Major upgrade proposed for UTAS Stadium
A $208 million upgrade has been proposed for Launceston’s UTAS Stadium, including upgrading the existing venue and construction of a new adjoining indoor arena.
The City of Launceston Council announced details of a draft plan last week for a major upgrade of the stadium and will consider its endorsement at a meeting this Thursday.
The redevelopment of University of Tasmania Stadium would see the stadium’s seating capacity increased to 27,500 and the construction of a high-performance sports centre. The upgrade would make it suitable for a potential future Tasmanian-based AFL team.
A new multi-use indoor sports facility would also be built, featuring three indoor courts and seating for 5,000 spectators, capable of hosting national-level sporting competitions and events.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the proposal seeks to bolster UTAS Stadium's role as Tasmania's premier sporting facility.
The venue currently hosts four-to-five home games for the Hawthorn Football Club per season as well as some BBL games. It has also previously hosted A-League matches, with Western United also tipped to play at the venue in the near future.
The Mayor said that since its inception, the stadium has been a key economic engine driver in the city through the sporting events it hosts.
Traditionally known as York Park, the ground received its first revamp in 2000 to bring it up to AFL standard and has been upgraded several times since, now with a capacity of around 20,000.
In 2019, it attracted more than 83,000 people through its gates, including 63,400 for AFL, and 22,000 for BBL matches, representing a net economic benefit of more than $30 million to the Northern Tasmanian economy.
A 2019 report commissioned by the Tasmanian Government - AFL Licence Taskforce Business Plan 2019 - outlined that an AFL team based in the state will require access to a high-performance facility and an AFL-standard stadium capable of hosting 27,500 patrons.
The Taskforce recommended the redevelopment of UTAS Stadium as the initial primary football venue in the State - but went on to state that the stadium will need to undertake upgrades to provide additional seating capacity.
A new indoor venue would provide Northern Tasmania with a new home of basketball and netball, while concerts could also be staged.
With occasional national-competition matches currently held at the 37-year-old Silverdome, a new venue would host some home games for new NBL team, the Tasmania JackJumpers, who’ll join the competition next season, primarily playing out of an upgraded Derwent Entertainment Centre in Hobart.