7 out of 8 capital cities plus 9 regional cities already host a total of 80 elite-level teams across 7 major sports. This research report puts the microscope on stadium infrastructure investment and the widespread benefits to communities.
This report by Propertyology also contains some great Case Studies plus a summary of major projects in the pipeline across Australia.
The benefits of investing in integrated sporting stadiums spread far wider than player trading and premiership ladders.
Culturally, economically and socially, various townships already epitomise the powerful impact that elite sport has on communities.
The city of Melbourne is already a global success story in this space. Its major transformation began in the early 1990’s.
Geelong and Newcastle are shining examples of success for communities of circa 300,000.
Adelaide, Perth and Townsville have recently implemented the modern stadium prototype and are destined for huge rewards.
It is just a matter of time for the Gold Coast. Australia’s 6th largest city already has the amenities, the infrastructure, the lifestyle and the representation. They now appear close to acquiring the only missing piece to the puzzle – on field success.
And the plans for Hobart, Brisbane and Launceston are incredibly exciting – boom.
While speculative at this stage, I think the biggest potential of them all lies in Australia’s Top End. Go Darwin!
When done well, investment into high quality stadiums and integrated sporting amenities makes a bigger and broader contribution to the general strength of a community than anything else.
According to Sports Australia Council, “Sport is big business — and a good investment. It provides an estimated $83 billion in combined economic, health and educational benefits each year.”
6.5 out of every 10 Australians are actively involved in sport.
14 million people are participants, 1.8 million are volunteers and 220,000 are employed across the sector.
4-GREAT CASE STUDIES
With a population of 270,000 people and a strong industrial heritage, Geelong has experienced great highs from the Gold Rush and the lows of several major factory closures as recently as 2010 to 2015. But sport has always been a valuable staple.
Founded in 1859, the Geelong Cats AFL is one of Australia’s most successful sport teams and this nation’s second oldest. Over the last century, the community has been inspired by numerous local heroes, including Bob Davis, Sam Newman, Doug Wade, Gary Ablett snr, Garry Hocking, Jimmy Bartel, Gary Ablett jnr and Joel Selwood.
Over the last 15-years, the AFL men’s team has participated in 5 grand finals and won 3 premierships. It’s proof that sustained national success is not defined by capital city status.
Kardinia Park (currently known as ‘GMHBA Stadium’) has been the home ground since 1941. Over the last 20-years, circa $200 million has been invested in stadium upgrades. The current expansion will take capacity to 40,000, making it the biggest stadium in regional Australia.
Recent investment in the stadium has been instrumental in a more diverse Geelong economic profile that includes a very healthy visitor economy.
The community has also benefitted from hosting A-League national soccer, international soccer (Matilda’s versus China), international T20 cricket, domestic T20 Big Bash cricket and entering a team into the AFLW competition.
Australia’s 14th largest city and the biggest in the top half of this country has a proud history for producing elite sportspeople. Natalie Cook (Olympic volleyballer), Laurie Lawrence and Libby Trickett (Olympic swimming), Mitchell Johnson, Andrew Symonds and James Hopes (Australian cricketer) and Greg Norman (golf) are part of a large group that also includes rugby league greats Gene Miles, Gordon Tallis, Sam Thaiday and Jonathan Thurston.
After entering the national rugby league competition in 1995, the NQ Cowboys have appeared in the finals in 10 of their 26 seasons. They won a national premiership in 2015.
The enviable passion and support that the local community has for its sporting heroes was a driving force behind the recent development of a brand-new stadium. The world-class $250 million Queensland Country Bank Stadium opened early 2020.
The 25,000-seat stadium is the centrepiece of an A-grade entertainment precinct. Adjacent to the main stadium is a $40 million centre of excellence training facility. The precinct has pedestrian connections to the Townsville CBD, The Ville casino and the beautiful Strand.
Townsville’s significant investment in sport and entertainment infrastructure has already started to produce knock-on benefits which include hosting international soccer, international rugby test matches, the rugby league State-of-Origin and concerts with international performers.
We aint seen nothin’ yet!
Construction at the precinct has just commenced on a $40 million Hilton Hotel (166-room).
And, in late 2021, a 17-hectare site directly opposite the stadium was purchased by two of Australia’s most successful hospitality operators, Chris Morris and Errol Stewart. The community eagerly awaits final designs of an expected major tourism drawcard by the highly regarded developers.
The precinct masterplan also contains a 6,000-seat Townsville convention centre plus a variety of restaurants, retail and accommodation.
McDonald Jones Stadium (also known as ‘Newcastle Stadium’) has played a significant role for the Newcastle community since 1970. With a capacity of 33,000, it is the home ground for two national sport teams and has hosted an international rugby league test match.
