A $208 million redevelopment of UTAS Stadium could help bring an AFL team and national and international soccer within Tasmania's reach.
The Launceston council will today release draft plans for an upgrade that would deliver much-needed boosts for football, soccer, basketball, netball and cricket.
The proposal includes:
- $109 million to boost the stadium's seating capacity to 24,112;
- redevelopments to the northern and eastern stands, with a retractable bottom tier allowing for a rectangular field;
- a $99 million sport and entertainment facility that forms part of the stadium's southern stand redevelopment;
- a facility to cater for three basketball/netball courts that can be transformed into a 5000-seat showcourt for marquee games;
- and training/ recovery/ team education rooms.
The proposal, which would need state and federal government backing to go ahead, comes at a critical time for Tasmanian sport.
Fresh from securing its own NBL outfit, the state is pushing hard to win AFL and A-League licences.
Tasmania's ongoing campaign for a standalone AFL side gained significant momentum with the release of the Tasmanian AFL taskforce's business plan in February 2020, but was almost immediately derailed by COVID-19.
The council's proposed development would bring the stadium well within reach of the 27,500-seated capacity figure recommended by the taskforce.
The ability to cater for a rectangular field would also greatly benefit Tasmania's bid for an A-League team and, if completed by 2023, Women's World Cup hosting rights.
Launceston is among 12 cities bidding to host matches.
MORE SPORT: Griffith the right man for Hurricanes job
The new sports and entertainment facility, meanwhile, will provide much-needed relief for high-level and community basketball, netball and futsal, which battle for court time between Elphin Sports Centre, the Silverdome and the YMCA.
Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said the upgrade would have an "immense" long-term impact on the state.
"The expansion of the stadium will allow the city to become the sporting events capital of Tasmania," he said.
MORE TO COME