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Volume 6 No. 213
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Sydney's ANZ Stadium Revamp To Include Roof Under $250M Government Plan

Sydney's ANZ Stadium "could be turned into a fully roofed, rectangular football ground enabling fans to sit on the sidelines under a visionary plan" unveiled by Sport Minister Graham Annesley, according to John Lehmann of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The stadium upgrade is outlined in a new video masterplan for Sydney Olympic Park, which also "envisages new clubs, bars, restaurants, a gymnasium, pool and a rock climbing wall on ANZ Stadium." The masterplan comes as stadium operators Stadium Australia Group "push for the state government to commit funds to upgrade the 14-year-old stadium." They said that the stadium "must remain competitive with Asian and other Australian venues to ensure Sydney continues to attract major events" such as this month's ManU football match, which is forecast to pump A$16M ($14.7M) into the New South Wales economy. Futuristic photographs of the stadium "show how new seats at the try-scoring ends of the stadium would be able to be reconfigured to be pushed closer to the field." The new seating arrangement "could mean the stadium's capacity shrinks slightly" from 83,500 to about 80,000, depending on the final engineering design (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/2).

RAISING THE ROOF: In Sydney, Megan Levy reported ANZ Stadium Managing Dir Daryl Kerry said that weather-proofing the stadium "was vital so that it continued to attract world-class sporting and entertainment events." Kerry said, "Putting a roof on the stadium will weather-proof the major events going forward, while moving stands north and south will create an even more dramatic atmosphere for the football codes that prefer a true rectangular field" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/2). Also in Sydney, Lehmann reported at least A$286M in taxpayers' money "has been pumped into stadium upgrades scattered across Sydney in the past seven years without a co-ordinated sports infrastructure plan." Parramatta Stadium scored A$20M from the Rudd government to increase seating to 24,000, as ANZ Stadium "began a campaign" to secure A$250M "to build a roof and improve seating" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/3).

: The DAILY TELEGRAPH also reported ANZ Stadium is now 14 years old, which means in terms of modern sporting venues that "it's almost middle-aged." A makeover "is now due," with special emphasis being given to "enhancing viewing for spectators." Even in a multi-media age, with sports events able to be accessed on everything from mobiles to laptops, stadiums "still stand or fall on the quality of the live audience experience." The National Rugby League is "under pressure to encourage some clubs to play more games at central stadiums, such as ANZ and Allianz, to ensure public funds are not wasted by continually upgrading smaller grounds" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/2).