2018 for VenuesWest has all been a year full of change, transformation and growth, as well as a long list of achievements that have been celebrated along the way.
It would be impossible to list every achievement VenuesWest has accomplished this year, so we will just share with you some of the major highlights that have benefitted our organisation, customers, stakeholders and the local and wider community.
Changes to the Board
We have had some changes at Board level with Richard Muirhead concluding his time as VenuesWest Chair and long-serving board member Graham Goerke being appointed as our new chairman. At the same time, we also welcomed Paralympian and Order of Australia Medal recipient Priya Cooper to the board.
Opening of Optus Stadium
Since opening in January 2018, Optus Stadium has achieved more success in one year than any other venue in Australia. More than 70,000 people attended the free community open day, overall customer satisfaction is currently sitting at 94%, we had the highest attendance in Australian history for a women’s sporting match and the Stadium is currently ranked the best venue for watching AFL by the game’s fans. The Stadium also welcomed its one millionth visitor and in addition its one millionth football fan to the venue. More recently, Optus Stadium won the Project of the Year at the world's leading stadium industry awards, beating out international competition and securing a remarkable 27th accolade since in less than 12 months.
Women in Sport
With the arrival of Optus Stadium, not only have we been privileged to be able to champion the dreams of at least a million football fans and subsequently many elite players, we have witnessed a never before seen revolution of women participating in competitive sport.
This revolution began in February with the first AFL Women’s game- Fremantle versus Collingwood held at Optus Stadium. This match was historic for so many reasons – it was the first AFL match at Optus Stadium, the biggest crowd for any AFL women’s match and a new record was set for the highest attendance at any women’s sporting event in the country- 41,900 people in attendance.
A month later we welcomed the Matildas to nib Stadium for the first time for their match against Thailand. In a first for Netball, a record number of 13,722 patrons attended RAC Arena for the West Coast Fever vs. Sunshine Coast Lightning Grand Final.
Optus Stadium and RAC Arena were the two biggest naming rights agreements in West Australian history and have completely reshaped the landscape of our world class facilities as well as resulting in a multimillion-dollar return to the State.
Both sponsors, Optus and RAC, align with our core values, are financially self-sustaining and believe in giving back to the WA community as we do.
HBF, the third naming rights sponsor for the year will soon officially become naming rights partner of our rectangular stadium, soon to be known as HBF Park.
At the pinnacle of our industry and forming one of the five strategic objectives is our commitment to delivering outstanding customer experiences.
We are more focused on providing personal and unique experiences and meeting the customer’s growing expectations. As at the end of October we welcomed more than 5.1 million customers into all our venues, which is our highest number to-date. We served a total of 2.9 million customers from January to October in 2017 and 3.3 million customers in 2018 from the same time excluding Optus stadium. This is a 14 percent growth from same time last year. HBF Arena received the highest patronage following the upgrades to the Basketball and Football facilities with 1.2 million people visiting the venue this year -up by 48 percent from the same time last year.
These results go hand in hand with why we received outstanding overall customer satisfaction results of 92 percent this year, based on feedback from more than 11,600 customers across 19 surveys.
World Class events
Keeping our customers coming back to our venues is about providing quality programs, customer service and of course world class events.
We have hosted more than 100 world class sport and entertainment events across our portfolio of venues this year including Pink, Katy Perry, The Wiggles, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
International Rugby/Soccer games as well as an entire season of AFL games including the Preliminary Final held at Optus Stadium with a sporting record attendance of 59,608.
nib Stadium benefited from the return of Western Force who played seven World
Series invitational matches. The first match saw a record crowd of almost 20,000.
Giving back to our community
Following the success of our Ambassador program last year, we continued our direct support of high-performance WA athletes and appointed four more new Ambassadors for 2018/19.
- Courtney Bruce – West Coast Fever captain and Australian Diamonds team member
- Sarah Edmiston – bronze medalist, World Para Athletics Championships, discus
- Nina Kennedy – bronze medalist 2018 Commonwealth Games, pole vault
- Conor Leahy – junior cyclist who has just bene selected onto the Australian Track Cycling Academy Development team
Our Community Partner Program continues to go from strength to strength, with the appointment of Mentally Healthy WA after Superfins and Make a Wish reached their end of their agreements in June.
Last financial year I’m proud to say we assisted our partners by donating close to $50,000 (including proceeds from the AFLW match at Optus Stadium) and nearly $30,000 worth of tickets to sport and entertainment events in our venues.
Capital upgrades to all 13 venues
Our capital works program has delivered 24 capital works projects. The total capital works program to date is valued at $13.4 million (SAM Plan only). Some of the more significant projects include: Replacement of the hockey turf at HBF Arena, upgrade of the Champions Club at HBF Stadium, replacement of diving boards at HBF Stadium, resurfacing of the banked skate track at SpeedDome, new start gates and operational boats at Champion Lakes, Completion of the Security Infrastructure Review of venues and glazing replacement at RAC Arena.
These incredible results strongly show that our focus has always been about delivering world class sport and entertainment experiences to our customers, supporting high performance sport and optimising our venues to achieve world class results.