THE State Government’s bill to give Suncorp Stadium a technological advance to keep it in the fight to host extra Origin games would be no more than $15 million.
The cost of installing free public wi-fi, internet protocol TV and two bigger screens with superior clarity would be between $12 million to $15 million, industry sources say.
But Sports Minister Bill Byrne does not offer hope of funding for this project and also brushed off NSW’s commitment of more than $1 billion on stadiums in Sydney as a “catch-up’’ measure.
QRL chairman Peter Betros said the bill for the technology was “not that expensive and absolutely essential’’ to attract extra Origin matches and other major events to Suncorp Stadium.
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.
“The returns from Origin are better at Suncorp than at ANZ Stadium,’’ Betros said.
“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 third Origin games from 2018 onwards will be sold by the ARL Commission to states willing to pay a hire price, which State Major Events Minister Kate Jones said earlier this year would be considered by the Palaszczuk Government.a
Suncorp Stadium’s relatively high yield for major events hirers is a plus for Queensland in these talks. Betros says Suncorp Stadium is certain to host at least one Origin match a year from 2018.
“Our basis issues with Suncorp Stadium are the wi-fi and the replay screens,’’ Betros said. “The capacity (of 52,500) is where the game wants it to be. The new stadium in Sydney (in Moore Park) will be 55,000 seats and they reckon they can maximise their revenue and they will probably play grand finals there rather than ANZ Stadium.’’
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.
“Demand from potential hirers shows no sign of diminishing,’’ said Byrne, who said $55 million had been spent on improving Suncorp Stadium in the past decade.
“While the NSW Government has been grabbing headlines with its plans to invest heavily in new stadium infrastructure, it should be remembered that it is playing catch-up (on improving) venues have been neglected since the Olympics in 2000.
“In Queensland we will continue to strike a sensible balance between support for increased participation in grassroots sport and maintaining our elite sport stadiums through sensible investment of taxpayer funds.’’
“These were not upgraded when the stadium was redeveloped for 2003,’’ Graham said.
One of the strategies for hirers in wanting wi-fi is it would allow them to engage patrons on their smart phones, providing promotional and upgrade offers when they attend games.
“It’s about the integration of the connectivity with your digital enhancements,’’ Graham said.
“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.’’