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Phoenix look for out-of-town boost

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/06/2016

The Caketin will be seeing much less of the Wellington Phoenix in 2016/17. © Peter Bush/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images The Caketin will be seeing much less of the Wellington Phoenix in 2016/17. Four out-of-town home games and a swathe of Saturday evening matches feature in the Phoenix's A-League draw for next season.

Wellington will play 14 home games - 10 in Wellington, two in Auckland and one each for Hamilton and New Plymouth.

Seven matches on home turf at Westpac Stadium in Wellington will be played on Saturday evening, as will all four out-of-town home matches.

Westpac Stadium will be out of action in December while it undergoes a complete turf replacement for the first time in 16 years.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said while late afternoon matches would have been ideal, Saturday night games were the next best option.

He said the draw also reflected conditions surrounding the Phoenix's A-League license extension last year.

Wellington were granted a four-year immediate license deal by the FFA, with two further three-year extensions dependent on meeting a number of targets around improved crowds, TV ratings, and membership.

"It was made clear in our negotiations last year that the FFA mandated the Phoenix should be playing around New Zealand, and that our average crowd is over 10,000 rather than the 8000 it was last season," Dome said.

"We are very focused on the fact that crowds and viewership need to steadily improve as part of our agreement with the FFA, and games outside Wellington almost always increase our attendance."

The Phoenix will kick-start their season against Melbourne City at Westpac Stadium on October 8.

Hamilton's Waikato Stadium will host Central Coast Mariners on December 10, with the Phoenix then travelling to Auckland for a fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers the following week.

Wanderers' second New Zealand game will be at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth on February 4, while the Phoenix will host Perth Glory at QBE Stadium on Auckland's North Shore on March 4.

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