Taskforce announces future vision for Queensland Stadiums
The Stadiums Queensland Taskforce has released their final report, which includes recommending Ballymore to be discontinued as a major venue and no new boutique stadium to be built.
A host of other recommendations are included such as seeking a naming-rights partner for the Gabba, capital works at Suncorp Stadium, as well as the future use of the Queensland Sport & Athletic Centre.
Despite the Queensland Rugby Union having a development approval to build a 24,000-seat stadium at Ballymore, the report states that it is not an ideal location for a major stadium and the site would be better suited as a training and administrative hub for rugby and compatible sports. Therefore, Ballymore Stadium as we know it would be demolished.
The Taskforce has identified that there is no immediate need for the development of any new stadiums in Queensland, stating that the existing five stadiums held by SQ each have the capacity to host existing and additional one-off events, including any future new sporting franchises in south east Queensland.
It dashes any immediate hope of a new boutique stadium, something which many fans have been calling out for. Brisbane Roar and Queensland Reds games rarely attract over 15,000 to the 52,500-seat stadium, drowning out most of the atmosphere inside a mostly-empty stadium.
At the Gabba, an expression of interest for naming rights at the venue is anticipated for release by early 2019. In July, the Queensland Government announced that the Brisbane Cricket Ground would continue to be known by its nickname, the Gabba, should any naming-rights deal be struck for the venue.
The opening of the Cross River Rail in 2024 will provide the Gabba with a train station adjacent to the stadium that will rejuvenate the area with the venue expected to be improved through new entrances and the like.
The taskforce identified that Suncorp Stadium will likely need mid-life capital improvements made to its infrastructure within the next five to 10 years in order for the venue to retain its status as the premier rectangular venue in Australia. This would include major works within the western grandstand which existed prior to the major rebuild.
The report also advises that the number of major events at the 48,500-capacity Queensland Sport & Athletic Centre (QSAC) that require the use of all its grandstands are declining over time due to superior venues being available. The temporary aluminium grandstands at either end of the main stadium were built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the cost of maintaining these stands is inconsistent with the amount of use they receive and therefore should be demolished.
Each venue was giving a ranking within the report with Suncorp Stadium on top of the list and 1300smiles stadium clearly in bottom place - justifying the fact it will soon be replaced by the new North Queensland Stadium that is currently under construction.
Stadiums Queensland manages, operates and promotes the use of nine major sporting and entertainment facilities throughout the state on behalf of the Queensland Government.
View the full Stadium Taskforce Report.