I was really excited the other day when I read a headline for ‘The World’s Most Functional Stadium.’ I thought: great. Very cool. Stadiums in Australia could use a facelift (or two). See, there’s this project (the NSW Stadia Strategy) that is meant to fund stadium building and improvements in NSW in order to improve patron experience. They’re also a bit jealous of Victoria and want to be the new home of international sporting events.
So when I read the details about it I had to ask… who thought this was a good idea?
The stadium with be is Western (or South West) Sydney. Okay. That’s fine. It’s a growing area that will benefit from investment. Is it ideal for the city-dwellers? Nah, not really. People don’t really want to travel that far but, like I said, the area could use the investment and considering that there are already several stadia in Sydney it’s not that tragic that they’ve chosen an area outside of the city. Location: all good here.
But then… I don’t know. It sort of falls apart.
The NSW government has dedicated several million dollars to this initiative (and we already know how I feel about this matter) and I can understand if they want to do this to improve the sporting experience. Sport is huge in Australia and that’s a great idea. Supporting community sports is a fantastic idea – I can name a club or two that could use a few benches for spectators.
But if they want to use this initiative to increase the likeliness that New South Wales will become the new face of Australia’s sporting events, then their money would probably be better spent elsewhere.
When you think about it, the MCG is the most iconic sporting venue in Australia. It sells out (well, sometimes). That seats over 100,000. The SMALLEST US football stadium holds over 30,000.
The new stadium proposal is for less than 40,000 and can be expanded to fit 54,000. That’s all well and good for starters… but how can you expect to be the new home to international events with a stadium that’s smaller than the other NSW stadiums? Why even bother? The initial specs and images look awesome. And sure, maybe it will be the most functional stadium since it has all these fun, new things (big TVs, corporate boxes, luxury boxes… you know the drill) but if you can’t fit people in it, what do all those things matter?