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July 17: Lions tour shines spotlight on H3 venues

H3’s venues were put through their paces during the recent British and Irish Lions tour.

Hamilton’s FMG Stadium Waikato played host to around 30,000 rugby fans for the main spectacle – the Chiefs v Lions match on Tuesday, 20 June – while at the same time over 1000 people converged on Claudelands Arena to watch the game on the big screen as part of the city’s free Fan Zone event.

Just 24 hours prior the arena hosted a gala dinner in celebration of the impending rugby match, which saw a large crowd enjoy a three-course meal and hear from guest speakers including Lions coach Warren Gatland, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and former All Black Mils Muliaina.

An influx of campervans took up residence on the Claudelands site in a temporary campervan park set up to cater to travelling Lions fans, while a walking trail lined with footpath decals and themed signage panels guided pedestrians between Claudelands and FMG Stadium Waikato.

Even H3’s cricket venue Seddon Park got in on the action – it hosted an intimate pre-game dinner function for a group of invited guests just prior to the 20 June match.

H3 Director of Business Development and Marketing Denise McRae says the Lions tour was a great chance to showcase of the capabilities of H3’s venues and staff.

“To host a full house at FMG Stadium Waikato is an achievement on its own, so to do that while also delivering a range of other events and initiatives throughout our business is a huge testament to the flexibility of our venues and the can-do attitude of our team,” she says.