May the fourth be with you
Wednesday 13 June 2018 12:00pm
Newcastle was the most important place in the galaxy for sporting fans over the 4 May weekend.
With more than 50,000 fans in the grandstands for two important games, the force was truly awakened.
Friday night saw a crowd of more than 20,000 launch into McDonald Jones Stadium to watch the Newcastle Knights take on the Sydney Rabbitohs. The following day, nearly 30,000 football fans packed the venue to see the Newcastle Jets take on the Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
Extra transport was put on to get supporters to and from the events at warp speed including free space shuttles to and from three parking locations in and around Newcastle. Those that missed out on the sell-out match watched from two free family-friendly live sites in the city and Lake Macquarie.
Usually on the day of an NRL game, giant car-sized logos are painted on the grounds, but this time the Newcastle Knights and the NRL kindly agreed to use digital signage, which reduced the changeover time between matches and prevented further damage to the field of play. One thousand staff worked over the course of the weekend including a key team of 50 who helped with resetting the stadium – from ticket collection prep to cleaning seating areas.
The grandstands weren’t the only area in demand over the weekend… the food-stands were a hubbub of stadium grub.
Superclusters of fans ate and drank their way through:
- 33,000 cups of beer
- 6,500 cups of chips
- more than 2,000 meat pies, and
- 2,000 glasses of wine.
These events demonstrate how the Newcastle City Council, Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Police, the Hunter Development Corporation and Venues NSW worked together to manage two massive events at short notice, which bodes well for Venues NSW’s Hunter Sporting and Entertainment Precinct vision.
Despite both Newcastle teams losing their home turf games, all was not lost. The Newcastle Knights attracted another strong crowd at the stadium just six days later, proving that the force is strong in the Newcastle Empire.