Representatives of the NSW Government, NRL, FFA and ARU joined together to announce a $1.6 billion investment in major stadia in Sydney on Thursday.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the investment in rectangular facilities at Sydney Olympic Park, Parramatta and the upgrade to Moore Park was a landmark result for Rugby League in NSW.
It means there will be three world class Rugby League stadia in Sydney – two in Sydney’s western suburbs and one in Sydney’s traditional sporting hub at Moore Park.
Under the package, announced by the Premier, Mr Baird:
- A new 30,000 seat stadium will be built at Parramatta with construction to begin at the end of the current NRL season
- ANZ will be transformed into a 70,000 seat rectangular stadium putting fans close to the action. Construction will begin as soon as possible.
- Allianz Stadium will be upgraded to give fans better facilities
Mr Greenberg said the deal would also deliver $40 million for new Centres of Excellence for NRL clubs in NSW. The funds will be distributed on a “dollar for dollar” basis to clubs wanting to build Centres of Excellence.
“Our aim was to ensure that Rugby League benefited from any allocation of stadia funding – and this package delivers that outcome.”
As part of the agreement, the NRL has committed to staging the Grand Final in Sydney for a further 20-year period, starting when the ANZ transformation is completed.
He said the new agreement meant that all existing arrangements within the network would continue with an expectation of additional games over time.
For the Dragons it means that presently there are no longer any requests from the NRL for the transfer of additional home games to the 'central network'.
The Dragons have been adamant that they had already moved to recognise the positives of playing the right games at the right venues.
As has been evident, over recent times, many senior sporting administrators have publicly stated their views on the need for progressive business growth strategies which involve recognising the commercial realities of playing in the most modern of Stadia.
In suburban venues, undercover seating and membership growth are limited and the corporate hospitality areas don’t compare with those that are and will be on offer at the larger venues.
Further, the Government has confirmed that there is not likely to be any major investment in suburban grounds anytime soon, if at all.
“The Government investment is significant and the decision is a great outcome for Rugby League and the Dragons,” said Dragons CEO Peter Doust.
“Our Right Game Right Venue Strategy decision included consideration of, the additional investment into Sydney’s major stadiums, and the opportunities to grow our business in these venues, whilst maintaining a balance with our traditions.
“The Dragons have developed plans for a Centre of Excellence and are pleased the Government has promoted an intention to allocate funding for these facilities.
“However, we will need additional investment and are presently working through various options for raising the necessary capital which would be in the vicinity of $20 million”.