Time to demolish ANZ stadium?

jamesb Roar Guru

By jamesb, jamesb is a Roar Guru

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    ANZ Stadium before the start of the opening match of the 2013 State of Origin. (Phil Mahony/The Roar)

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    “The best thing Osama bin Laden could do to get the league fans on side in Australia is blow up Homebush Stadium. That’s the greatest blight on sport. It looks like nobody’s there.”

    That’s what millionaire businessman John Singleton said back in May, 2008.

    A couple of weeks ago , the NSW state government unveiled a $250 million revamp of ANZ stadium which included key features such as a retractable roof and retractable seating behind the goal posts to make it rectangular.

    Here is a design on how ANZ stadium could become a rectangular venue.

    I don’t know about you, but I find that to be aesthetically awful.

    Surely that has to be a draft, and not a final design. A stadium with gaps looks so damn ugly.

    If the NSW state government had the funds and spent $250 million worth of taxpayers money for a stadium to look like that, is not only a waste, but a massive joke.

    I am not a stadium construction expert, but maybe if you remove half of the seating from the top tier, and placed them in those ‘gaps’, it could be an improvement.

    The way I see it, they should disregard those plans and go with these three options.

    – leave it as it is (use the taxpayer funds on more important things);
    – make it permanently rectangular;
    – follow Singo’s advice.

    ANZ stadium, or Stadium Australia, by its original name, was designed to accommodate and facilitate for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games where it needed to cater for a running track in the stadium.

    Since the Olympics, the venue has been used as a multi purpose facility to cater for all sports, whether it be in ‘rectangular’ or ‘oval’ mode.

    The real criticism of the venue, is that the seating is too far away from the action, especially with the rectangular sports of league, union and football. So with that in mind, in my opinion, I would choose the second option; make it permanently rectangular.

    Here is my reasoning.

    ANZ Stadium this year will hold around 30 events that require a rectangular shape, which includes over 20 NRL matches, two Socceroo World Cup qualifiers, two Origin matches, two Wallabies Tests, a Manchester United appearance, a possible NRL finals match and the NRL grand final.

    Compare that with eight events that require the stadium to be in oval mode, it includes, three AFL matches, four cricket T20 Sydney Thunder home games and a T20 international.

    With the AFL matches, both Sydney Swans and GWS Giants should play out of their respective home bases of the SCG and Skoda Stadium.

    The SCG is currently redeveloping the Northern Pavilion grandstand to the tune of $186 million, $136 million of that is contributed by the State and Federal governments, while the rest is funded from the SCG Trust.

    Also in 2008, the Victor Trumper Stand was built and costed at $82 million, $50 million of that was contributed from State and Federal, while the rest was from the SCG Trust.

    So all in all, in the last five years, taxpayers have contributed around $186 million towards the two redevelopments at the SCG.

    The Sydney Swans this year have nine matches scheduled at the SCG.

    Wouldn’t be wise if they played their full compliment of 11 home games at the SCG, especially when you consider the amount of taxpayer expenditure been spent at that ground?

    The capacity of the SCG will be 48,000, which is nothing to be sneezed at.

    While with GWS, they should play all of their home games at the 25,000-seat Skoda Stadium.

    This year, the Giants will only make seven appearances at the old showgrounds. Seven home games, and the Easter Show does make Skoda stadium severely under utilised.

    I also think that Sydney Thunder should move their four home games to Skoda Stadium.

    Last season in the Big bash, Thunder only averaged 10,277 at ANZ.

    In one home game, the Thunder had a crowd of 4,101 in a stadium that holds 84,000. Depressing. As for the T20 international, move it back to the SCG.

    Both of those AFL teams and the Sydney Thunder have a ground to go to.

    ANZ’s regular tenant, the NRL’s Canterbury Bulldogs, have no choice but to call Homebush home, with their traditional home ground, Belmore Sports Ground deemed unfit for the NRL.

