Sydney’s ANZ Stadium will retain hosting rights for the National Rugby League’s Grand Final until 2042 as revised plans were today (Thursday) announced to redevelop the venue instead of demolishing and rebuilding it.
The New South Wales government had intended on knocking down the 83,000-seat stadium and building a new one in its place, but it has backtracked on this decision in favour of refurbishing the existing venue.
The government also announced last year that the 44,000-seat Allianz Stadium would be demolished and rebuilt. This will still go ahead, along with a rebuild of the smaller Parramatta Stadium. The cost of the Allianz Stadium and ANZ Stadium work will stand at around Aus$1.5bn (£819m/€934m/$1.2bn).
ANZ Stadium had been promised the NRL Grand Final until 2042 as part of last year’s agreement between the league and the NSW government. NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg admitted his disappointment that the venue will not be rebuilt but expressed his excitement at the revised plans.
Greenberg said: “Naturally I would have preferred to see a new stadium built at Sydney Olympic Park (ANZ Stadium) in line with our Memorandum of Understanding. But this remains the biggest infrastructure program the game has ever seen, one that gives our fans a new level of stadia facilities.
“We will have three top-class rectangular stadia in Sydney which will bring our fans closer to the action than ever before. When you combine the new transport infrastructure to Moore Park (Allianz Stadium) and Sydney Olympic Park we believe this package will deliver a great outcome for all sports fans.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, according to NRL.com: “That is a really big coup for us and we know how important that is … to making sure we retain all of those major events which we were definitely in risk of losing. I don’t want to underestimate that enough. Had we not invested in our stadiums we would have been at risk and in fact definitely lost events to other states.”
The revised plan is set to save the NSW government around Aus$500m. The redevelopment of ANZ Stadium is slated to start in late 2018 and be completed by the middle of 2021. The stadium will seat 70,000 people upon completion.
Work on Allianz Stadium, meanwhile, is set to begin later this year, with the NSW government having set a completion date of March 2022.