Audit firm advises WP to move

2012-03-19 16:39

Cape Town - Auditing firm Grant Thornton believes the proposed move for the WP Rugby Union from Newlands to the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point is "promising".

The announcement by Cape Town’s mayor, Patricia de Lille, last week that the union and the city were entering formal talks for Cape Town Stadium in Green Point to become WP Rugby's new home is promising because the stadium can hold an additional 7 000 spectators compared to Newlands.

“In terms of growth of rugby as a sport in the province, the Newlands stadium is beginning to constrain the WP Rugby team,” says Gillian Saunders, head of Advisory Services at Grant Thornton in Johannesburg.

“In the build up to the Soccer World Cup in 2010, research indicated that there could be demand for an extra 50% more spectators at some rugby games, which the Newlands stadium could not accommodate.”

The Western Province rugby body also owns the Newlands stadium as well as a few additional properties in the neighbourhood.

“WP Rugby could make a considerable profit on the sale of this land, which would help to boost union coffers,” said Saunders.

Should Newlands stadium be sold, the Stormers' Super Rugby team would also need to consider moving across to the Cape Town Stadium.

However, Saunders agrees with the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPFRU) head Tobie Titus stating last week that the move will take many years of negotiations and planning. 

“There is a huge emotional attachment which Cape Town rugby supporters have to Newlands - many generations have supported the rugby team at the WP Rugby home grounds,” adds Saunders. “The City of Cape Town is effectively the landlord of the Green Point stadium and it will have to be realistic to ensure that the move to Green Point is attractive in all aspects. Getting buy-in from the community plays a vital role here.”

But Saunders emphasises that consideration needs to be made regarding the reduced suite capacity in Green Point, with approximately 100 corporate suites available compared to Newlands Stadium’s 315 suites.

“Executive and corporate suites are an important revenue source for the union and it would not make business sense to lose profit from more than 200 suites,” continues Saunders.

A cost effective option which would prevent further construction costs to build extra suites could be to consider the new “business club seating” option. The business club seating provides for a large group of seats to be exclusively available for corporate sponsorship and this seating is then serviced by a central hospitality offering.

Saunders added that the Cape Town stadium is fairly well utilised already but that the move of WP Rugby to the stadium would significantly improve this, making the stadium highly utilised, operating at breakeven and probably at a surplus.

“Green Point Stadium has done very well since the World Cup with many high profile concerts and additional corporate usage linked to the International Convention Centre, but the public’s opinion that stadiums should be used more than three or four times a month is unrealistic,” said Saunders. “Even top UK football stadia don’t experience utilisation statistics which are that impressive.”

Saunders believes that if the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point experiences two or three reasonable capacity utilisations per month, the venue is well occupied. 

“While there is a lot more negotiation to take place before this move is formally agreed, we do believe the solution is beneficial to the team, the Cape Town supporters and to the union overall, as well as to the City to ensure good utilisation levels of its asset,” said Saunders.


  • Sharksfever - 2012-03-19 16:41

    Just move it!!!

      Francois - 2012-03-19 19:06

      When is the Sharks moving to Moses Mabidha? Patricia, you know we love you, but do you really want us to trust auditors - I mean it is the very same profession that did not see the housing bubble in the US and Europe and it is the very same profession that did not say that there was anything wrong with the Arms Deal. How are you going to decide who is going to use the soccer stadium if Meat Loaf wants to sing there or JdV wants to score a hat trick there? Then to the WPRFU, you will be paying too much for the crowd if WP does not win a cup soon and what are you going to call home then? The soccer stadium was a mistake and you do not need to correct it and if you do, at least get exemption on quotas - you have paid your dues then.

      Jarryd - 2012-03-19 20:53

      Why rush this important, complicated decision? These rubgy organisations are businesses that need to make proper, well-informed business considerations before deciding. Rather don't be so impatient, and know when they do make their choice, that it will probably be for the best. These deals involve millions of Rands, due care and diligence needs to be observed. Good decisions will lead to good rugby, which is good for us all. :)

      Denny - 2012-03-20 16:15

      @Francois - I was an auditor in Europe just before the credit crunch. (One of the reasons I left was due to my concerns regarding the securitisation industry) Many people (including Auditors) had raised concerns but keep in mind that while it is convenient to blame my former profession for the woes of the world, predicting timing and extent of future economic crashes is certainly outside its realm of responsibility. (Read an audit report - it is always for one company/group and only provides some assurance that information is fairly presented. Fairly presented information could still be misinterpreted or ignored by financial statement users. I'd go so far as to say that this is very often the case). By all means hammer them when they are fraudulent or negligent but remember they aren't all-seeing, all knowing prophets of the economy nor are they supposed to be.