After rejecting previous approaches for the city to participate in the national rugby league competition, the Newcastle Knights joined the NRL in 1988. A year later the city was rocked by one of Australia’s worst ever natural disasters – a major earthquake killed 13-people and created a $4 billion damage bill (circa $12 billion today’s value). The community drew inspiration from hometown heroes such as Paul Harragon, Danny Buderus and Andrew Johns.
The Knights have already won two NRL premierships (1997 and 2001).
The Newcastle Jets participate in the A-League national soccer team and have featured in 7 finals series during its first 22-years, including a national title in 2008.
In recent years, Tasmania has been taking the world by storm with its unique wonders. Now the island state is gearing up to take Australian sport by storm. Early this year, the Tasmanian Jack Jumpers captivated the nation by playing off in a grand final in its first year in the national NBL competition. Momentum is fast building for a local team to enter Australia’s most successful sporting competition, the AFL.
The state has a strong AFL heritage, its population is bigger than aforementioned national sporting success stories, it has officially been the strongest economy of all states over the last 4-years, and it has already invested heavily in A-grade visitor infrastructure such as luxury hotels and airport upgrades. Frankly, their AFL bid must be supported.
- Regatta Park Stadium: A world-class stadium investment of $750 million (quite likely to end up closer to $1 billion) has been proposed to support the AFL bid. In addition to this amazing piece of infrastructure, the state government has also committed unprecedented financial support to the tune of $150 million over 10-years. Located on prime, inner-city, waterfront land, the multi-purpose Hobart stadium will have a retractable roof and capacity for 27,000 spectators. Part of a 10-year masterplan, the project includes provision for Hobart also entering a team into the national A-League soccer competition, plus additional indoor facilities for basketball, netball, concerts and other entertainment events. All things being equal, construction of Stage 1 will be completed in 2027.
Propertyology has pledged its support for Tasmania having a team in the AFL. You can too by simply clicking here
MORE EXCITING SPORT PROJECTS
- Brighton Homes Arena: Located in Greater-Brisbane’s outer-western municipality of Ipswich, the $80 million multi-purpose facility will be the Brisbane Lions headquarters, an elite performance and administration facility, 10,000-seat home ground for the Lions AFLW team, and community service gymnasium and pool. Due to be completed Q4 2022, this venue will also stage the modern pentathlon event in the 2032 Olympic Games.
Related article: Will the Olympics create a Brisbane property boom?
- Brisbane Live Arena: Focused on hosting major indoor sport events and concerts, this $2 billion cultural precinct in Brisbane’s CBD will have elite-level indoor sports facilities, aquatic centre and entertainment arena.
- Brisbane Indoor Sports Centre: A new 12,000-seat, 12-court stadium in the inner-northern suburb of Herston to host basketball and other indoor sports.
- Moreton Daily Stadium: Based in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions, construction of a major grandstand at the Redcliffe stadium was just completed. This paves the way for 10,000-patrons to enjoy home games for the newest team in the national NRL, Moreton Bay Dolphins, kicking off in 2023.
- Moreton Bay Indoor Sports Centre: To be developed from 2025, the elite level facility will have 9-courts, 7,000 seat capacity and be ideal for indoor sports, including boxing.
- Ballimore Stadium: The former home of the QLD Reds is being developed into a $31.5 million National Rugby Training Centre with grandstand for 3,000 spectators. Construction completion is due H2 2023.
- The Gabba: Brisbane’s number one stadium will be knocked down and completely rebuilt (possibly from Q3 2025). A new $1 billion facility will become the main stadium for the 2032 Olympic Games and boost capacity to 50,000. Plans include development of a modern pedestrian plaza and new train station adjacent to the stadium.
The border city boasts a dream team of homegrown sporting legends who continue to inspire their local community.
Athletes such as Australia’s inaugural basketball Hall of Fame inductee Lauren Jackson, test cricketer Steve Rixon, world tennis Hall of Famer Margaret Court, and numerous big profile AFL players. The high-quality facilities at Albury-Wodonga enables it to host year-round events such as state and regional sport carnivals, AFL preseason games and the occasional NRL, Big Bash and A-League match.
- Lavington Sports Ground: The venue for the Ovens & Murray AFL grand final also incorporates an elite cricket field, cycling velodrome, netball courts and is a recent recipient of a $20 million facility upgrade.
- Lauren Jackson Sports Centre: The best indoor sport facility in regional NSW has an $11 million upgrade due for completion in H2 2023.
