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Suncorp Stadium technology upgrades could cost a mere $15 million
Plans to install state-of-the-art fan engagement technology at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, including free Wi-Fi, internet protocol TV and two larger video boards, have reportedly been budgeted to cost no more than $15 million.
However, according to a report in Brisbane newspaper The Courier-Mail, the Queensland Government, through its Stadiums Queensland agency, is looking to Stadium hirers to meet the technology installations. Having spent $55 million on improving Suncorp Stadium over the past decade, Stadiums Queensland is reportedly currently allocating $9.7 million for capital improvements at the venue, part of which would fund renovations of corporate areas in the 21-year-old western stand.
However, with venues around Australia upgrading communication and fan engagement technology, QRL Chairman Peter Betros said the bill for the technology was “not that expensive and absolutely essential" to attract more major events to Suncorp Stadium.
With the Australian Rugby League Commission set to invite competitive bid for one of the three State of Origin games from 2018 onwards, Betros is keen that this third game is hosted in Brisbane, rather than Melbourne, Perth or other locations.
While Brisbane and Sydney are certain to host at least one Origin match a year from 2018, Brisbane securing a second Origin game is seen as being a boost to the city.
The Courier-Mail also highlighted that Suncorp Stadium is a more lucrative place to host major events than Sydney’s 82,000-seat ANZ Stadium, despite having almost 30,000 fewer seats.
Hirers gain vastly more income from the sale of suites and corporate boxes at Suncorp Stadium than they do at ANZ Stadium.
Betros claimed “the returns from Origin are better at Suncorp than at ANZ Stadium.
“It’s from access to the corporate areas and what you can get for the seats.
“A lot of the tickets at ANZ Stadium are cheaper seats because they are further away from the field."
Suncorp Stadium’s relatively high yield for major events hirers is a plus for Queensland in these talks.
Queensland Sports Minister Bill Byrne said Stadiums Queensland had worked for some time to increase telecommunications network capacity at Suncorp Stadium and is willing to discuss options with hirers who wish to provide specific services.
Minister Byrne stated “demand from potential hirers shows no sign of diminishing.”
Suncorp Stadium General Manager Alan Graham said venue hirers wanted Wi-Fi in order to engage fans on their smart phones and mobile devices, providing promotional and upgrade offers when they attend games.
Graham stated “it’s about the integration of the connectivity with your digital enhancements.
“It’s not just about Wi-Fi. It’s about having an integrated solution at the stadium with television screens, LED screens, ribbon signage, all controlled so the hirers can engage with the fans and they can interact because they are connected."
Images: Suncorp Stadium (top) and fans' smartphone engagement at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney (below).
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