      chris.lategan - 2012-03-20 16:28

      Moving to Greenpoint Stadium has two cons and many pros. The two cons are, traditionalists would be upset and Southern Suburbs folk will have a slightly longer drive to the game. The Pros are: World-class facilities (seating, kiosks, bathrooms, screens, etc all bigger, newer, cleaner, safer and better), more (and safer) parking, the new BRT system provides public transport to the stadium, Northern Suburbs fans and Southern Suburbs fans have an equal distance to the game, City dwellers are there allready (new fans?), the location together with the design of the stadium is breathtaking from the air, the fanwalk builds a lot of enthusiasm before the game and the businesses along it would make a sweet profit with every game and boost tourism, helping the economy. I love Newlands and I've enjoyed supporting WP and The Stormers there for many years, but I think a move to Greenpoint would be a beautiful start to a new era. I'm totally for it. Build a few more suites though.

  • Sharksfever - 2012-03-19 16:45

    "Getting buy-in from the community plays a vital role here.” Wish we got that with the e-tolls. In the long run green point will be a perfect home for the Stormers I think. But then again the history at Newlands. "Wasn't rugby in SA born there?

      David - 2012-03-19 16:49

      Perhaps move elements of Newlands into Green Point stadium. Might cost a little extra but if it helps change mindsets then worthwhile

      Heiku - 2012-03-19 17:17

      Yeah take out the nice clean toilets at green point and transfer the toilets from newlands in there. That should do it.

  • Saffa - 2012-03-19 16:49

    I believe a lot of money has been placed on the table......I believe the WPRFU will NOT be able to refuse........and the 'clubs' they have to get permission from, will not be able to refuse either. So I will talk, and the WPRFU will walk (to Greenpoint) I would be a little sad of course, years of memories at good old Newlands.....but I reckon plenty new memories to be made at Greenpoint, so here's to moving.

      Saffa - 2012-03-19 17:24

      @Maestro - I agree with you 100% with regard to the actual facilities - no contest there. The suites would have to be paid for by the City of Cape Town I reckon (it is probably part of the carrot they are dangling) - I am all for the move as I do feel it will benefit all parties in the long run. @Snywurm - I too feel sad on a certain level, and I know I will sob and wail like a banshee when I visit Newlands for the final time (it will be heartbreaking) BUT: I say again, sometimes one has to look at the bigger picture, remove the politics, and move with the times - but that's just me. I can however understand why so many people are DEAD set against the move.

  • David - 2012-03-19 16:56

    Apart from the extra seating, how does the new stadium compare with Newlands - facilities, access, catering, views etc?

      Citroes - 2012-03-19 17:20

      The new stadium is a fantastic venue. Much easier to get to, easier to get to your seat, beautiful. Its like comparing a new Mercedes to a Mercedes built in the 50's.

      Jean Meyer - 2012-03-19 17:24

      The CT stadium is better in every way. The media facilities is better. They have a fully fitted medical centre. They even have a jail in the basement. More seats. Fan-walk. And it has allot more views than newlands, the sea, table mountain, and its next to the v&a waterfront. And don't forget, Fifa awarded CT Stadium 9/10 for the field, the only one in the country and one of a few in the world to get that score.

      Dirk - 2012-03-19 17:30

      Newlands nice and compact, you're seated close to the game - essential for a rugby match. Green Point feels similar to Ellis Park where one sits further away from the game. Of course Ellis Park got atmosphere and culture like Newlands, Green Point got none.

      Dirk - 2012-03-19 17:30

      Bottom line, Green Point is as useful as tits on a scorpion.

      lydonmcg - 2012-03-19 19:30

      Then clearly scorpions should have been designed with breasts...

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-19 19:36

      Well David, the sight lines are twice as far, which is fine for soccer but awful for rugby. I would also like to get an explanation on the maths of the Audit firm: 7000 more seats is not 50% more attendance. At 7000 seats at R80 for Super Rugby does not come close to 200 Suites at 200 000 over 3 years. The idea of 'hospitality areas' is clearly one from someone who does not know anything about rugby.

