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Sun setting on suburban stadiums

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by swoop, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. swoop

    swoop Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

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    Date December 9, 2012

    Manly powerbrokers will hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday amid fears the state government's stadiums strategy has sounded the death knell for Brookvale Oval.

    And it is likely to spell the end for another of Sydney's most historic grounds, Leichhardt Oval, with Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys conceding it is now ''very difficult for us to continue to maintain Leichhardt as an NRL-standard venue''.

    The Sea Eagles have formed a committee to tackle the issue of how to bring their dilapidated home ground, arguably in the worst shape of all the major rugby league venues, up to sufficient NRL standard.


    The report, tabled by the NSW Minister for Sport, Graham Annesley, outlined a strategy to invest in major venues, such as ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium, rather than a scattergun approach to funding suburban grounds. The study also signalled the prospect of a ''tier two'' stadium in western Sydney, which could mean a new venue or the redevelopment of Parramatta Stadium, Centrebet Stadium or Campbelltown stadium into a hub with a greater capacity.


    While politicians will never dictate where games should be played, the moves are part of a concerted push for an AFL-style model, where the majority of games are played at large stadiums such as the MCG and Etihad Stadium.

    However, none of the news was positive for Sea Eagles fans, with history showing they are not prepared to travel to Gosford or Allianz Stadium to support their team. At a finals fixture shifted to Moore Park against North Queensland last year, the crowd was only 13,972 as many supporters opted against making the short trip across the Spit Bridge. Under the club's constitution, 10 games per year must be played at Brookvale Oval. While Tony Abbott pledged $10 million towards the upkeep of Brookvale last election, there are fears it could miss out on the funds required to survive if the opposition leader does not gain office.

    The former Senate president Kerry Sibraa is heading up a Brookvale Oval Committee war council which will meet on Tuesday for discussions before a club board meeting. He was reluctant to comment before the meeting - which will include chairman Scott Penn, general manager David Perry and representatives from council, sponsors and the football club - other than to say: ''We're going to be working with the council, the state government and the federal government to examine ways to allow us to stay at Brookvale Oval.''

    However, Fairfax Media understands the committee is planning to approach the ARLC in the hope the commission will lobby governments for funds on its behalf. Another option is to attempt to come under the Venues NSW umbrella, following the lead of WIN, Parramatta and Hunter stadiums. Meetings have been set up with the NSW Treasurer, Michael Baird, also the local member for Manly, and Annesley in January. ''If you want to turn all of the north side of Sydney - all 1.2 million of us - towards another code, forcing us out of Brookvale would be a good way of doing it,'' a source said.

    ''The Bulldogs have been able to get $9 million of funding for a training facility but we haven't got a single cent from the federal government.''

    Humphreys said the strategy would not affect the four scheduled Leichhardt games next year but there is a strong chance they could be the last at the colourful inner-west ground.

    ''The review in isolation would suggest that, in the absence of any investment, it will be very difficult for us to continue to maintain Leichhardt as an NRL-standard venue,'' he said. ''There are lots of people, myself included, who like the nostalgic, rustic experience that is Leichhardt Oval. But the fact is spectators expect levels of comfort and convenience that Leichhardt is unable to deliver.

    ''If you read the strategy, it suggests that Leichhardt Oval and a couple of other venues in Sydney are being set up to be transformed to having a different purpose in the future.''

    The Parramatta chief executive, Ken Edwards, a former ANZ Stadium boss, described the lack of suitably sized stadiums as ''the biggest constraint on growth of rugby league in western Sydney''. For that reason, he welcomed the report and will unveil a detailed response for Eels members this week.

    ''We put out a public target of 20,000 members for 2013 but as part of our strategic plan, which falls under the NRL's strategic plan, the club desires to have up to 40,000 members by 2017,'' Edwards said.

    ''The only way to do that is if there is a significant increase in the capacity of Parramatta Stadium or if there is a new purpose-built rectangular stadium built somewhere in western Sydney.

