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Suncorp Stadium could be knocked down as Brisbane's Olympic fiasco takes another twist

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Roar Guru
22nd March, 2024
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The Brisbane Olympics stadiums fiasco has had wild twists and turns in just the last few days, but we still might not have seen the end of it.

The first big news came on Monday. The review handed down by former Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk recommended that plans for a $2.7 billion knockdown rebuild of the Gabba should be scrapped, instead recommending an even more expensive new $3.4 billion stadium at Victoria Park.

This in turn was rejected only hours later by Premier Steven Miles who later told the media that: “I know that I said I’d do what the Quirk Review recommended, but I cannot support the option that they have landed on. I cannot support building a brand new stadium, while Queenslanders are doing it as tough as I know that they are.”

The new plan that he has now chosen will involve an upgrade of Suncorp Stadium for a billion dollars and an upgrade followed by a downsizing after the games of the Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre, QSAC, for $1.6 billion.

The figures involved in all three plans are not only incredibly expensive, but are of questionable value for money. Especially once they are compared to the cost of other major stadiums in Australia.

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The recent knockdown and rebuild of Sydney Football Stadium at Moore Park cost $828 million, the construction of Optus Stadium in Perth cost $820 million and the Adelaide Oval redevelopment cost $535 million.


Going a bit further back, Docklands Stadium cost $460 million in 2000 which works out to $930 million today. That adds up to $3.1 billion combined. In addition, there was also the cancelled plan to do a knock down and rebuild of Stadium Australia in Homebush for $810 million, which is in the same ballpark.

The original plan to do a knockdown and rebuild of the Gabba would be enough to build three major stadiums, while the Victoria Park proposal would be enough for four major stadiums. But even the new $1.6 billion plan for QSAC would be enough for two new major stadiums, while the billion dollar upgrade at Lang Park would be enough for a knockdown and rebuild there.

In regards to QSAC, the budget sets aside $600 million for the stadium itself and a further one billion for surrounding buildings and works. But even just the $600 million figure would be enough for a major stadium and is well in excess of what you would expect for a temporary one.

For example, the temporary Empire Field in Vancouver cost $14.4 million Canadian in 2010 with a capacity of 27,528 fans which isn’t too far off the 40-thousand for the proposed QSAC redevelopment. That would work out to around $33 million once converted and adjusted for inflation for 40 thousand seats, which is well below $600 million.

In addition, there was also another 20,000-seat stadium that would be built at the Brisbane Showgrounds under the first plan if the Gabba is unavailable to the Lions and the Heat, which would be reduced to 12,000 seats after the Games.

This would cost $137 million with the state government covering just $45.7 million of the total with the clubs, the RNA and Brisbane City Council making up the rest.

This could in turn then mean that the new Springfield Central Stadium which opened in October 2022 for the Lions at a cost of $82 million could be abandoned. According to state government minister Shannon Fentiman: “They’ve told us they don’t want to go to the Gold Coast. They don’t want to go to Springfield. They want to play in Brisbane city.”


But it’s the cost for the upgrade at Lang Park where things get interesting. As I mentioned, the billion dollar figure for the upgrade would be enough for a knockdown rebuild.

In fact, the questions are already being asked.

In an interview on 4BC Afternoons, Sofie Formica asked General Manager of Suncorp Stadium Alan Graham the following: “Alan, is there any, is there any possibility, is there, is the infrastructure in place for there ever to be a roof on Suncorp?”

To which he replied: “Ah look, I think in the current context we’re talking about, I can’t see that happening, you know that is an absolute massive job and you know, would almost require total reconstruction.”

Given that spending a billion dollars on an upgrade for a stadium but then not putting on a roof isn’t likely to go down well with the public, the next move will be to call for a knockdown rebuild to do it properly. This will then mean that the Broncos and Dolphins will be left needing a new home while Lang Park is unavailable.

Where they would end up going is the question. They probably won’t want to go to the Gold Coast, as the Lions and the Heat seem to have made clear already.


The Broncos and Dolphins might have to play at a temporary stadium at Brisbane Showgrounds, similar to the Empire Field design. Then when it comes to the Lions and the Heat, they could stay at the Gabba while the Olympic stadium can be constructed.

Probably at Albion Park Paceway in order to avoid the politically sensitive public green space at Victoria Park, which has been described as “Brisbane’s Central Park”. Then, a new rectangular stadium can be built for Brisbane Roar at the Gabba after it’s knocked down, so as not to let the Cross River Rail link go to waste.

Until now, the focus has all been on the Gabba as the main source of problems. But if Lang Park is getting a full knockdown rebuild as well then that really throws a spanner in the works.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

It’s all fun and games until someone hosts an Olympics.