Westpac Stadium has today confirmed that it’s Head of Crowd Engagement and resident DJ has been fired. CEO Harmon McShane told a Sportsfreak roving reporter that Westpac Stadium’s now ex staff member had been let go for breach of contract and performance related issues.
“Look, it came to our attention pretty quickly after the last Lions match that something had gone wrong. He’s contractually obliged to play ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond at least once per game, and maybe even twice if it encourages any sort of emotion from the usual stoic and grumbling rugby fans, but for some reason it wasn’t played. That’s not good enough in this day and age and we had to act swiftly”.
Your reporter understands that the middle-aged white men in the crowd (a significant majority) were growing increasingly frustrated in the second half either due to the lack of Sweet Caroline or because the Lions were struggling to perform anything resembling a cohesive rugby move. McShane himself noticed a restless disquiet, but put it down to the poor rugby on display.
“Yeah to be honest, most of the people that come to these games are either kids who don’t know who Neil Diamond is, or boomers who don’t have, or know how to use, social media. This meant that we weren’t promptly informed about the issue at the time as the boomers would rather grumble over a jug in the Featherston rather than actually complain.”
Wellington Rugby CEO Evan Matthews was asked for his comment on crowd engagement and said that he’s been made aware of the issue.
“I didn’t notice anything was wrong at the time, but in hindsight I had been humming a few bars of ‘Sweet Caroline’ to myself during the second half. It seems as though we can’t get through 80 minutes of sport in this country without having to play it”.
Universal Music Publishing, which holds the copyright to Neil Diamond’s songs, were bemused by the current infatuation with the song at sporting events. A spokeswoman told your reporter that “it’s kind of strange that a 1969 song about the eleven year old daughter of John F. Kennedy is so popular with sports fans around the world, but it does bring in the royalties”.