    Penrith supremo Phil Gould believes the strategy is a crucial plank in rugby league securing its future in the west. ''We're comfortable with what's been announced by the state government and we acknowledge that they see the importance of western Sydney and the possibility of a new or refurbished venue. We're confident we'll be included in any discussions towards that end.''

    Gould said the announcement did not necessarily mean the death knell of suburban grounds such as Leichhardt Oval, although the game needed to strike the right balance between staging events at boutique and major venues.

    ''Whilst we do enjoy that trip down memory lane, the bottom line is fans and corporates today demand state-of-the-art corporate facilities. That's where you grow your money and your business. The move to ANZ Stadium has increased the Bulldogs' and South Sydney's memberships significantly. Would a move to ANZ increase the Panthers' membership significantly? I'd have to be convinced that would happen. We've got to go down the line of whatever strategy they've got for a third [major] stadium.''

    Tigers officials are hoping any new or refurbished venue will happen in their Campbelltown heartland. ''The report itself talks about how south-west Sydney is the key growth area in greater Sydney and also makes that link between stadiums investment and population growth patterns. To me, it would be quite a diversion from the report if it were not in south-west Sydney,'' Humphreys said.

    St George Illawarra split their 12 matches between Kogarah and Wollongong, with both grounds the beneficiaries of recent funding and development. The Dragons' chief executive, Peter Doust, welcomed the report as ''appropriate and timely'', though he would have liked to have seen a more detailed action plan. He supported the strategy of scheduling games at their most appropriate grounds, pointing to the fact that teams such as Souths take the occasional fixture to Perth or the Bulldogs to Mackay.

    ''They are going there to spread the take-up of their brand, knowing that playing smaller brand games in big venues don't have the right economics,'' Doust said.

    Crosstown rivals Cronulla are in a unique situation in that they own their stadium. The Sharks chairman Damian Irvine outlines their long-term strategy, estimated to take about nine years to complete, as redeveloping Toyota Stadium into a ''world-leading boutique ground for a 22,000- to 23,000-seat stadium''.

    ''Our master plan prior to this stadiums strategy was to improve the stadium but, on commercial terms, it was never about relying solely on handouts and government grants,'' Irvine said.

    Only one thing is certain - homeground advantage will take on a whole new meaning in the near future.


    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/sun-setting-on-suburban-stadiums-20121208-2b27q.html#ixzz2EVKpnajg
     
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    • Normie

      Normie Well-Known Member

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      That would be right - "The study also signalled the prospect of a ''tier two'' stadium in western Sydney, which could mean a new venue or the redevelopment of Parramatta Stadium, Centrebet Stadium or Campbelltown stadium into a hub with a greater capacity."............
       
    • Joey

      Joey Active Member

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      Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the "Football Club" have the power to ensure games remain on the northern beaches in having the power or voting rights to have at least 10 home games @ Brookie?
       
    • bones

      bones Bones Knows

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      Not if the NRL dictate venues.
       
    • Ron E. Gibbs

      Ron E. Gibbs Well-Known Member

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      I notice the mayor of Leichhardt has come out strongly in support of Leichhardt Oval:

      http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/mayor-moves-to-save-leichhardt-20121209-2b3mr.html

      What's the mayor of Warringah doing, besides preening himself for a career in state or federal politics?
       
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      • Mals

        Mals Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

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        Parra 40K members by 2017 LOL! They would need to win 3 premierships in a row or make memberships $1 each to reach that target so quickly.
         
      • The Who

        The Who Well-Known Member

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        If the SFS is 'magnet' for increasing revenue, how comes its local team, Easts, can't draw a crowd?
         
      • bones

        bones Bones Knows

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        It's not about the actual crowd figure, it's more about corporate dollar. Sure bigger crowds help, but the reason the SFS and grounds like it are more financially beneficial to clubs is because they attract more corporate dollars. Brookie just can't match it.
         
