Lancaster Park was Christchurch’s primary outdoor sports stadium with a capacity of almost 40,000 but due to damage sustained during the 2011 earthquakes, is now closed. While three of the four grandstands still stand today, the stadium is expected to be completely demolished in time. A new 20,000-seat temporary stadium has been constructed at Rugby League Park to cater for sporting events in the city until a new permanent stadium is built close to the CBD.
The venue previously had two naming-rights sponsors – most recently it was known as AMI Stadium (also the name of the current venue at Rugby League Park) and before that, Jade Stadium. The historic venue first opened in 1881 and hosted many sports including Rugby Union, Rugby League, Soccer, Cricket and in the early days also Athletics and Trotting. It was home to the Canterbury Crusaders Super Rugby franchise and also played host to Rugby Union internationals, New Zealand international cricket matches, occasional NRL and A-League matches as well as concerts. A record crowd of 57,000 was recorded in 1961 for an All Blacks v France Rugby Union game.
Lancaster Park underwent significant redevelopment between 1995 and 2010. The Hadlee Stand opened in 1995 and the 17,000-seat Western Stand and Tui Stand opened in 2000. In preparations for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the three Eastern Stands made way for the new $60m Deans Stand, which opened in 2010. The total capacity was 38,628 with temporary seating planned to increase this to 45,000 for the Rugby World Cup.
The 2011 Christchurch earthquakes caused significant damage to the stadium and the venue has not hosted an event since and all Rugby World Cup matches were relocated away from the city. The Hadlee Stand was demolished in 2012 due to major damage sustained. The Western and Eastern stands also sustained significant damage and while the still stand today, repair works would prove too costly and they will be demolished.
The Canterbury Crusaders have since moved to the temporary AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park while Cricket has established a new venue at Hagley Oval. A new 35,000-capacity covered rectangular stadium will be built on the edge of the city to host Rugby Union, League, Soccer and concerts. It’s hoped the stadium will be built in time for the 2017 Lions Tour of New Zealand.