Rugby lifts roof on new stadium
After much debate and political warfare, the New South Wales Government has committed to rebuilding Allianz Stadium as part of a strategy that will also see a new Parramatta Stadium built and ANZ Stadium refurbished at a cost of at least $700 million, reports rugby.com.au.
Wrapped in a bronze facade and with a hi-tech roof that can be lit in a home team’s colours, the new Allianz Stadium — formerly the Sydney Football Stadium — will hold 45,000 spectators and boast far better game-day facilities for fans than the run-down old version.
The stadium, designed by the same architects who created the original in 1988, will also have upgraded changing room capacity, with facilities specifically tailored to be female-friendly.
With the old Allianz Stadium not meeting building code and safety standards, Rugby Australia put their support behind the proposal to knock down and rebuild, which NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said came in at almost the same price as a refurbishment.
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle said there would be a large number of benefits for rugby in the impressive new stadium.
“From a fan experience point of view, the Waratahs will have a world-class stadium to play in, which is important,” Castle said.
“Our Sydney Sevens event, which we have here in NSW, it’s a great location for us, in the future for our Sydney sevens.
“And also for us, that high tier Wallaby content, for a fan experience to have a great world-class stadium to experience that in is important.
“But equally we now have a stadium that allows our back of house operations and our athletes to have a great experience, and dress in changing rooms that are appropriate for high performance athletes.”
It is expected demolition will begin on Allianz Stadium in December and the new stadium will be opened in early 2022.
Having a new stadium in Moore Park will no doubt raise questions about whether Rugby Australia would think about taking Bledisloe Cup games back to the east, as was once customary. Castle said the answer is yes, but only temporarily.
Bigger venues bring bigger revenues but with ANZ Stadium not likely to be available in 2022, the Wallabies look likely to play a July test at the new Allianz stadium and then host the All Blacks in Moore Park for the first time since 1998.