Massive $1.6 billion sporting infrastructure package to chance sporting landscape in NSW

30 December 2016

THE $1.6 billion overhaul of Sydney’s major sports stadiums could be the catalyst to attracting some of the world’s most popular sports to the Harbour City.

American football and major league baseball games and English Premier League soccer will be targeted, plus more US college football.

Sydney will also bid against Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia to host the 2020 T20 cricket World Cup.

The state government said yesterday it will use the clout of the city’s revamped sporting stadiums to win big events.

Events Minister Stuart Ayres concedes the city did not do enough in the wake of the 2000 Olympics to prevent interstate rivals overtaking NSW in terms of major sports and events.

“I definitely think we rested on our laurels, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“We thought we’d done what we needed to do, we invested in everything we needed to invest in and we dusted our hands and said: ‘Everything will just look after itself for the next 20 years.’ Well, in that time, all of our competitor cities rebuilt their sporting infrastructure.”

He hopes the decision to upgrade and refurbish ANZ Stadium and Allianz and the construction of a new stadium at Parramatta will enable Sydney to be better placed to take on major cities around the world.

“Now we’re competing against cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, even Shanghai,” he said.

SCG Trust chair Tony Shepherd said he believed everyone was now “rowing in the same direction” while acknowledging the city had to endure a “fairly torturous period” to get there.

“We’ve got two levels of competition running,” he said. “We’ve got very strong domestic competition for major national and international events.”

ANZ Stadium chairwoman Christine McLoughlin said it will be “fantastic for NSW to become a world-class destination for international events”.