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG): A $1 billion upgrade of the MCG was recently flagged. At this stage, construction is likely to commence Q4 2027 and is likely to include a 5-star hotel, restaurants, bars, roof-top lighting, improved transport access, a new-look Shane Warne Stand and capacity increase to 105,000.
- Kennedy Community Centre: A $100 million project to develop a new training and administration home for the Hawthorn Football Club in the south-eastern suburb of Dingley. Facilities will include a home ground and stadium for the new Hawthorn AFLW team, an MCG-sized training oval, elite aquatic and gym facilities, along with indoor netball, basketball and volleyball courts. Construction commences in H2 2022.
- Wyndham City Stadium: Construction for a new 15,000-seat stadium commenced in October 2021, as part of a $180 million elite sports development in the outer-western suburb of Tarneit. The main sports complex will be the home ground for Western United, who entered the national soccer A-League competition in 2019 and are looking to attract support from the fast-growing western suburbs of Melbourne along with the regional populations of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
- Bundoora Sports Park: Construction for a $116 million sports precinct at La Trobe University commenced Q1 2022. The facility will be the new home for the Australian women’s soccer team and the Victorian State Rugby Centre and include 5-pitches, elite indoor training and sports science facilities, administration facilities and 800-seat grandstand. It is due for completion prior to hosting 2023 FIFA World Cup
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The recent evolution of this amazing regional city is an enormous success story.
- UTAS Stadium: Launceston’s premier stadium already hosts several elite level AFL (Hawthorn) and T20 Big Bash cricket (Hobart Hurricanes) games each year. The state government has proposed a $208 million upgrade that would include a high-performance training facility, a multipurpose 3-court indoor arena with 5,000-seats and increasing the main stadium capacity from 20,000 to 27,500. Implementation of the government proposal would position Tasmania very well for having a team in the national AFL, basketball, netball and soccer. The stadium is situated just 2-kilometre from the CBD and adjacent to the new $344 million world-class university (Stage 4 construction due for completion in 2024).
Related article: Launceston real estate boom
- Sunshine Coast Stadium: Located at Kawana Waters, the Sunshine Coast Stadium is a 12-000-seat complex that already hosts elite-level rugby league (home ground of Warriors NRL during Covid-19), rugby union and soccer. There’s a $68 million proposal to develop an adjacent indoor stadium for sports such as basketball, along with increasing the stadium’s capacity to 16,000. The aim is to attract more national and international events along with hosting the Olympic Games soccer and basketball.
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The Adelaide Oval precinct is the modern prototype for elite sport and entertainment. A world-class main stadium is surrounded by other sport complexes, elite training centres, and a diverse range of entertainment facilities such as restaurants, hotels, parks, eateries centres and public transport.
- Coopers Stadium: The home ground of Adelaide United men’s and women’s A-League teams, Coopers Stadium is receiving a $53 million upgrade ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Construction commenced in July 2021 and is expected to be completed by December 2022. Development of a separate $24 million State Centre of Football in the suburb of Gepps Cross has just been completed.
- WACA Ground: The original home of cricket in Perth has been undergoing transformation since the opening of Optus Stadium. A $75 million redevelopment of the WACA will create a 10,000-seat multi-sport venue, including high performance centre and the ability to host AFL and cricket matches. Construction is likely to be complete in H1 2023.
- Perth Stadium: The $1 billion 60,000-seat stadium (third biggest in Australia) opened in 2018. Located adjacent to the picturesque Swan River and CBD, the stadium is the centrepiece infrastructure of a modern precinct that also includes golf course, Crown casino and convention centre and Perth’s second largest train platform. There is provision for future expansion to 70,000 seats.
- Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct: Australia’s 43rd largest city has a goal to encourage and develop youth in sport and to attract pre-season matches for elite sports including AFL, cricket, soccer and basketball. This $33 million multi-sports complex is a great example of big-picture vision. Stage 1 development an AFL-standard oval with a cricket turf wicket was recently completed. The grand plan includes an adjoining 2-story indoor stadium with 6-courts, change rooms, spectator seating, administration offices and social club.
- Orange Sports Complex: A $25 million sports complex with rectangular field and 8,000-seating for rugby league, rugby union and soccer, plus an adjoining oval-shaped field for AFL, cricket and athletics. It is anticipated that the A-grade facilities will also boost local tourism and hospitality through hosting regional sporting carnivals and other major events, including NRL games. Earthworks recently commenced.
