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Significant attendance falls across Stadiums Queensland venues

Significant attendance falls across Stadiums Queensland venues
October 29, 2015

Attendance at Stadiums Queensland venues saw a significant fall during the 2014/15 financial year, dipping to a total of 3,927,971 compared with crowds of 4,461,648 in 2013/14.

While Suncorp Stadium, Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast and Townsville’s 1300SMILES Stadium recorded rises in attendances, all other Stadiums Queensland venues saw falls.

Most dramatic were dips in numbers at The Gabba (34%), Brisbane Entertainment Centre (23%) and the Sleeman Sports Complex (23%), while the AFL-managed Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast saw a 31% dip in attendances.

The figures, recently published in Stadiums Queensland 2013/14 annual report, contrast with a 5.86% increase in patronage at the nine Queensland Government-owned facilities in the previous financial year.

However, while the figures make serious reading for Stadiums Queensland and have the potential as fodder for Queensland’s politicians, a series of unrelated factors would appear to have impacted the venues.

Performance of Stadiums Queensland venues in 2014/15

The Gabba 
Capacity: 42,000 
Total patronage: 330,458 (502,523 in 2013/14) 

With the Brisbane Lions having the third lowest home attendance average in the AFL (18,810 across its 11 home games), unlike in many previous years, cricket failed to boost The Gabba’s numbers. The postponement of the Test match against India in the wake of Phil Hughes' death impacted attendances while the only Australian match that the venue hosted during the ICC Cricket World Cup, against Bangladesh, was washed out without a ball being bowled.

On a more positive note, the Brisbane Heat attracted more than 100,000 to its four Big Bash League matches at The Gabba.

Suncorp Stadium
Capacity: 52,500 
Total patronage: 1,197,525 (1,151,091 in 2013/14) 

Suncorp Stadium hosted a total of 50 major events – a record since the 2003 redevelopment. This included new content such as the Liverpool v Brisbane Roar match, One Direction and Foo Fighters concerts, seven 2015 Asian Cup games, as well as fixtures from anchor tenants the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland Reds and the Roar.

Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Capacity: 27,400 
Total patronage: 256,071 (192,918 in 2013/14)

Cbus Super Stadium hosted a total of 27 events – a record since the venue opened in 2008. This included fixtures from anchor tenants the Gold Coast Titans as well as three Asian Champions League fixtures featuring the Brisbane Roar, two FFA Cup clashes, Nitro Circus and a number of community events.

Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Capacity: 13,500 
Total patronage (main arena only): 660,345 (865,051 in 2013/14)

The Brisbane Entertainment Centre continued to attract major domestic and international acts including the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams and Lady Gaga. The flexibility of the arena was demonstrated with the venue transformed into an ice rink for the USA v Canada Ice Hockey International and a netball court for hosting the ANZ Championship Netball Semi Final and Grand Final, both won by the Queensland Firebirds.

However, the rising dollar saw fewer international acts touring, thus impacting the venue’s attendance.

Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC)
Capacity: 49,000 
Total patronage: 222,725 (231,784 in 2013/2014)

Built for the Commonwealth Games with a permanent grandstand on the western side and a series of 13 aluminium stands completing the circumference around the running track, the former ANZ Stadium or QE II is now largely used for community athletics events.

When in opposition, current Minister for Sport and Racing Bill Byrne accused the LNP Government of waging a "political war" against the Southern Brisbane venue.

However, attendances in the current year look set to be boosted by the Monster Jam monster truck exhibition and upcoming AC/DC concerts.

The year also saw planning commencing for the $30 million State Netball Centre to be located at QSAC, furthering the precinct as a Centre of Sporting Excellence. 

1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
Capacity: 26,500 
Total patronage: 223,479 (210,508 in 2013/14)

Patronage rose at the 1300 Smiles Stadium, home of the NRL's North Queensland Cowboys, numbers that will be boosted in the current year by the Cowboys’ historic NRL Premiership.

Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast
Capacity: 25,000 
Total patronage: 168,692 (242,631 in 2013/14)

With Gold Coast Suns recording average attendances of 12,361 across its 11 home fixtures (the AFL’s second lowest home crowds), Metricon Stadium’s attendances were also impacted by the loss of the Big Day Out music festival which had boosted numbers in previous years.

Metricon Stadium expanded the use of PayPass/ PayWave and credit card facilities during the year while, in the coming year, planning for the construction work required to convert the venue from an AFL venue to the centrepiece arena that will host the track and field competition at the 2018 Commonwealth Games will begin.

Sleeman Sports Complex
Capacity: N/A (multiple venues) 
Total patronage (including community use and training): 659,542 (850,593 in 2013/14)

Attendances were impacted by the relocation of the Chandler Markets from the Sleeman Sports Complex, a relocation necessitated by the start of building on the new $58 million Queensland State Velodrome for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The venue also hosted the 2015 BMX National Championships. 

Queensland Tennis Centre
Capacity (Pat Rafter Arena only): 5500 
Total patronage: 209,134 (214,549 in 2013/14)

The Queensland Tennis Centre attracted the second highest attendance for the 2015 Brisbane International after the record attendance in 2014.

Preparations for the delivery of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games impacted several venues while Stadiums Queensland also advise of a “renewed focus on the attraction of community type events across the venue portfolio to increase venue usage and ensure accessibility for a wider range of event promoters and patrons.”

Introducing the Annual Report, Stadiums Queensland Chief Executive Kevin Yearbury wrote “in the coming year, there will be a particular focus on preparing venues required for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“Stadiums Queensland is currently engaged in planning for the construction work required to convert Metricon Stadium from an AFL venue to the centrepiece arena that will host the track and field competition, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

“This substantial transformation has to occur between the conclusion of the 2017 AFL season, and April 2018.”

Writing about construction of the Queensland State Velodrome at the Sleeman Sports Complex, Yearbury added “once completed, the velodrome, together with the adjacent BMX Supercross track, will form a precinct of first class facilities for national and international track and BMX competition, elite training and club events.”

Click here to view the full Annual Report.

21st October 2015 - COWBOYS ENJOY MASSIVE ACCLAIM ACROSS NORTH QUEENSLAND

19th September 2015 - THE GABBA COULD MISS OUT ON FUTURE TEST MATCHES TO ADELAIDE AND PERTH

26th August 2015 - AEG OGDEN SECURES SUNCORP STADIUM MANAGEMENT RIGHTS UNTIL 2020

6th July 2015 - FIRST WOMAN CHAIR FOR STADIUMS QUEENSLAND BOARD

29th June 2015 - SUNCORP STADIUM TO HOST MORE EVENTS AND CONCERTS

28th June 2015 - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT TO DEVELOP NEW $30 MILLION HOME FOR NETBALL IN BRISBANE

16th January 2015 - WORK UNDERWAY ON QUEENSLAND STATE VELODROME

1st February 2014 - STADIUMS QUEENSLAND SECURES NAMING RIGHTS SPONSOR FOR GOLD COAST’S SKILLED PARK 

29th August 2013 - NSW SPORT MINISTER GRAHAM ANNESLEY RESIGNS TO TAKE UP ROLE AT GOLD COAST TITANS

29th August 2013 - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT LAND GIFT KEEPS BRONCOS IN BRISBANE


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However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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