The Western Province Rugby Football Union have decided against relocating from Newlands to the Cape Town Stadium.
A Special General Meeting of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) was held at DHL Newlands on 17 December to give feedback and to discuss the investigation of the feasibility and desirability to relocate to the Cape Town Stadium.
The WPRFU are the owners of the Newlands Rugby Stadium – in turn, the clubs are the stakeholders and owners of the Union – and a decision to remain at Newlands was carried by the clubs unanimously and without abstention.
The decision to NOT further consider relocating to the Cape Town Stadium was based on a number of factors, the main considerations being the following:
(1) The WPRFU owns Newlands Rugby Stadium – including the ground it is built on – outright and is thereby in complete control of its own destiny. Any position for the WPRFU at the Cape Town Stadium will be as a tenant or a minority shareholder in an operating entity as the City has made it very clear the ownership will always remain that of the City.
(2) Whilst selling Newlands Rugby Stadium and moving to the Cape Town Stadium would result in a significant one-off cash injection for the WPRFU, it would be financially very difficult to ever own, purchase or build another stadium in the future, in all likelihood relegating Western Province to a tenant in perpetuity.
(3) There is a model whereby the existing Newlands Rugby Stadium and surrounding properties owned by the WPRFU can be redeveloped to create an additional income stream for the Union and to enhance the area and nearby sporting stadia/facilities.
(4) Spectator numbers at sporting events globally are under threat on an annual basis and we are concerned about the effect on the atmosphere in catering to smaller crowds in a 55,000-seater stadium.
(5) Various other operational and commercial issues were also considered, including:
5.1 – The operating costs pertaining to events at Newlands Rugby Stadium are significantly lower than those at the Cape Town Stadium.
5.2 – The capital replacement costs at Newlands Rugby Stadium are significantly lower than those at the Cape Town Stadium.
5.3 – Co-ordination of events at the Cape Town Stadium will be more difficult – especially in light that certain major entertainment events (such as concerts) are scheduled 12 to 18 months in advance, whereas the WPRFU would finalise its Super Rugby/Currie Cup schedules only by October of the previous year.