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)

    • July 19th 2013 @ 9:36am
      Griffo said | July 19th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      I’ve never been to ANZ before so I don’t understand first hand about what people say about being far away. Do you mean at each end of the ground? Because the rectangular configuration seems to make it not so bad along the sides. Does the angle of the seating have an effect too?

      • August 7th 2014 @ 11:49pm
        Peter said | August 7th 2014 @ 11:49pm | ! Report

        Have you ever been to a soccer, league or union game played on an Aussie rules oval? There is a fair amount of distance from the fence to the rectangle pitch, kinda like watching a game from the other side of an athletics track. The viewing from there pretty much sucks. Sideline seating at ANZ is ok because the seating is retractable, though I’ve heard complaints about that too.

    • July 19th 2013 @ 10:13am
      rod said | July 19th 2013 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      Griffo, it’s a combination of both, the bottom tier is very wide, the top tiers are reasonably steep, the end areas are away from the action. I have been there many times over the 14 years. I have found it to be perfectly acceptable to watch the rugby codes from. I would love to see a true rectangular stadium like Suncorp. But I would be hard to justify it at this point in time.

    • July 19th 2013 @ 10:35am
      Matt said | July 19th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

      Can someone explain to me the benefits of a roof?

      More often than not, it’s sunny. Let’s say 10% of matches are played in the rain. Always good to have a bit of variety in any case.

      A roof on a cricket stadium makes a lot more sense given it can only be played in good weather (though could be hard to catch balls that are hit up)

      • July 19th 2013 @ 11:02am
        Johnno said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        Cold and wind. The wind is awful at Homebush at night. I’m a sydneysider who hates watching footy in the cold and wind, so I never go to Homebush anymore.

        • July 19th 2013 @ 11:42am
          Matt said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:42am | ! Report

          Surely the roof is like $100 million? Not sure that’s a good ROI for just “patron comfort” and some possible increased ticket sales?

          Especially given they’d probably only close the roof if it’s going to rain.

        • July 19th 2013 @ 4:23pm
          Nick Inatey said | July 19th 2013 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

          Johnno, you are a Sydneysider that needs a thermos of concrete, instead of the standard teaspoon. A large dose of perspective would be useful too.

          Some of the US pro-football and college football stadiums have zero protection from rain, sleet, snow and ice…yet 90K still turn up week in/week out.

          Bring a coat, bring a poncho, bring some spirit!

          • July 19th 2013 @ 7:00pm
            Johnno said | July 19th 2013 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

            I might bring a poncho, i’ve gone yuppy and metro lol. Only joking have not still resisting. But that’s a good point you make. The point is in the US and also Europeans, they have grown up with cold weather it’s a way of life. Sydney is a warm climate overall, and Sydneysider’s just don’t do cold weather.

        • July 20th 2013 @ 2:58am
          toranahills said | July 20th 2013 @ 2:58am | ! Report

          “Cold and wind. The wind is awful at [insert any Sydney venue] at night. I’m a sydneysider who hates watching footy in the cold and wind, so I never go to [insert any Sydney venue] anymore.”

          What about the poor day crowds in Sydney?

          I don’t get it…

          I am a footy fan who rarely gets home to Australia.. I took in three games this last week… bris v cron at lang park, storm v dogs at ANZ and NSW v QLD at ANZ…

          I used to do the same when I lived in Yorkshire… got round all the grounds… enormous… the weather rarely precluded enjoyment even in Jan/Feb…

          It is not about stadia.. broncs used to get great crowds at QE2.. horrible spot it is/was…

          i love old grounds… i love good footy…

          yep it is good on tv/the radio but really…

          nothing beats live sport!!!

          get on board… the game has never been better!!!

    • July 19th 2013 @ 11:01am
      Seano said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

      I’m an AFL fan and I fully agree with this, it’s widely considered the worst ground in the Afl and that includes Hobart, plus having been to AAMI and Suncorp being close to the action is important, only Sydney would. Build there Olympic stadium somewhere that’s not actually in Sydney!! Melbourne Comm games were at the G, god only knows why Sydney didn’t do the same!!

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

      • July 19th 2013 @ 12:18pm
        Whiskers said | July 19th 2013 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

        Completely agree. My forays there have always been disappointments. The surface is a disgrace, viewing not much better. Even if the swans / giants ever started pulling capacity they’d still be better off at soda/ scg

      • July 19th 2013 @ 12:18pm
        Whiskers said | July 19th 2013 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

        Completely agree. My forays there have always been disappointments. The surface is a disgrace, viewing not much better. Even if the swans / giants ever started pulling capacity they’d still be better off at soda/ scg

    • July 19th 2013 @ 11:10am
      Max Bryden said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:10am | ! Report

      some good points. Interested to hear what you think about redeveloping Parra stadium? The government is always talking about that as I believe they own the lease but may be against the NRL’s plan to move teams to bigger grounds.

      Could Parramatta seemingly play at ANZ?

    • July 19th 2013 @ 11:11am
      Renegade said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      Totally agree that it should be turned into a rectangular stadium permanently.

      The cost to do that would not be justfiable though….they should have reconfigured it to a rectangular stadium back in 2001 when they first started working on it.

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