  • Dirk - 2012-03-19 17:06

    Boet Erasmus m**r toe. Nuweland volgende. Kings Park, hoe lank nog? Ellis Park... oo donner! Tenminste sal Vrystaatstadion en Loftus deurdruk tot in die verre toekoms.

      David - 2012-03-19 17:20

      Boet Erasmus is no loss. The new PE stadium is way better

      johannes.p.bezuidenhout1 - 2012-03-20 09:43

      Ek stem met Dirk saam. Ek wonder maar net wat gaan met Wp se rugby gebeur as hierdie Groenpunt SDtadion bankrot sou speel. Dit is moontlik want die Stadion is nie vol beset nie en buitendien kan mens nie die politici vertrou nie. Ek wonder net of daar nie een of ander politieke slenter agter die ding lê nie. Wp Rugby het nie vir Groenpunt gevra nie en ek twyfel of die groenpunt stadion gedurende die Wêrelbker vol was. Wat sê sokker? Gaan hulle al hulle wedstryde daar speel?

  • xanman9782 - 2012-03-19 17:07

    Then I will be able to take the My Citi bus to Greenpoint and it will only take 40min. Normally I have to leave at 2:30pm to make the 5pm game.

      sean.looney - 2012-03-19 19:09

      cape town needs more people like you sir.

  • RoryKlein - 2012-03-19 17:21

    The new stadium has no soul. I for one will not support rugby if it is moved to the new stadium. Newlands has history, soul, no need to change the venue. They will move only to admit some months down the line they made a mistake costing everyone time and money. Do the right thing stay where you are and invest the money into newlands. The new stadium is a WHITE elephant IMO!

      Jean Meyer - 2012-03-19 17:27

      But if WPRFU moves it wont be a white elephant anymore. And they have to move because they dont have money to take care of the place. Its too old, too small, and too ugly. ??

      Marni - 2012-03-20 09:58

      My question is just... If the CCT is so hell bent to get WP Rugby to move, why don't they put pressure on the local football clubs as well? On Saturday (17th), there was a football game played at Newlands (when Ajax was klapped by Sundowns 0 - 3). What was wrong with Green Point Stadium?

      Michael - 2012-03-20 14:30

      @Marni-There was a church service at CT stadium that went on from Friday to Sunday. It was meant to save lives but it was reported one person died and a number of them were hospitalised.

  • joeballito - 2012-03-19 17:21

    And a moron called suttcliffe was the stumbling block for the Sharks to move as well.We could have had a new home and the city would have saved hundreds of millions in the long run.Sutcliffe is self centred egostistic miniscule that should never have been municipal manager.He was the instigator for most name changes of Durbans main roads.Sorry off the topic,slightly revelant,but go for it stormers!

      joeballito - 2012-03-19 17:25

      relevant lol

      joeballito - 2012-03-19 17:59

      @ the pink raven you know in your heart you are joking.Kings park has the greatest atmosphere in the world...Ever had a braai there till midnight after a game?Think not.

  • Mack - 2012-03-19 17:30

    Once upon a time Newlands had zero history or presence. Give CT stadium a chance to contiune the Western Province rugby legacy.

      RoryKlein - 2012-03-19 17:41

      Once an elephant always an elephant. The new stadium is an eyesore! Watch they move WP to the new stadium, watch the costs of the tickets climb, it is already expensive at Newlands. I would rather friends around buy a 60" LED, stoke a fire, have chop 'n dop and save money in the long run. Sure it is nice to watch rugby in the stadium. BUT honestly watching rugby with the buds is much more fun again IMO

      Jean Meyer - 2012-03-19 18:29

      @roryklein. The tickets at newlands is only expensive because they dont make enough money( thats why they have to move)

      sean.looney - 2012-03-19 19:15

      @roryklein. a chop 'n dop? what is this, 1986? if cape town stadium is an eyesore then i shudder to think what newlands must be. have you actually seen what newlands looks like on your 60" LED? nevermind the complete lack of amenities and comforts when you're at the ground. im glad that in the last few months the numbers wanting to move have begun to outnumber those who don't. its only a matter of time now and i can't wait!

      RoryKlein - 2012-03-20 12:46

      @SeanLooney I was at Newlands 2 weeks ago, when last have you supported local rugby? It is funny though the ones that want the change are normally the ones that actually dont make use of the facilities. Rather leave it to the people that support the game to make the right choice than to those that dont.

