Queensland Sport Minister Mick De Brenni has said the state government is working on improvements to the Brisbane Cricket Ground after admitting that the historic stadium has fallen down the pecking order of Australian sporting venues.
The facility, more commonly known as the Gabba, staged its first cricket match in 1896 and is an iconic destination for the sport.
However, Cricket Australia has recently indicated it needs improvement with the Gabba failing to land any of the four Tests when India tour the country later this year. Instead, Brisbane has been granted hosting rights to a Test match against Sri Lanka, alongside Canberra.
The Gabba has a capacity of 36,000 for international matches, but its spectator facilities, transport access and overall design have come in for criticism amid wider stadium development in Australia.
“Other stadiums across the nation are developing a holistic experience in terms of attending sport,” De Brenni told Australian broadcaster ABC. “It’s not just what you see out on the pitch, it’s the entire experience.
“Stadiums Queensland looks right around the globe for leading-edge improvements that we can make to the Gabba. We’ll be working through options on that in coming months. Clearly the other stadiums are (also) much larger than the Gabba.”
De Brenni said a railway development project, which would include a new Woolloongabba Station, would help in this cause.
“Getting to and from the venue is important, enjoying a meal with friends — enlivening the entire Gabba precinct will be a feature of Cross River Rail,” he said. “We want to make sure that the Gabba continues to represent a great experience for everybody and so I’ll be continuing my discussions with Cricket Australia, working through Stadiums Queensland and making sure we offer a high value experience.”
He added: “We want to ensure that the tourism and business benefits that come with having a popular stadium continue to deliver jobs in that local community, and continue to bring the best sporting events and the best entertainment events to the Gabba.”
Main image: Rae Allen
B/w image: State Library of Queensland