Venues NSW – Managing Cost, Risk and Performance during COVID-19

Executive Summary

Venues NSW portfolio combines more than $4b worth of assets, five distinct precincts, six stadiums and two entertainment centres. With a mature view on asset data collection, Venues NSW completed a comprehensive condition assessment of a new stadium as well as the annual update to existing stadia. Life Cycle Costing is an essential requirement for accurate future forecasting and was particularly relevant with the COVID-19 pandemic causing disruption and uncertainty for sports and entertainment destinations.

Venues NSW now has critical oversight into their geographically dispersed portfolio of major sports and entertainment assets, but also alignment to State policy and ISO best practice Asset Management.

Venues NSW: Managing Cost, Risk and Performance during COVID-19

Venues NSW commercial activities include hiring out venues for sports and entertainment organisations and non-match day functions, event ticketing, hospitality and catering sales, tours, as well as advertising, leasing, membership naming rights and sponsorship arrangements.

Venues NSW takes an integrated approach to the development of stadia, bringing together fans, services and resources as well as making forging partnerships between different stakeholders. These include venues, sporting Codes, audiences, local businesses, NSW Government agencies and community groups.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing unprecedented disruption and uncertainty for public entertainment and sporting stadia, Venues NSW ensured accurate condition assessments of the various venues it owns, coordinates, and promotes. It also established an Asset Management Policy to align with both the NSW Public Sector Policy (TPP19-07 AM Policy) and ISO Asset Management 55001, the international standard for asset management. Even though there was reduced utilisation of most sporting facilities during the pandemic, there were still capital and maintenance costs in making sure venues were ready for when fans returned.

Building Best Practice Asset Management Principles

The balance between Cost, Risk and Performance to manage under-utilised assets was critical to Venues NSW’s ability to safely maintain multiple stadia across the state without overspending on nonessential maintenance. Venues NSW partnered with AssetFuture to enable evidence-based decision making through comprehensive condition assessments at four stadia, enabling asset intelligence.


CommBank Stadium seats 30,000, bringing fans closer to the action than ever before in Australia. Consisting of four levels with function rooms, lounges, and corporate suites, it has everything for a dedicated fan or corporate sponsor. Food and beverage facilities are plentiful to support all preferences of visitors to the Stadium.

As it was the first condition assessment for CommBank Stadium, it was vital that data quality was exceptional, giving Venues NSW a clear view of forecasting, and a benchmark to base future assessments on.

Additionally, scheduled annual condition assessments were completed in the following stadia:

  • WIN Sport and Entertainment Centres, Wollongong
  • McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
  • Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showgrounds


Venues NSW already had a mature approach to data with scheduled annual condition assessments. Previously, these were performed, and the data stored and analysed separately. Bringing together disparate data sets from previous assessments and new data from CommBank Stadium within the AssetFuture platform created a dynamic Asset Register, underpinned by Asset Management best practice, such as:

  • Asset hierarchy
  • Asset naming convention
  • Condition & functional ‘Fit-for-Purpose’ assessment
  • Criticality & risk assessment
  • Minimum required condition standards

The Platform allows everyone to see key data to understand the portfolio such as:

  • Number of assets
  • Types of assets
  • Location of assets
  • Age of assets
  • Condition and maintenance liability
  • Asset valuation


Data integrity is critical to the ongoing relevance of asset intelligence for Venues NSW. Regular scheduled condition assessments as well as the capture of new assets and issues are standardised processes for the team. These processes are documented in the Asset Management Plan and align with the NSW Public Sector Policy (TPP19-07 AM Policy) and ISO 55001 best practice.


Creating the link between Corporate Strategy and Asset Management Strategy is core to ensuring success. The NSW Stadia Strategy provides recommendations to target investment in stadia so that they become multi-use hubs with multiple tenants. Venues NSW is a key entity in the delivery of modern stadia and facilities of varying sizes to meet sport and major events needs across the State.

The success of the Stadia Strategy also relies on quality services and facilities, transport connectivity and a highly activated entertainment precinct in the stadia surrounds.

For the Strategic Asset Management Plan, this is reflected in the maintenance standards, the risk management strategy and the measurement of asset performance throughout its life cycle. This line of sight enables forecasting confidence for necessary funding requirements, helping drive the vision of the future for NSW.


Good decisions start with good data, and Venues NSW’s approach to data maturity enabled the accelerated implementation of the digital intelligence solution from AssetFuture, which included an Asset Management Plan.

The solution incorporates full Asset Lifecycle Intelligence capability. This has enabled a much more accurate, consistent, and efficient approach to delivering cost, risk and reliability forecasting.  Venues NSW can now enable a 5-year or 10-year view cashflow, capital works requirements and forecast asset condition, including “what-if” maintenance strategy scenarios.

This was especially important in 2021 where “what-if” became a reality, and scenario planning was critical to ensure funds were being directed appropriately and aligned with best practice as well as criticality and risk factors, should fans return to the stadia within an unexpected timeframe.


The combination of great baseline data and the Life Cycle Costing approach moves Venues NSW from a reactive approach to a preventative approach to maintenance. Frequent scheduled condition assessments close the feedback loop and enables a deeper understanding of assets and how they perform.

Creating Capability in Uncertainty

There have been many challenges for organisations in 2021, but especially for those that rely on large gatherings of people in one place. Uncertainty throughout 2020 and 2021, led Venues NSW to look for a solution that would create the intelligence to inform evidence-based decision-making on investments, with the right parameters for risk.

There was the tendency for a lot of organisations to take a ‘risk-based approach’ and maintain the bare minimum until there was more clarity on the situation. Venues took a more holistic and original viewpoint on investment for core maintenance.

The longer-term viewpoint with scenario planning creates capability for uncertainty in all situations. Venues NSW was able to understand and model different investment decisions across the whole portfolio.

Delivering Best in Class: At Speed

Through excellent stakeholder communication frameworks, and a deep understanding of program and project management, Venues NSW and AssetFuture worked to implement a digital intelligence solution in 4 days.

During the condition assessment period, COVID-19 restrictions were variable across the state, creating additional layers of complexity to the project. Extra precautions for all team members were implemented in accordance with the Covid Safety protocols put in place to protect all members of the community.

Creating Spaces for Communities to come together

Venues NSW has a duty to provide incredible spaces for the community to experience together, safely. There is also a duty to create opportunities to optimise existing assets by taking a proactive approach to maintenance. Venues NSW is enhancing the holistic view of the portfolio including the Sydney Cricket Ground, Accor Stadium, and the Sydney Football Stadium in the network asset management strategy.

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