During the time that the Gabba is being rebuilt, a proposal to enhance Brisbane’s showgrounds with a temporary stadium that has 20,000 seats has swiftly become a political football. The stadium would serve as the city’s home for Australian football league and cricket matches.
It was announced on Friday that the state government of Queensland would contribute $46 million to the construction of the temporary stadium. However, the government also requested that the remaining $91 million be split between the Brisbane city council, the Australian Football League and cricket authorities, and the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland, which is responsible for organizing the annual Ekka show at the venue.
The Palaszczuk administration has committed to a $2.7 billion rebuild of the Gabba in order to make it the centerpiece of the Olympic Games in 2032. However, the anticipated four-year rebuild will result in the Brisbane Lions AFL team and the Brisbane Heat T20 cricket franchise being temporarily displaced beginning in late 2025.
Several different locations have been considered as potential replacements, such as the boutique stadium that the Lions play at in Ipswich and the facility that their opponents, the Suns, play at on the Gold Coast.
Despite the fact that Adrian Schrinner, the lord mayor of the Liberal National party in Brisbane, has advocated for the showgrounds option as a “no-brainer” to ensure that teams continue to play in their home city, he stated on Friday that the work would not proceed unless the Labor sport minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, returned to the table with additional funds.
According to Schrinner, “The decision to tear down the Gabba was made by the state government, and as a result, it is the responsibility of the state government to find a temporary home for the Brisbane Lions and Heat.”
The mayor stated that the government had previously incorporated the price of relocation and the requirement for a temporary venue into the Gabba repair project; however, it is now “quite clear that they’ve undercooked the funding.”
In spite of the fact that the council was “always happy to discuss making a minor contribution,” he stated that the project would not be carried out “based on this funding model.”
In order for the facility to be ready for the 2025-26 cricket season, Hinchliffe stated that construction would have to begin the next year. He also stated that the motivation behind the financial announcement that was made on Friday was to “get the ball rolling.” It was him who made the statement that “this is the beginning of the negotiation that we need to have.”
As a “legacy” project for the Olympics, the minister stated that the main arena of the showgrounds would be reduced to a bowl with a capacity of 12,000 seats once the Australian Football League and cricket teams were able to return to the renovated Gabba.
Greg Swann, the chief executive officer of the Lions, expressed his satisfaction after learning that the process of finding a new home for his team was “finally moving forward.”
However, he referred to the announcement that was made on Friday as a “beginning point.”
Swann referred to the relocation as a “major upheaval” for the club, and he suggested that it might occur at a crucial moment for the Lions at the moment.
After spending more than a decade in the wilderness, the men’s team has re-established the Gabba as one of the most feared venues in the Australian Football League (AFL) under the direction of their coach, Chris Fagan. They won every game at their home stadium during the previous season, despite the fact that they came agonizingly close to breaking their drought and winning the premiership.
The temporary discomfort is something that many supporters believe will be worth it in order to eventually gain access to what is being marketed as a “amazing 21st century” stadium.
The issue, however, was bringing back bitter memories of the early days of professional Australian rules in Brisbane, when the “Bad News Bears” played out of the Gold Coast. Roger Grattan, a lifelong diehard, stated that the affair was bringing back these memories.
“It’s nice to get a stadium that’s up to date with latest technology,” he remarked. In spite of this, it is unfortunate for the Lions that they will once again be considered journeymen.
Brendan Christou, the chief executive officer of the RNA, stated that his organization would contribute fifteen million dollars to a project that would involve the restoration of its existing heritage grandstands as well as the addition of a temporary grandstand.
However, despite the fact that he stated that the showgrounds option would create “a great legacy for future generations,” he also stated that the “funding shortfall” would need to be rectified before the project could be considered a viable alternative for the Gabba backup site.