Brisbane 2032: What it means for SE Queensland Stadiums
Brisbane’s successful bid for the 2032 Olympic Games means it’ll be transformed into a world-class city with new and upgraded infrastructure and sports stadiums.
The 2032 Olympics will extend to all of south-east Queensland and beyond, with a range of existing and new stadiums to be utilised. Gone are the days of building huge white elephants for the two-week event – instead, 84 per cent will be existing, refurbished or temporary. As part of its 'New Norm', the International Olympic Committee has scrapped costly old rules requiring sports to have their own purpose-built facilities.
Some venues have been talked about for years and will now become a reality, while other venues to be utilised have started construction already. Read on to find out more about the new and refurbished venues – or view a list of every stadium here.
There will be 21 Olympic venues in Brisbane, seven on the Gold Coast and four on the Sunshine Coast, while the football tournament will be played in Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, as well as Sydney and Melbourne.
THE GABBA (Brisbane Cricket Ground)
The Gabba will be the jewel in Brisbane's Olympic crown, hosting the athletics as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. While at one point a new 80,000-capacity stadium was proposed at Albion, the Gabba will instead be completely rebuilt at a cost of $1 billion to become the main stadium for the Olympic Games, boosting its current 42,000 capacity to 50,000.
Nearby parkland would be developed for the athlete warm-up facilities, with transport to get athletes to and from the stadium via a VIP corridor. A new pedestrian plaza will also be built, linking the stadium to the new Cross River Rail station, currently under construction, transporting fans from the CBD to the stadium in three minutes. The Gabba will continue to be the home of cricket and Australian football in Brisbane.
BRISBANE LIVE ARENA
First proposed in 2018, the Brisbane Live Arena (pictured, top of article) will eventually replace the aging Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall. The new 17,000-capacity sports and entertainment venue will be built in the heart of the city – above the new Roma Street underground train station and could open in 2024. For the Olympics, the venue will host swimming with the construction of a temporary pool which would be dismantled following the Olympics. The pool will reduce capacity by about 2,000. Other aquatic events including artistic swimming, diving and water polo will take place at the existing Brisbane Aquatic Centre. As well as concerts, the new arena will be able to host basketball, netball and other indoor sports events.
BRISBANE INDOOR SPORTS CENTRE
The new Brisbane Indoor Sports Centre will host basketball for the 2032 Olympics. Located in the Herston cluster just north of the CBD at Albion, not far from the Brisbane Showgrounds and Ballymore, the facility will be configured to have a capacity of 12,000. The 12-court facility and community sports hub is expected to be similar to the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre.
CHANDLER INDOOR SPORTS CENTRE
The new Chandler Indoor Sports Centre will either replace or be built next to the existing Chandler Arena at the Sleeman Sports Complex that was built for the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games. The proposed 10,000-capacity venue will host gymnastics for the Olympics and continue to serve the community with its 12 court facility community sports hub.
REDLAND WHITEWATER CENTRE
At one point, it was proposed the Penrith Whitewater Centre (built for the Sydney 2000 Olympics) be used for the 2032 Games, instead the new Redland Whitewater Centre will be built north of Brisbane to host the Canoe (Slalom). The venue would include a capacity of 8,000, with a mixture of permanent and temporary grandstands.
MORETON BAY INDOOR SPORTS CENTRE
Boxing will take place at the proposed Moreton Bay Indoor Sports Centre – a 9 court facility located north of Brisbane that’ll be configured to cater for 7,000 spectators for major events and the 2032 Olympic Games.
Venues Under Construction
A redevelopment of Queensland’s home of rugby union commenced earlier this year in February. However, it’s not union that’ll be played at Ballymore Stadium, with Hockey to instead be played there during the Olympics. The new grandstand will modernise its facilities and with the use of additional temporary grandstands, it’ll have a capacity of 10,000 on the main pitch, and 5,000 on pitch 2.
The Modern Pentathlon will be staged at the new headquarters of the Brisbane Lions that is currently under construction at Springfield in the City of Ipswich. Officially known as Brighton Homes Arena, the oval venue will have a capacity of 10,000 and is scheduled for completion in late 2022.
SYDNEY FOOTBALL STADIUM*
Football will also be played outside of Queensland in Australia’s two largest cities, including at the 42,500-capacity Sydney Football Stadium, currently under construction at Moore Park. The world-class venue is due for completion in late 2022.
It’s expected just about every venue to be used for the 2032 Olympics will need to be upgraded in some way – some more than others. Still 11 years away, facilities such as Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane Football Stadium) will need work, like its western grandstand that existed prior to the venue’s redevelopment in 2003. While other venues such as the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and those at the Sleeman Sports Complex will require more work being older facilities.
Sunshine Coast Stadium appears set to finally get its long-awaited next stage of its redevelopment, while Barlow Park in Cairns may be transformed into a true rectangular stadium and the Toowoomba Sports Ground may also have some major work done to it.
Organisers of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics have pitched the sporting spectacle as a more sustainable and cost-effective event that will leave a meaningful legacy for the growing region. With various infrastructure projects and stadium developments already underway and in the pipeline, this is sure to be the case.