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AFL’s $100 million plan for Sydney Showground

November 20, 2008
The AFLâs interest in stadia in Sydney for its second NSW club has shifted to the Sydney Showground at Olympic Park with plans to redevelop the former Olympic venue into a $100 million 'boutique stadium'.
The AFL revealed its plans for a second team to be established in Sydney by 2012 earlier this year. Under the initial plan, the team's headquarters and training venue would be at Blacktown Olympic Park, which is undergoing a $27.5 million redevelopment to develop a 10,000 capacity venue.
This was followed in April, by then NSW Premier Morris Iemma provided a $40,000 grant to the AFL in April to undertake a concept plan to re-develop the showground.
With major home games believed to heading for the ANZ Stadium, amid speculation that the AFL might even purchase the venue, the AFL has shifted its focus for the team's non-blockbuster games to be staged at the showground.
The rationale for this move being a desire for a smaller, purpose-built ground to provide a more intimate football experience for AFL fans while also being more cost effective.
There had been concerns in AFL circles about the lack of atmosphere at ANZ Stadium coinciding with a readjustment of the initial crowd size that would support a second Sydney team.
Explaining the development, AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said the concept plan for "the possible redevelopment of the showground into a multi-purpose boutique stadium would be finished pretty soon," adding âat this point, there's been no request from us for any funding for any redevelopment and there's no government commitment (to fund it).�?
The NSW government rejected plans to extend the nearby exhibition halls adjacent to the showground in its recent mini-budget.
Peter King, Chief Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society, which operates the showground site, said if the proposed redevelopment was approved, it would increase game-day capacity from about 13,500 to about 25,000.
The showground would continue to cater for an array of events. King adding said Twenty20 cricket games "would be a great option" there while estimatingd the cost of redeveloping the site to be between $50 million and $100 million.

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