New blow to Port's rescue bid
Ashley Porter, Adelaide
June 7, 2011
An artist's impression of the Adelaide Oval development.
PORT Adelaide's off-field crisis has taken a turn for the worse with the possibility of the Adelaide Oval redevelopment being shelved.
The Age understands that the Sky City Casino group, a key investor in the development of the precinct, is about to announce from its Auckland headquarters it has scrapped plans to expand the Adelaide Casino to the bank of the River Torrens.
This upgrade, and a proposed bridge to Adelaide Oval, is a major part of the complete package, and without it the Mike Rann state government faces an even more daunting task to pass legislation on the $535 million project.
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And with widely accepted views that the Adelaide Oval redevelopment will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than the government has limited in its pledge, the project is far from certain to go ahead.
The AFL believes Port's move to Adelaide Oval is crucial to its long-term survival, and that of the Adelaide Football Club.
It is also understood that the AFL was asked by the SA state government via the SANFL to delay its announcement on Port's financial rescue package because it did not want further bad news while still trying to pass its legislation.
As reported in The Age last week, the AFL, which has worked hard to broker the best possible outcomes for SA football, is ready to announce it will take back the two AFL licences from the SANFL and give them to Adelaide and eventually to Port when it has proved its recovery plan is sustainable. Talks have been held for some weeks.
Furthermore, it wants to help Port survive until the clubs move their home games to Adelaide Oval in 2014 or 2015 by giving it a big slice of its share of the AFL's $1.2 billion television deal in advance to help cover Port's debt, which is believed to exceed $9 million.
It means the AFL would become a stakeholder in Adelaide Oval with the newly formed Stadium Management Authority, with SANFL general manager Leigh Whicker as its general manger. The AFL involvement would certainly further irk a reasonable portion of SA Cricket Association members.
The AFL will be expected to contribute financially to the project, but certainly not to the extent of the shortfall required, widely estimated at more than $200 million . The state government's $535 million pledge includes wiping off the SA Cricket Association's $85 million debt.
The AFL and SANFL strongly support a move by Adelaide and Port away from AAMI Stadium to Adelaide Oval because they believe the Adelaide Oval redevelopment will generate far greater attendances due to the city location.
Port needs 28,000 fans at home games at AAMI Stadium to break even financially, which it has achieved only once this season, when it played the Crows.http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/n ... 1fpby.html
Realistically, can't they stage this? Do the Northern End now (Bradman Stand/Hill) over the next 2-3 years, Get Port moving over earlier, when capacity is lower but still fine for them, and then with some money rolling in, do the major Western Side and associated works for the Crows to move in. Maybe even an el cheapo tempoary stand at the Southern End which is returned to the hill once the Western Stand is completed.