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Rebuilt Gabba and new Brisbane Live arena the key developments for 2032 Olympic Games hosting

Rebuilt Gabba and new Brisbane Live arena the key developments for 2032 Olympic Games hosting
July 22, 2021

With Brisbane’s successful bid to host the XXXV Olympiad having emphasised its plans to avoid the overspending that have plagued previous Olympics by making use of existing facilities, the rebuilding of the Gabba and the new Brisbane Live arena looking set to be the key developments for 2032 Games hosting.

The Brisbane 2032 Masterplan includes 32 venues within South-East Queensland for the 28 Olympic sports, located in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

With the bid team having planned a Games that will break-even, Brisbane’s initial proposal pitched as many as seven new venues being built, with the potential to reduce to just two new venues. As Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk advised “we already have 85% of the venues at the moment. It’s a new norm, which means it’s a game changer.”

With initial documents having considered several options for the main Games venue, a re-built 50,000-capacity Gabba will now host athletics events and the opening and closing ceremonies, while the planned new Brisbane Live development, to be located above the city’s Roma Street Station, will host swimming competition.

First proposed by AEG Ogden (now ASM Global) in 2016, the Brisbane Live development, referred to as the Brisbane Arena in bid documents, is a $2 billion development that plans to make use of previously unused space over Roma Street station (which links to railway networks connecting with much of Queensland) and includes 17,000-seat indoor arena and a 4,000-capacity live music venue, along with cinemas, restaurants and bars.

In Olympics mode, it would have a temporary 50 metre event pool installed, as was done at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena for the 2007 FINA World Swimming Championships.

Having previously expressed some frustrations at the slow pace of the Queensland Government’s approval process for the development, Harvey Lister, Chairman and Chief Executive of ASM Global (Asia Pacific), was today delighted that, with Brisbane’s Games hosting confirmed, “the concept for the new venue is now locked in”, noting that “there will be technical issues and contracts to agree with Games delivery authority but we can now look forward to a developing a venue that will serve not only for the Olympics but for the city of Brisbane as it expands into the future.”

Lister also noted that Gary Thomas, ASM Global (Asia Pacific)’s Manager Design and Technical - International Projects, had been involved with the temporary pool project for Melbourne’s 2007 FINA World Championships.

Among other Games venues the Brisbane Indoor Sports Centre will host basketball, a new 10,000-capacity Chandler Indoor Sports Centre would replace the existing Chandler Arena to host gymnastics while the traditional home of Queensland Rugby, Ballymore, currently being redeveloped would host hockey venue.

The main athletes' village will be built on prime Brisbane waterfront real estate at Hamilton, with smaller accommodation options on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Kooralbyn, near the rowing venue.

Confident that the hosting will not see a repeat of mistakes made at past Olympics, Brisbane Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner told the ABC today “one of the things in other (host) cities that often creates cost pressure is an accelerated timeframe.

"We have 11 years to prepare for the Games and to be ready - that's a really strong position to be in."

Not only will Brisbane’s Olympics expand to the entire south-east Queensland, football will also be played at Cairns and Townsville in North Queensland as well as Sydney and Melbourne.

Planned 2032 Olympic venues and their status:


  • The Gabba (rebuild, 50,000 capacity) - Athletics, Ceremonies
  • Brisbane Arena (new, 15,000) - Swimming, Water Polo
  • Brisbane Aquatic Centre (existing, 4,300) - Diving, Artistic Swimming, Water Polo
  • South Bank Culture Forecourt (temporary, 4,000) - Archery
  • Brisbane Indoor Sports Centre (new) - Basketball
  • South Bank Piazza (existing, 4,500) - 3x3 Basketball
  • Anna Meares Velodrome (existing, 5,000) - Track Cycling, BMX racing
  • Victoria Park (temporary, 5,000/25,000) - Freestyle BMX, Cross Country Equestrian
  • Brisbane Showgrounds (existing, 15,000) - Equestrian
  • Suncorp Stadium (existing, 52,500) - Rugby Sevens, Football (Finals)
  • Chandler Indoor Sports Centre (rebuild, 10,000) - Gymnastics
  • Ballymore Stadium (upgrade, 10,000) - Hockey
  • Brisbane International Shooting Centre (existing, 2,000) - Shooting
  • Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (existing, 6,500) - Table Tennis, Fencing, Taekwondo, Badminton
  • Royal Queensland Golf Club (existing, 15,000 - Golf
  • Redland Whitewater Centre (new, 8,000) - Slalom Canoe
  • Brisbane Entertainment Centre (existing, 11,000) - Handball
  • Moreton Bay Indoor Sports Centre (new) - Boxing
  • Ipswich Stadium (under construction, 10,000) - Modern pentathlon
  • Lake Wyaralong (existing) - Rowing, Sprint Canoe
  • Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (existing, 10,000) - Sailing
  • Queensland Tennis Centre (existing, 6,000) - Tennis

