Ed Sheeran's promoter: Why we're not going to Wellington and Christchurch
Ed Sheeran's promoter Michael Gudinski says skipping Wellington and Christchurch was an easy decision.
Sheeran will play three shows in Auckland, and three in Dunedin, avoiding New Zealand's second and third biggest cities, and Frontier Touring boss Gudinski says the decision was "pretty obvious, really".
Gudinski, 64, who has toured acts such as Leonard Cohen, Justin Bieber and Green Day to New Zealand, said Wellington and Christchurch's venues just didn't hold up.
He said performing in Wellington wasn't an option for most major acts because setting up at Westpac Stadium could prove problematic.
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Gudinski added: "To be honest with you, I'm a big fan of playing rugby pitches, it sounds better, it works better. In Wellington, it's just.... I've done one show at the Cake Tin. It's a great sporting venue, but..."
Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said a larger indoor arena in the Wellington region would be better for the capital.
"We would see more acts coming through with a larger arena," he said.
That is on the cards for the Wellington City Council, who projected $65 million for a 12000-seated indoor arena set to commence in 2021 and finish by 2023.
Harmon said Westpac Stadium continued to be a viable stadium that was able to host more than a sporting event.
"(In the past) we've hosted Elton John, ACDC, Guns N' Roses and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - they were fantastic," he said.
"We're very keen to secure a Frontier Touring gig at some stage and we'd love to prove him wrong."
The risk of poor weather made playing stadium shows in the south an issue, Gudinski said, which made the roof at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium an attractive proposition. He said he loved Christchurch and had taken Springsteen there but Dunedin was a safer bet.
Despite having a smaller population, Gudinski said New Zealanders were willing to travel for acts like Sheeran which meant they didn't need to perform in the cities.
"Why Dunedin? It's got a fantastic venue, it's covered and people in New Zealand are prepared to travel," he said. "The venue is attractive in Dunedin because of the weather."
Gudinski said Sheeran's tour would "not cut any corners" and Sheeran would bring his own stage and PA set up on the road with him for the gigs in March next year. Gudinski said he was sorry they wouldn't hit all centres, but the size of the show made multiple venue changes a difficult proposition.
Gudinski said delivering six gigs in New Zealand was a big achievement. "No one has done six shows in New Zealand, even Harry Styles couldn't knock it off."