Contracts, jobs in the air at Perth Stadium

12 May, 2017

With Perth Stadium now 82 per cent complete and Ed Sheeran confirmed as the first artist to play at the new venue, procurement and employment opportunities continue to roll in.

VenuesLive—the State Government-appointed operator—now has just months to prepare for the handover from contractor Multiplex on 1 January next year.

CEO Mike McKenna, says WA punters are in for the time of their lives in what will be one of the world’s best stadiums.

He will outline $20m worth of supply contracts available at a CCI Meet the Buyer event on May 23.

“There’s everything from supplying us with staff uniforms right through to safety equipment, like requiring ambulances, carts to move food and beverages through the inside of the venue and a whole range of different things,” McKenna says.

“We’ll spend about $20 million a year on supplies and services and of those, a large proportion will be catering. Some will be contracted to preferred suppliers, but a lot of it will be available for the market and for West Australian businesses to provide.

“We’re very focussed as part of our catering plan on locally-produced food and beverages to make sure people coming to the venue are getting to experience West Australia, rather than just come to the stadium.”

He says businesses should keep an eye out for the opportunities, which also include security and cleaning.

“There’s a lot of glass in there to clean,” he quips.

While construction is being completed by Brookfield Multiplex, Venueslive is responsible for the internal fitout—all the things that would fall out if you tipped the stadium upside down and shook it, says McKenna in the easiest way to describe the different roles of contractor versus operator.

Once open, there will be ongoing opportunities around the stadium site as well, such as the 40 or so annual organised activity days in the surrounding parklands, or the 1500-person amphitheatre.

With up to 60,000 people regularly making their way to the stadium, mostly by public transport, suburbs near the stadium should benefit too.  

“One of the things we’ve just started talking about is how we can work with local businesses on the routes where the main public transport distributors are going to be dropping people off and picking people up,” he says.

It may sound like a lot of work but McKenna, who was the architect of the Big Bash League and has run football and cricket events at stadiums around the country, says he and his team will deliver the best fan experience they can.

“There is a whole raft of concerts, soccer games, rugby league games, rugby union games we’ve attracted that wouldn’t be here otherwise. Bringing things to Perth that we otherwise wouldn’t get, I think is what we are seeking to achieve.”

“This will be one of the best stadiums in the world and certainly the best in the region, not just Australia. It has facilities here that you won’t find anywhere else in Australia. It is bringing the very best of ideas into the one stadium is fantastic.”

McKenna flags its best features as the largest screens in the Southern Hemisphere coming in at 10.24m x 33.28m, and the 15,000 LED lights which can enhance the fan experience by lighting or darkening the venue for team entrances or other celebratory moments.

The seats are bigger than other stadiums and have cup holders, and most importantly, there are more toilets than any other venue—1500 in all, of which 781 are female.

“Every seat is about 40m from a food and beverage outlet or a bathroom, so the key for that is you don’t have to spend too long away from your seat and miss the action,” he says.

“The look of the stadium is also something that is very striking. This is a real key feature and ultimately an icon for Peth. If you are coming in from the airport, then it becomes one of those things that forms part of the gateway to Perth, and we’re pretty proud of the way it looks too.”

Perth Stadium will be a full-time operation with two restaurants and parklands open every day. When the footbridge is complete, it will open the Burswood Peninsula to East Perth.

“The whole precinct is a seven-day a week destination. There’s an ala-carte restaurant that seats 150 people and a 500-person buffet next door to that. It is a top-range aspirational venue.

“We can see people coming here for this facility and other things around the river as just part of your day-to-day life.”

The area will be the heart of WA tourism, says McKenna, who’s planning a four to five month-long festival to celebrate the stadium’s opening and give everyone the chance to get in on the action.

“There is real relief that this is going to be part of the solution and growth of the tourism industry in Perth,” he says.

“Tourism is a major driver of jobs in this state and is one of the key industries, with 93,000 people employed in the industry and we will help feed the rest of the tourism industry.

“That could be an Ashes Test match, people coming every weekend for AFL games, staying for the game but also for a weekend in Perth, a trip to Margaret River or, in fact, a week going up to Broome. That is a critical part of the reason why the WA Government spent $1.3 billion on this site.

“To open the venue in a way that suits everybody, we will make sure that activity with local businesses is set up and well-organised, and the whole thing can kick off in the most effective, efficient and fun way.”

What about an adventurous edge to the project, where some stadiums such as Adelaide Oval allow people to walk across the rooftops, a bit like climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

“We’ve got all sorts of ideas that are in play,” he says. “That’s something we’re interested in. We’re not doing it at this point in time, but it is of interest.”

While completion day is closing in, the last five to 10 per cent involves a lot of the detail.

“There’s a significant amount of work done on the external part of the venue, a lot of the stadium parklands are in place and growing, other parts are yet to be finished, particularly where there is construction and car parking and those sorts of things.

Views to the west are magnificent and take in the city skyline and the iconic WACA. You can see the restaurants taking shape as they point towards the Swan River our changing city skyline. You can just imagine them in another year’s time teeming with punters revelling in the views.

The landscaping in and around the main arena is slowly but surely morphing into the 6.5ha Stadium Park.

Stadium Park sits between the Swan and the Graham Farmer Freeway and includes a sensory playground, billabong, two ovals and loads of options for various activities on any given day.

McKenna’s right—the stage is set for this to be Perth greatest showcase.

►Want to learn more about Perth Stadium supply opportunities? Book your spot at CCI’s Meet the Buyer – Perth Stadium event now.