      • Mark from Brisbane

        Mark from Brisbane Living the dream Premium Member

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        I'd agree with the title thread, and without funding (from somewhere) I bet we could see the end of games at Brookvale within a few years. It won't be a decision of our Football Club or the Sea Eagles themseleves it will be an edict from the NRL....it will eventually come down to "minimum standards"......which we and Leichardt and possibly Penrith Park won't meet.
        [hr]
        By the way an interesting poll (once we get into the season proper) might be,

        "If games in the future had to be held away from Brookvale what is you preferred option"

        And then list down the options, which I assume would be SFS / ANZ and I suppose the Central Coast will get chucked in there as well.

        I know people would want a fourth one " stuff the NRL I'm no longer going to attend games" BUT that wouldn't be in the spirit of the poll.

        I know that Kerry Sibraa and co will fight until the bitter end for good old Brooky, and we all hope they win, but I am sure even they agree that the writing is starting to be written on that wall!!
         
      • Brookie4eva

        Brookie4eva Well-Known Member

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        If manly were to play at SFS or Homebush they would lose alot of supporters going to games.

        I try to get to all home games and most away games, but if all home games were at Homebush I don't think I'd be going to as many games in the year as the transport there is garbage.
         
      • DSM5

        DSM5 Well-Known Member

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        My guess it would have to be at the SFS, if it had to be anywhere. Pity the councils of North Sydney, Mosman, Manly, Warringah, Lane Cove and Hornsby (are there any others on the North side) can't get together and demand a sports facility from the State Govt to cater for a team such as ours to represent the lot of them.
         
      • Mark from Brisbane

        Mark from Brisbane Living the dream Premium Member

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        I imagine that NSW would be no different to where I live these days.

        The Previous Government up here threw money around like it was chaff, Titans you want an NRL licence "no worries we'll build you a 250 Million Dollar Stadium".....Suns you want an AFL licence "no worries we'll renovate an old stadium and spend 250 Million turning it into an AFL Stadium"....Central Queensland you want an NRL Licence " no worries we'll allocate you 250 Million for if and when that happens to build a state of the art facility".

        Move to 2012, Queensland is broke, the old government suffered the biggest defeat of any political party in the nation and now Queensland has had it's credit rating dropped dramatically and the new Government is saying "sorry we can't fund that $50,000 grant to give underpriveldged children a day out at Sea Word" . It's that bad, grants for many many things are gone, the arts especially have been affected. And quite frankly if CQ were to get an NRL licence in the forseeable future then they'll be on their own as far as a Stadium goes.

        I imagine Farry O'Barrell would be the same down there, and perhaps the days of handing out huge grants for sporting ground upgrades could well be a thing of the past...I can't speak for NSW but that's certainly the case in QLD
         
      • globaleagle

        globaleagle Le ver vert va vers le verre vert! Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

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        ^ Yet they still found 100k for big brother.
         
      • swoop

        swoop Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

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        It's a bit of a worry when your state treasurer Mike Baird can't add up. He made 30 odd errors and when they checked his budget they found that NSW had an extra 1billion dollars. Yes, 1 billion.
         
      • Mark from Brisbane

        Mark from Brisbane Living the dream Premium Member

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        That is INDEED a worry
         
      • Hamster Huey

        Hamster Huey Space Invader Premium Member

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        Yes, he personally did the sums...
         
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        • swoop

          swoop Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

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          Didn't he look at it before he signed off on it?
           
        • Shoe1

          Shoe1 Well-Known Member

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          Good point, add pittwater, willoughby and kuringai, it's a seriously big combined population.
           
        • Darren

          Darren Well-Known Member

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          and about 0.0010 like Rugby League.
           
        • Hamster Huey

          Hamster Huey Space Invader Premium Member

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          He will sign off on what he's presented. With an organisation that big, the expectation is that all the elements have got their financial houses in order.

          I'd be pointing fingers at the financial delegates that actually count the pennies for collation to form the bigger picture.

          After such a long period of Labor g'ment, the issue is for the new ministers to get the experience to know when something doesn't look right, without getting into the reeds.

          That those departments errors added up to so much in just one year, makes you wonder what the hell was going on prior to the change of g'ment.
           

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