    Canterbury, along with regular ANZ tenant and fellow NRL team, South Sydney Rabbitohs, have average crowds more or less around the 20,000 mark.

    If the stadium was rectangular, along with a roof, then there is potential for both teams to have increase average crowds. If that were to happen, then you might see a third NRL team move to ANZ.

    In recent times, the NSW government have had a stadium strategy where they outlined plans to shift funding away from NRL suburban grounds, and move funding towards major stadiums like ANZ and Allianz.

    If the NSW government want ground rationalisation and want to attract a third or fourth NRL team to ANZ, wouldn’t it be sensible if that stadium was permanently rectangular?

    In the last few months, the Stadium Australia Group (SAG), holders of the lease at ANZ stadium, offered to ‘sell’ it back to the state government for $100 million.

    It was blocked by NSW Treasury officials. SAG have been annoyed by the funds that Skoda and the SCG have received, while ANZ has been left behind with an outdated 14-year old stadium.

    Although on a positive side, the stadium does make $10 to $30 million profit annually.

    The lease does run out until 2031, which means that the stadium and property reverts back to full ownership by the NSW government, through the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

    With the Manchester United match coming up, forecasters are predicting that Man U will bring in $16 million towards the NSW economy.

    Maybe the solution is to get more major events like Manchester United and the British and Irish Lions, and in a round about sort of way, those major events could help fund the stadium upgrade.

    Whatever happens, ANZ does need something. At the moment, the old Olympic stadium is not revered in the same light like the other Australia venues like MCG, Suncorp, or overseas stadiums like Wembley or Old Trafford.

    In fact, ANZ is despised and least liked. As a mulit-purpose facility, it has tried to please everyone, but sadly, it has been the direct opposite.

    A global city like Sydney, should have a world class rectangular stadium to go with the iconic oval shaped SCG.

    Surely Sydney should have a rectangular stadium that’s on a par, if not better then Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

    The NSW State Government need to make the right choice of design with ANZ Stadium. Failure to do so, not only will the venue lack credibility, but your better off demolishing it and start all over again.

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    The Crowd Says (69)

    • Roar Guru

      July 19th 2013 @ 3:28am
      peeeko said | July 19th 2013 @ 3:28am | ! Report

      some interesting points. what i have never been able to work out is how the SAG affords to pay teams like Souths and Canterbury big moneyto play there for the past 5 years. Good form by both these teams over the last year has brought in some decent crowds. i also cant believe at hte cost it takes to make and redevelop stadiums theese days

    • July 19th 2013 @ 3:49am
      Football United said | July 19th 2013 @ 3:49am | ! Report

      Ideally yes, the AFL and Cricket would be kicked out of Homebush to Skoda and the SCG and ANZ Stadium would be permanently rectangular. It’s multi purpose considerations has resulted in a stadium that is hated by everyone rather than one particular party. AFL has enough new stadiums and government funding into the oval grounds to make it’s own stadiums a success, both the new SCG and Skoda are certainly big enough for their respective sides. The reality though is that the NSW government does not have the balls or the funds to raze or permanently reconfigure the ground and thus Australia is stuck with this abortion of a ground.

      As for Souths and Canterbury, it is there own fault they are stuck in a more than half empty stadium with no atmosphere as they chased short term cash instead of investing in their home grounds. Stadium Australia should be only used for internationals or special occasions like Wembley and yet these selfish clubs chased the cash and are surprised that bugger all want to go each week.

      • Roar Guru

        July 19th 2013 @ 7:56am
        Rabbitz said | July 19th 2013 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        You really need to take a step back when talking about the Sydney Showground – Sometimes called “Skoda” depending on who is using it.

        It is the RAS Showground. (Royal Agricultural Society of NSW) Constructed and partially funded by the RAS to replace it’s longtime showground at Moore Park.

        The ground is designed to have a dirt track around it, and to be used for show events, like equestrian events, cattle shows, and the like.

        The surface is not capable of sustaining the use it now gets – a little weather and it gets chopped up pretty badly. This makes it unsafe for both man and beast.

