By Graham Mason
Optus Stadium in the Perth, Western Australia, suburb of Burswood, is ready to welcome crowds back to football next month, following the WA State Government announcement of the relaxing of rules governing mass gatherings.
From Saturday, July 18, Optus Stadium will be in the unique situation of being able to operate at full capacity, without crowd restrictions, and be able to welcome back up to 60,000 expectant football fans.
In the meantime, until the next tranche of AFL fixtures are announced, the Catering team has begun the process of restocking the venue with Gage Roads, Mrs Mac’s pies and all the other food favourites that football fans expect.
The Optus Stadium Operations team has taken the opportunity over the past few months to complete a full range of work, in anticipation events would eventually return to the stadium that last year was voted the most beautiful venue in the world.
That includes a deep clean of retail and premium product spaces, installation of sanitising stations, sanitising of all equipment and areas, upgrades to stadium security and CCTV systems, and decommissioning and now recommissioning of all electrical equipment and infrastructure that had meant big savings in utility consumption.
Optus Stadium CEO Mike McKenna said it has been 121 days since West Australians were able to enjoy an event at Optus Stadium, with the Queen + Adam Lambert concert before more than 47,000 fans, the last event on February 23.
“The opportunity to welcome fans back to Optus Stadium is a great celebration of success for all West Australians in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Everyone can’t wait for the return of the AFL. Football is a major avenue for the people of WA to connect with family and friends, it’s a key component of our community and culture and an opportunity for outdoor social activity and engagement.”
Optus Stadium employs 3,000 casual staff, 300 security, and 200 cleaners and the majority have indicated a willingness to return to work at Optus Stadium.
“More than 60% of Optus Stadium staff are female and we understand that demographic has been hard hit by the impact of COVID-19. We look forward to providing opportunities for all of our fantastic staff to get back to the work they love,” McKenna said.
Along with direct stadium employment, events at Optus Stadium provide business for many WA companies who supply goods and services.
Fans at Optus Stadium purchase up to $50 million per annum in food, beverages and other supplies. Up to 85% of that is supplied by WA companies like Gage Roads and Mrs Mac’s which equates to hundreds of jobs for businesses reliant on stadium activities.
Graham Mason is Head of Media, Communications & Government Relations, Optus Stadium.