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February 2024

Building boost for Bay Oval during test

Big crowds, balmy sunshine - and soon Tauranga cricket fans will have world-class cricket facilities to match their world-class ground.


As thousands of cricket fans poured through the new entrance to Bay Oval for the opening two days of the New Zealand-South Africa test, work is well underway to complete a massive pavilion extension.

The project will add in lounge and bar facilities, offices and space for both match-day and year-round operations, and will double the size of the existing pavilion space.

When it's completed - in the second half of this year - Bay Oval general manager Kelvin Jones expects the venue to be able to host even the most prestigious of fixtures.

"The big carrot is that we want to be in the hunt for an England test match in November/December, and we want to give ourselves every opportunity," says Kelvin.

"We're already one of the premier test match grounds in New Zealand and we're hoping to elevate it even further - with the enhancements we've got planned, we're really close to being right up as the best ground in the country."

Big crowds enjoy the opening two days of the cricket test between New Zealand and South Africa at Bay Oval, as work gets underway to extend the venue's facilities.  Photo:Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media.

The current South Africa match is the fifth test at the ground since 2019, and comes after a 20-year dream to transform the old Blake Park cricket ground - which had lost first-class status - into something visionary. 


The Bay Oval Trust, with support from local funders and Tauranga City Council, has created a pristine, pōhutukawa-lined oval with an expertly-curated pitch, six 50-metre LED light towers and capacity for 12,000 spectators. 

The current pavilion work, which will see the existing groundsman facilities built on top of, will be available for a range of different events and users.


"We're looking at the potential for concerts and it can and should be so much more than just a cricket ground," says Kelvin. "It will give us a facility that supports the ground all year-round."


Bay Oval is already the operations centre for the Zespri AIMS Games, which brings significant benefits to regional coffers, while international cricket matches have also proved their worth.


Last year's Black Caps-England test at Bay Oval saw domestic and international visitors spend $4,116,651 in Tauranga during the test, with an estimated net benefit to the city of $1,901,103.


A report showed the test attracted 7086 visitors to Tauranga, made up of 5310 domestic visitors and 1775 international visitors, with 95 per cent of attendees saying they were satisfied or very satisfied with their event experience and 94 percent of Tauranga residents saying hosting events like the test match increases their pride in the city and makes Tauranga a more enjoyable place to live.


Kelvin has also received plenty of feedback from those closer to the action too.


"The players are happy, the broadcasters are happy and the best part of the package here is our location - we're in a part of the world that everyone wants to come to."


Sources: Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media /

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