        Further to this, the ground is used for events like the Royal Easter Show (it’s raison d’ĂȘtre in fact) which limits it’s availability for long periods and has specific ground requirements that aren’t all that compatible with professional footy codes.

        Sadly the RAS is getting pushed aside by corporate interests, when arena’s such as Parramatta, SFS (you know, the one that was built as a home for rectangular games and is part of the development that displaced the RAS), Concord Oval, Blacktown could all cater for the “crowds” that attend these games.

        I am against government funding of these arena’s – if the codes can’t supply their premises then they are not viable, but as Fatty O’Barrel is intent of wasting this money it would be better spent on the likes of Parramatta, Blacktown or Concord Ovals – To make a showpiece rectangular arena.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 19th 2013 @ 5:58pm
        Martyn50 said | July 19th 2013 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

        **********AFL has enough new stadiums and government funding into the oval**********
        Where does the AFL get the funding from? If it wasn’t for the AFL the MCG would rust from the small shield attendences at cricket. Would rely on the test match and one day bashes to gain any income.

        • July 19th 2013 @ 10:29pm
          trent said | July 19th 2013 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

          What’s the MCG got to do with ANZ stadium in Sydney?

        • July 20th 2013 @ 10:20am
          Adam said | July 20th 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          an interesting article, while its good for Sydney to have a large stadium for the large events, eg NRl grand final or the Manchester united games, but a few games here isnt worth spending 250million on .
          the AFL does receive some government funding for its grounds, but this is easily justified because of the huge crowds, the swans average almost twice the amount as and NSW based NRL team. the Larger AFL team Collingwoods, Essendon Richmonds are averaging nearly 60k attendance just for their home and away games for the season. so there for the returns for the money spent are there. where as the NRl the regular game played there plays in front of empty seats.

          the money would be better spent upgrading Allianz Stadium

    • July 19th 2013 @ 6:47am
      Matthew Skellett said | July 19th 2013 @ 6:47am | ! Report

      Demolishing it and starting again would cost at least a Billion dollars how could any govt justify that sortt of money ? The upgrades the state govt propose might notbe ideal but they are better than not doing anything

    • Columnist

      July 19th 2013 @ 8:48am
      Kris Swales said | July 19th 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      What I’ve never understood is why there’s an additional tier above the northern end of the ground, but not at the south?

      And any redevelopment which involves another reduction in capacity, like the roof proposal, seems a bit pointless.

    • July 19th 2013 @ 8:50am
      Marc Johno said | July 19th 2013 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Homebush is just a disaster, why don’t they add 20,000 seats to Allianz to make it a 64K seater? Problem solved and much better for pre and post game activities

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

      • Roar Guru

        July 19th 2013 @ 9:20am
        mds1970 said | July 19th 2013 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        With the design of the SFS, I can’t see how you could add 20,000 seats without demolishing it.

    • July 19th 2013 @ 9:22am
      Ads said | July 19th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      No way. The AFL needs to play at ANZ. when the Magpies come to Sydney the capacty of the SCG is too small.

      • July 19th 2013 @ 11:03am
        mick h said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        a few years ago i would have said yes but not lately they have only drawn about 42,000.

        • July 19th 2013 @ 6:57pm
          Strummer Jones said | July 19th 2013 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

          Agree. All games should be at the SCG now. They got 49,000 against Collingwood to get into the GF last year. It has peaked.

          • July 20th 2013 @ 1:37am
            Australian Rules said | July 20th 2013 @ 1:37am | ! Report

            It was 57,156

          • July 20th 2013 @ 10:22am
            Adam said | July 20th 2013 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            how often would the pies play up there once every 2 years, hardly justifiable in spending 250 million in

      • July 19th 2013 @ 5:02pm
        Nathan said | July 19th 2013 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

        I’m sure they’ll have one game involving interstate fans in mind when they consider the multi-million dollar revamp that primarily affects rugby league and soccer (football for the elitists among us) clubs.

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