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- Eureka Stadium: Located within the showgrounds precinct and referred to as ‘Mars Stadium’, Ballarat’s largest sports field hosts year-round regional sporting events, along with multiple games each year for the national AFL and national A-League soccer. Four years from now, images of this stadium will dominate devices all over the world when it hosts the athletic events for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The stadium will soon undergo a major upgrade from a 10,000-seated capacity to 20,000 permanent seats (and a further 10,000 temporary seats).
It does not take much imagination to appreciate the significant knock-on benefits to the community from having a visionary mindset and investing in A-grade sports infrastructure.
- Rocky Stadium: This new multi-purpose sports field is adjacent to existing fields, creating an elite community sports hub. The $23 million project will include playing field, 7,500-seat grandstand and 800-seat function room. Rockhampton will be well placed to attract major events once the project is completed in H1 2023.
- Darwin Stadium: A $300 million development of a 25,000-seat stadium has been proposed as part of a broader push for Australia’s 17th largest city to have a team in the national AFL competition. Consultancy firm Bastion EBA recently estimated the huge social and economic benefits a local team would deliver in areas such as health, education and crime reduction, worth potentially in the range of $460 million per year. In a great story recently published by dual AFL premiership player and proud Territorian, Matthew Stokes, he said “…it would bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people and give young people in the territory something in their town to aspire towards.”
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- Campbelltown Stadium: The home ground for the Wests Tigers NRL and Macarthur Bulls A-League has a proposal from the city council to develop a Sports and Health Centre of Excellence Centre. Allied health services, medical rooms, athlete elite recovery facilities, gymnasium and three additional sport fields are part of the proposal.
- Allianz Stadium: The $828 million redevelopment of the 42,500-seat Sydney Football Stadium is due to be completed in August 2022, directly prior to the 2022 NRL finals series. This world-class stadium will also host Celtic in an international soccer club friendly in November 2022.
- Cape Otway Road Australia (CORA): A $350 million sports hub for the world’s biggest stars is being developed south-west of Geelong. Built on 220-hectares, the facility will be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere with a wellness centre, elite sports science, medical and training facilities for soccer, basketball, AFL, cricket, swimming, tennis, rugby. Global sporting giants such as the English Premier League, America’s NBA, NFL, Indian Premier League, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal were consulted during the planning stage and form part of the target market. Construction is due for completion in 2024.
The importance of investment in sport-related amenities and infrastructure runs much deeper than someone kicking a ball, the scoreboard or the volume of pies and chips consumed at the ground.
The best visionaries appreciate that a well-executed integrated strategy arguably has greater combined benefits in physical and mental health, a wide range of social benefits and personal development, community connection and economic growth.
MULTI-LAYERED COMMUNITY BENEFITS
While describing the importance that his municipality places on community sport and associated amenities, a Mayor of one of Australia’s largest city councils once told me that “…for every child participating in local sport that’s one less child fronting a judge in court…”
Just consider this for a powerful cocktail of repetitious positivity for a community…
ECONOMY: National promotion of major events is arguably a town’s most effective marketing resource. It supports a vibrant visitor economy along with encouraging internal migration. Integrated sport and entertainment infrastructure is great community value-add investment.
JOBS: Directly and indirectly, elite sport creates jobs in a wide variety of roles. Players, coaches, physical strength and conditioning specialists, doctors, physiotherapists, food and beverage suppliers, cleaners, groundskeepers, landscaping suppliers, tradies, hotel and motel operators, hospitality workers, airport staff, taxi and Uber drivers.
HEALTH: As if that’s not already enough, quality amenities bring people outdoors while encouraging physical activity and connections. It drives strong community values, builds local confidence and does wonders for one’s physical and mental health.
DREAMS: It creates role models and inspiration for our youth who grow up idolising homegrown heroes. Just look at the small sample of sporting heroes in this graphic who have set good examples for self-esteem, goal setting, determination, commitment, teamwork and physical education.
Governments are forever spending billions of dollars of taxpayer funds to address all sorts of important social issues. Yet the unique platform occupied by our sporting heroes has already proven to be much more effective at influencing positive change.
Australian athletes have been great leaders on matters that include indigenous education, LGBT, multicultural inclusion, illicit drugs, our military heroes, HIV aids and domestic violence.
Two great examples of social leadership are the AFL’s ‘Big Freeze’ ($60 million raised for motor neurone disease over the last 7-years) and cricket’s SCG ‘Pink Test’ ($20 million raised for breast cancer over 13-years).
The founders of these two amazing charities, Neale Daniher (Wagga Wagga region) and Glenn McGrath (Dubbo), grew up in sporting strongholds and, after enjoying great success in their respective AFL and cricket careers, have used their own personal adversity to help many thousands of Australians.
No one should ever underestimate the wide-ranging benefits through investing in community sport.
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