Gold Coast

  • Broadbeach Park Stadium (temporary, 12,000) - Beach Volleyball
  • Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast (existing, 27,400) - Football (Preliminaries)
  • Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre (existing, 7,500) - Judo, Wrestling
  • Broadwater Parklands (temporary 5,000) - Triathlon, Marathon Swim
  • Coomera Indoor Sports Centre (existing, 11,000) - Volleyball
  • Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (existing, 6,000) - Weightlifting, Volleyball

Sunshine Coast

  • Sunshine Coast Stadium (upgrade, 16,500) - Football (Preliminaries)
  • Sunshine Coast Indoor Sports Centre (new, 6,000) - Basketball (Preliminaries)
  • Alexandra Headland (temporary, 5,000) - Road Cycling, Race Walking, Kiteboarding, Keelboat Sailing
  • Sunshine Coast Mountain Bike Park (existing, 10,000) - Mountain Biking
  • Redeveloped Sunshine Coast Stadium

Other Locations

  • Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville (existing, 25,000) - Football (Preliminaries)
  • Barlow Park, Cairns (upgrade) - Football (Preliminaries)
  • Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba (upgrade) - Football (Preliminaries)
  • Sydney Football Stadium, NSW (under construction, 45,000) - Football
  • AAMI Park, Melbourne (existing, 30,050) - Football

Images: Concepts for Brisbane 2032 venues, the Brisbane Live/Arena in swimming mode (top) and its exterior (middle) and the exterior of a redeveloped Gabba (below). Credit: Queensland Government.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

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18th July 2021 - Royal Queensland Golf Club confirmed as chosen host venue if Brisbane secures 2032 Olympics

14th June 2021 - Harvey Lister recognised for a lifetime dedication to tourism and events in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list

11th June 2021 - IOC board unanimously backs Brisbane’s 2032 Olympics hosting bid

28th May 2021 - ASM Global to enhance venues’ 5G connectivity with new partnership

27th April 2021 - Australia Government to fast-track COVID-19 vaccines for Olympic team athletes

27th April 2021 - Federal Government agrees to back 50% of Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Games costs

23rd April 2021 - Sunshine Coast Stadium stakeholders push for upgrade funding in Federal budget

20th April 2021 - Successful Brisbane 2032 Olympics bid would prompt Gabba redevelopment as main Games venue

22nd March 2021 - John Coates outlines ambition for 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane

3rd March 2021 - Planned Brisbane Live development could be a 2032 Olympics venue

1st March 2021 - Details revealed of new and existing venues that would host Brisbane’s 2032 Olympics

26th February 2021 - Queensland Premier suggests new stadium and aquatic sport venue to be built if Brisbane secures 2032 Olympics

25th February 2021 - IOC names Brisbane as preferred host for 2032 Summer Olympic Games

25th February 2021 - Australian Sports Commission welcomes South-East Queensland’s recognition as preferred bid candidate for the 2032 Olympics

14th February 2021 - ASM Global’s Harvey Lister looks to ‘full revival’ of live events in 2022

28th October 2020 - Queensland’s major parties back redevelopment of Brisbane’s Ballymore ground

15th December 2019 - Queensland Government gives go ahead for Brisbane Live entertainment precinct

23rd September 2019 - AEG Ogden’s Harvey Lister expresses frustrations at delays with Brisbane Live precinct

4th July 2018 - Train station demolition to herald Brisbane Live development

10th May 2018 - Queensland Government commits $5 million to develop ‘Brisbane Live’ business case

8th May 2016 - Plans revealed for new $2 billion ‘Brisbane Live’ entertainment arena Precinct

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