The Courier-Mail

STADIUM WARS

Premier told: ‘Give Suncorp a facelift or be smashed by the Blues’

- CHRIS GARRY

QUEENSLAND football bosses are pleading with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to urgently upgrade the “outdated” Suncorp Stadium – or face los- ing major events to bigspendin­g New South Wales.

Queensland Rugby League chairman Peter Betros and Broncos chief executive Paul White have warned Brisbane risked losing the stadium war to Sydney, after NSW announced a mammoth $1.5 billion plan to build two new worldclass venues and upgrade ANZ Stadium.

“We need to fight fire with fire,” Mr Betros said.

“Suncorp Stadium’s facilities are out of date.”

The NSW plan means Brisbane will miss out on hosting NRL grand finals, despite the Premier on Thursday pledging to seize the spectacle for Queensland, and will find it difficult to argue for extra State of Origin games.

QUEENSLAND’S rugby league bosses have pleaded for urgent upgrades to the state’s premier sporting venue, Suncorp Stadium.

QRL chairman Peter Betros and Broncos chief executive Paul White fear Brisbane has been left behind by big-spending NSW in the stadium war.

Queensland’s key sport stakeholde­rs are frustrated the venue has deteriorat­ed from a world-class facility to a technologi­cal relic.

The NSW Government yesterday announced a $1.5 billion spend on sport stadiums in Sydney that will significan­tly upgrade Parramatta, ANZ and Allianz stadiums.

“We need to fight fire with fire,” Mr Betros said. “Suncorp Stadium’s facilities are out of date. It is a great stadium infrastruc­ture wise and it still provides a great experience but other stadiums have gone past it in terms of their technology and fan engagement.

“The NSW investment in stadiums is a great result for the NRL and it would be great if the Queensland Government also invested. The stadium must have wi-fi and the replay screens are not up to the standard of Sydney’s.”

The NSW Government’s investment means Brisbane will miss out on hosting NRL grand finals and it will be hard to argue for extra State of Origin games. There have been only minor upgrades at the stadium since it was built in 2003.

The Courier-Mail spoke to several Queensland sporting stakeholde­rs yesterday who said fans were increasing­ly complainin­g about its facilities.

The Broncos are negotiatin­g to bring NRL grand finals, World Club Challenge games and the NRL Nines to the venue but they won’t be able to compete with aggressive NSW and Victorian government­s.

It is understood the Broncos have lobbied the various Queensland government­s for four years to have Suncorp Stadium’s facilities improved.

Mr White said the lack of upgrades was largely due to the constant changing of state government­s. He urged the Labor Party to compete with Sydney’s stadium spend.

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