  • Burtfred - 2012-03-19 17:38

    Hell no, we won't go. The politicians and other crooks that think WP rugby should come to their financial rescue at the new stadium have obviously no concern for the traditions and history of the game at Newlands. If WP rugby were to move to the new white elephant, they would lose thousands of long-standing regular spectators that live in the southern suburbs. I have supported WP since childhood but I have no inclination to watch rugby at that fancy soccer stadium in Greenpoint. I won't go. Western Province belongs at Newlands stadium, period.

      Dirk - 2012-03-19 17:52

      Hell yes! Those clowns don't have any form of tradition and culture. They've never played a game of rugby in their lives, let alone watched a Rugby game. Hell, they don't even know what a Rugby ball is.

      David Scott Duncan - 2012-03-19 19:12

      is a compromise on the table? Share the games between the two stadiums?

      sean.looney - 2012-03-19 19:16

      i do. there is loads of tradition in my underpants.

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-20 13:34

      Dirk your are a complete idiot.. You think tradition and rugby belongs to a certain section of the population certainly by your inference, that is only because you have never watched club rugby or heard of rugby clubs from 'the other side of the line' So the only people who played are people of your ilk and did it better than anybody else. It is 2012.. you need to open your eyes mate

  • Nic - 2012-03-19 17:51

    The people that say that Greenpoint has no soul have either never been to the stadium, or are just old sentimental farts who can't handle changing their underwear, let along a life changing experience like watching rugby in a different stadium. Greenpoint is superior in EVERY way, comfort, safety, transport to and from, hospitality (bars etc). A huge problem with the South African mentality is this paralyzing fear of change. Its time to move on and create a new legacy, utilizing this amazing resource that has been provided for us.

      Dirk - 2012-03-19 18:26

      Well I’m still young and hip, seen the world etc. etc. I’ve attended the warm up match at Green point. And yes, that stadium still sucks.

      Chris - 2012-03-19 18:27

      Agree with you Nic. Just get the rugby fans there and the soul will flow over into the sea. WP & Stormer fans by far the best supporting crowd. I for one, just hope it will not take years. Just as Saffa, Maestro et al, I have dear memmories of Newlands (worked there as a schoolboy in the 60's for pocket money), but it is time to move on. Go you Stormers, WP & fans! Show them how it is done!

  • Darian Gray - 2012-03-19 17:59

    The Sharks should also move to Moses Mabida stadium.

      Mack - 2012-03-19 19:05

      I second that

      David Scott Duncan - 2012-03-19 19:09

      im ok with either stadium. Again it comes down to suites, had a little foresight been used when planning these stadiums then the financial issues wouldnt be such a deal now

  • Skhulu - 2012-03-19 18:13

    the issue here is not about better facilities, but just because it was built by the black government and its far far better than the other which represents apartheid. people won't accept.

      Jean Meyer - 2012-03-19 18:24

      Why do you always link everything to apartheid. This has nothing to do with that. And by saying that, you are the racist one!

      Nick - 2012-03-19 18:53

      you box nothing to do with white and black fact newlands known all over the world 2nd oldest stadium in the world has history no other venue can come close to another fact for you santos and ajax play there before they'll go to green point why is that

      Paul Ramncwana - 2012-03-19 23:23

      Dont talk #$§!?

      Paul Ramncwana - 2012-03-19 23:25

      Dont talk #$§!?

  • Nick - 2012-03-19 18:49

    haha how stupid is this woman 2nd oldest stadium in the world you don't just sell it definitely makes business sense for sharks to move venues right next to each other can actually pick up entire shark tank and dump it inside moses mabhida with room to spare

  • francoisj.marais - 2012-03-19 20:49

    Wp sell Newlands, pays every official a super bonus to condon the move and demolish NEWLANDS. Within 10 years the rent has over taken the income from the match income and WP will be banckrupt. Who in their right mind sell his assett to rent a white elephant? We all know if the union is flush with cash from the sale of Newlands, they will spend it on higher salaries for players and officials. Despite an empty trophee cabnet. I have R10-00 betted on this secenario, any takers? Regards Francois M

      Joan - 2012-03-20 09:52

      Wanted to post these very thoughts! Just imagine the money spent afterwards on enquiries into where the money from the sale of the Newlands stadium disappeared. & I am offering odds to entice someone to place a bet against us.

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-20 13:36

      Why does one sell an old asset ans acquire new ones.. I wonder. Let the accountants tell us why.. I like Newlands but getting there is a bitch.

