hillary Scholar program, a program that prides itself on the development of young athletes. Let’s become the place where doing data analysis and injury prevention programmes is the norm, where students can do physiotherapy and sports massage. It doesn’t even need to be limited to Health and Human Performance. Arts students can get involved to creating programmes for games, music students composing entrance themes. There would even be space for a philosophy student to make some money inside a mascot costume.