Sydney’s ANZ Stadium will not shut during a planned but unfunded $250 million upgrade, which should see a retractable roof and moveable stands built at the Olympic venue.
The ambitious construction project could begin in 2015 – the same year the venue is expected to host a series of prestigious and valuable events, including key parts of the showpiece Asian Cup soccer competition.
ANZ Stadium, which generated more than $100 million for the NSW economy in 2013, is slated to host group stage, quarter-final, semi-final and final matches for the important regional football competition in January.
The venue is also expected to host a series of national and international events through 2015, including the Sydney Swans, numerous NRL clubs, the Wallabies, A-League Allstars, T20 and State of Origin matches.
A spokesman for the venue insisted there will be no stadium shutdown or cancellations in 2015, should the significant financial backing be found to allow the major upgrade work to start.
“There are already discussions with the codes and clubs that hire the stadium to minimise impact,” the spokesman told AAP.
The upgrade work will not increase the current 83,500 capacity at ANZ Stadium, but it may help improve spectator vantage points and atmosphere at some matches.
Lower seating areas will be reconfigured and moveable grandstands built at the southern and northern ends, according to plans unveiled by Stadium Australia Operations Pty Ltd.
That will move fans attending football code matches to within five metres of the deadball line and square-off the previously curved north and south seating areas.
The playing arena area will also be widened – becoming close to the stands – on the eastern and western sides to cater for cricket and AFL matches.
ANZ Stadium, like other arenas built for athletics but now hosting football matches, has been strongly criticised for lacking atmosphere during some events as fans are forced to sit far from the action.
There will also be upgraded food and drink outlets inside and outside the stadium, including a new pub on the venue concourse.
“Our ambition is to create the greatest multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium in the world,” said stadium managing director Daryl Kerry.