  • Grant - 2012-03-19 20:49

    Personally I believe this is a done deal....and will be fantastic for CT and the growth of rugby in general....I have been watching rugby at Newlands since 1976 , but after watching a few WC football games in 2010 at the CT Stadium I am 100% supportive of that move over. The world will be enchanted by this iconic modern Stadium nestled between the Mountain and the ocean, the proximity to the iconic Vand A waterfont and all that goes with it. Gets my vote ......and this from a traditionalist ! Go for it WP and Stormers!

  • Louis - 2012-03-19 21:09

    Luckily they do not have to worry to move the "Trophy Cabinet"because they do not use it!

  • David - 2012-03-19 21:58

    How often is newlands actually sold out??? There have been plenty vacant seats at the three games played so far this season.

  • Godfried - 2012-03-19 22:12

    Depends on the deal but beware! "Everyone that lives within its means suffers from a lack of imagination" The Lions is a living example of wrong investment decisions.

  • William - 2012-03-19 22:36

    personlik dink ek dit sal n fout wees om te skuif soos die artikel se WP rugby besit Newlands stadium en grond om die stadium as hulle skiuf moet hulle huur betaal wat n onnodige uitgawe gaan wees en as daar n fout gaan inkom oor rugby wedstryd en n sokker of enige ander funksie wat dan en dan nog die losie probleem

  • Larysa - 2012-03-20 00:00

    How much is the auditing firm making out of this deal ???

      Koos - 2012-03-20 01:14

      These type of stories are there to put pressure on WPRU. Let me first clarify this. I'm not a WP supporter. Now the business end. When you get people (like Auditors) that need the law to make them relevant you need to take their advice with a pinch of salt. Currently, Newlands is an asset to WPRU. If the sell it, their coffers will have an influx of cash. If you don’t do something with that cash to gain another asset you’re an idiot of note. To use that money to pay for the use of someone else’s asset is not a very clever method of investment. Even if WPRU spend another R50mil on upgrading Newlands, it will still be an asset to them.

  • Werner Taljaard - 2012-03-20 03:34

    Time to give up the shack and move to the burbs...

  • john.fourie1 - 2012-03-20 08:08

    Does it make sense to sell your home just to have a nice rental? Move but make sure ownership is involved, years down the line what stops goverment from kicking it's tenants out or raising rent just because they can. Another e-toll blindside in the making

  • brand0nbradley - 2012-03-20 08:44

    WP are asking for trouble in this current economic climate, if they move. Why go into debt when you have none and your current situation is rosy? Precisely why the Sharks have not trotted over to MM.

  • pieter.thefuture - 2012-03-20 10:12

    The only problem I will have is will they allow snacks into the stadium - in 2010 I went to the stadium to see a pre-season friendly for the stormers - it was a test of the stadium before the world cup, and I loved the experience, except for one part - I was with a group of about 6 people, and we brought enough biltong, droewors ect. with us to feed an army, at the entrance I was the last of the guys to go in, and I had all the stuff with me. the guard at the gate told me I was not allowed to bring any of the stuff in with me, and I had to get rid of it before I will be allowed to enter, the other guys were told if they left the stadium they would not be allowed back in. Our cars were on the other side of town, so putting the stuff back in the car was not an option - so I did what any true afrikaner would do - I stuffed myself with biltong till I could stuff biltong no more - I had a biltong overdose that day. The one good thing that came out of it is there was a homeless man who was minding his own business that day and just happend to be near the gate - and there where thousands of people in the same boat as me - That man had a mountain of biltong, droewors, nartjies, cokes ect given to him that day. I have never seen a man with a smile that big before or since - right place at the right time you will have to say. So please, Cape Town Stadium, do not spoil the whole thing by not allowing us to bring our own snacks.

  • Stuart - 2012-03-20 11:28

    I agree with Maestro, both from the spectators and the players point of view. In a poll done on the International Sevens Rugby players the Nelson Mandela Stadium Event last December was voted as the best for player experience. Imagine the response if they had played the event at the old home of the "Mighty Elephants" Jan Smuts Stadium. The facilities for spectators and the players at the NMB Stadium are World class.

  • tony.delucchi - 2012-03-20 13:23

    ....even a jail in the basement??? I ask you!!

  • Abie - 2012-04-16 12:16

    The only time that this stadium will we full is when the Crusaders or All Blacks play there.LOL.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-16 13:15

    I would wait until they've had the roof checked out though...

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