MEDIA RELEASE 2 December 2005


CHRISTCHURCH: Westpac Centre makes World’s Top 10 Venues for gross ticket sales 2005


The 8888-seat Westpac Centre in Christchurch has ranked number 10 in the world for venues under 10,000 seats for gross ticket sales for 2005 – a stunning achievement that puts the New Zealand venue right behind North American centres with far greater population hinterlands to draw on. It is the only venue outside North America inside the top ten.


Mike Kelly, executive director of venue manager Vbase, said the annual survey by industry trade journal Venues Today carried considerable impact and would further consolidate Christchurch’s position as a “must play” venue on international tours.


The 2005 performers who helped the venue achieve its ranking included Cher, Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, R.E.M., Mark Knopler, Norah Jones, Moody Blues, Dido, Velvet Revolver, Crusty Demons, Edgefest and Black Eyed Peas.


Mike Kelly, who relocates to NCC Management & Development Co Ltd (Bangkok) at the end of the year, said it was a great note to leave Christchurch on after 10 years managing the Westpac Centre, Christchurch Convention Centre and Town Hall.


“We started promoting the Westpac Centre to international entertainment promoters even before the arena was finished, in one case having a black tie and hard hat dinner under canvas on site. The promoters said they would support the city after years of being at the mercy of variable weather with outdoor venues – and they have brought a stunning array of world class performers here,” Mr Kelly said. “It’s important to acknowledge the faith those promoters have put in the venue and the crowds it can attract.”


“For a relatively small arena, with just under 8900 seats, in an even smaller market that is challenged geographically, and after converting our sales into American dollars, we are still placed ahead of some traditional industry leaders – and we are the highest ranked venue outside North America. This really is a huge achievement in the global entertainment industry.”


“The only downside is that we have created expectations for that world-class quality of artist and we are not always going to be able to provide as many entertainment options. Next year we are looking forward to Stevie Nicks, The Doobie Brothers and some other top-flight performers who haven’t yet signed the final contracts.”


Vbase is combining its management and marketing roles with Jade Stadium and Mike Kelly sees another opportunity for Christchurch to attract the larger concerts there. “It’s an ideal time to consider how the Jade Stadium arena can be upgraded to a concert venue design as well as an expanded arena for a 2011 Rugby World Cup semi final.”




For more information contact Mike Kelly on or phone