Courts in Albany, Avondale and Victoria Park officially opened to the public this week following the completion of the Ōtara court late last year. The project’s final court in Glen Innes is set to finish in 2017.
In 2014, Spark teamed up with Kiwi NBA player Steven Adams and the Auckland council to open courts in North, South, East, West, and Central Auckland. But with the exception of its West Auckland court, which opened last year—albeit seven months behind schedule—The Boroughs has been marred with a series of delays constantly putting the project on the back-burner.
Speaking to StopPress earlier in the year, Spark’s GM of marketing, Clive Ormerod, cited “normal construction type delays, weather and changes to scope”, as well as dealings around “consent, planning, and building” with Auckland Council, as the main reasons behind the hold ups.
The delays caused frustration to those looking forward to the project, with many taking to social media to voice their opinions.
In a statement regarding the opening of the three courts, Spark’s head of brand, communications, and experience Sarah Williams says the company is thrilled to have three more ‘Boroughs’ basketball courts open.
“We hope Aucklanders enjoy using these courts over the coming summer, and that locals really take ownership of them as their courts and use them to benefit their communities,” she says.
Auckland Council’s general manager of parks, sports and recreation, Mace Ward, says, the courts are “a great example of what can be achieved when public and private sectors work together for the good of the community”.
“The court in Ōtara has been a big hit with local people and we are confident the new courts will prove equally as popular with other Aucklanders,” says Ward.
The courts are equipped with free WiFi for Spark customers to use, and community events are being planned for the coming new year which will include three tournaments, as well as music, food, and other community activities.
‘The Boroughs’ is part of a wider effort by Spark to get more young people interested in the company having struggled to tap into the market in its Telecom days. The approach focuses on offering experiences, which fueled the drive behind the telco’s highly successful partnership with Spotify.