In 2007, professional football in New Zealand was rescued when Wellington property developer Terry Serepisos and Century City Football secured a three-year sub-licence to run a team in the Hyundai A-League – Australasia’s premier professional football competition. After the Football Kingz (2005/06) and the New Zealand Knights (2006/07) imploded, it looked certain that Football Federation Australia would pull the pin on a professional New Zealand-based club in the Hyundai A-League. But a small group of people passionate about football in New Zealand kept hopes alive, working tirelessly to convince the FFA that a professional club could survive across the ditch. The Phoenix were awarded a license to play in the Hyundai A-League on 19th March, 2007 and on Sunday 26th August, 2007, Wellington’s first ever professional football teamed took to Westpac Stadium in a credible 2-2 draw with A-League powerhouse the Melbourne Victory.
Since then the Phoenix has gone from strength to strength: over one million people have gone through the gates to watch a Wellington Phoenix A-League match, the Phoenix has broken records for attendances at a football match in New Zealand twice with sell out crowds for the LA Galaxy and David Beckham in 2007, and again against the Newcastle Jets in 2010. The Phoenix has appeared in the A-League finals on four occasions, making the elimination final in 2009-2010 following a stirring semi-final victory against the Jets in front of 32,792 at Westpac Stadium.
In September 2011, the Phoenix was taken over by Welnix, a consortium of some of Wellington’s most successful and influential businesspeople. With business acumen and professional integrity unparallelled in New Zealand business, this consortium has secured the future of the Phoenix for many years to come.
In February 2016, Football Federation Australia granted Wellington Phoenix a 10 year license extension to give the club security heading into the future.
Today Wellington Phoenix is an important and integral part of New Zealand’s sporting landscape, enjoying passionate support from all over New Zealand and the world. With a strong suite of corporate sponsors, a passionate supporter base and the support of the Wellington community in general, Wellington Phoenix’s future looks bright.
In 2019, The New Working Leagues Group (NWLG) reached in-principle an agreement on recommendations for a New Era for Football in Australia by becoming an Independent league from Football Federation Australia.