Leigh-like article from Roy Masters in today's Herald. Fair points I guess, interesting Kogarah-related part bolded.
Sydney's awash with stadiums, thanks to sloppy strategy
http://business.smh.com.au/sydneys-awas ... -2nln.html
* Roy Masters
* June 9, 2008
THE Sea Eagles have received a $6 million post-budget grant from the NSW Government to upgrade Brookvale Oval, while the Dragons anticipate funding for their Kogarah base, as do Wests Tigers with Leichhardt Oval.
The Kogarah and Leichhardt renovations will complicate the irrational spread of football stadiums in the greater Sydney region. Wests Tigers have had four venues for home games this year - ANZ Stadium, Homebush Bay; Campbelltown Sports Stadium; Leichhardt; and they hosted the Dragons in the kick-off at the Sydney Football Stadium.
St George Illawarra divide games between ANZ Stadium and WIN Stadium, Wollongong, while Oki Stadium, Kogarah, is being renovated, following successive grants - $800,000 by the Carr government, $8 million by the Howard government, $7 million by the Iemma Government and the to-be-announced grant.
The NSW Government has also awarded WIN Stadium $80,000 as a consultancy fee to replace the western grandstand. A local state member, Noreen Hay, said the redevelopment would attract more games to Wollongong. From where? Kogarah, which is being renovated at taxpayers' expense? Or ANZ Stadium, which reverts to government ownership in 2031?
The NSW Government has no venue management strategy.
The AFL plans to exploit this haphazard approach by moving on Homebush, despite a $27.5 million Government commitment 18 months ago to develop a site at Blacktown for Aussie rules and cricket.
The AFL and NSW Cricket will each contribute $2.8 million to the Blacktown stadium, with the $21.9 million balance coming from the taxpayer. However, the AFL is reportedly interested in buying ANZ Stadium for $200 million. The real offer is $100 million-$140 million, but why pay this for a facility that is committed to host three Swans games until 2016, plus the possibility of two finals, if ownership eventually reverts to the State Government?
The only reason for buying the management rights for 23 years to play five games is if a second Sydney AFL team uses ANZ Stadium as its home. The AFL's interest in ANZ may be a smokescreen for an intention to enlarge the adjacent Showground. Its 12,000-seat capacity could be extended by 10,000-12,000 seats for $80 million to $90 million, meaning it could play about eight games at the Showground and the blockbusters at ANZ Stadium.
Yet this increases ANZ's usage to maybe eight AFL games, meaning buying it could only be justified if the AFL was to charge exorbitant rents to five NRL clubs which now hire it. However, the Government is funding returns by the Dragons and Wests Tigers to their suburban bases, and South Sydney is being linked to a relocation to Gosford.
The Government's laissez-faire attitude to the AFL invasion into western Sydney is not matched by the Queensland Government's resolve with the AFL over a planned team on the Gold Coast. When the Queensland Government renovated the Gabba to accommodate the Brisbane Lions, it built dressing rooms for a second AFL team, with an agreement from the AFL a second team in south-east Queensland would play there until 2016.
The AFL now wants the Queensland Government, or Gold Coast Council, to build a stadium to replace Cararra. The Government won't fund a $300 million stadium in competition with its own, while the council would need the AFL to fund half the cost. A buy-out of the Gabba agreement could be as much as $50 million, meaning the AFL faces a possible $200 million commitment on stadiums alone on the Gold Coast.
Compare this with the NSW Government, which has spent $21.9 million on a facility at Blacktown that may never host an AFL game.
That means we have talk of an additional grant for Kogarah from both News and Fairfax writers. Here's hoping.
On the WIN issue. I definitely think WIN Stadium needs money spent on it, but it seems pretty clear that those grounds that have had more spent were more deserving. There's little evidence that WIN Stadium requires a capacity upgrade but anything other than a $12-20 million (speculation on cost by me) complete new grandstand adding 2,000 or so new seats on the Western side would be a missed opportunity in getting the maximum potential out of the existing WIN Stadium site.