‘The Gabba’ set to glow in all its grandeur



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The Gabba upgrade Image: Stadium Queensland

The Gabba in Australia – the crowning glory in Queensland’s sporting history – is getting a fresh lease of life, with work underway on an upgrade to public, corporate and media facilities at the stadium.

The Brisbane Cricket Ground, commonly known as The Gabba, is a major sports stadium in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia.

The upgrade work will cost A$35m and will make the legendary venue even more futuristic and thus provide an once-in-a-lifetime experience to fans.

The reconfiguration works will add to The Gabba’s reputation as a venue that delivers excellent sporting contests and events, and will enhance The Gabba’s reputation to attract big names and big games to Queensland.

The reconditioning work includes enhancements to entries and ticketing areas, public concourses, food and beverage outlets, bar and entertainments spaces, improved signage and wayfinding, and upgraded media and corporate spaces.

The Managing Contractor, Watpac, was appointed in January 2020 and works began in March this year. The project is on course for completion by October 2020, ahead of the first match of the T20 World Cup. Project works are currently in the demolition phase, beginning with the knocking down of the eastern media zone, corporate suites and entry gates.

Stadiums Queensland is working in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Public Works to deliver the project, which has been designed by local Brisbane architecture firm Populous and construction will be delivered by Watpac who were also involved in The Gabba’s most significant redevelopment in the 90’s/00s, as well as the recent installation of the high-definition video screens.

The Gabba’s key hirers Brisbane Lions, Australian Football League (AFL), Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket have also provided detailed input into the project plans.

Stated Stadiums Queensland Chief Executive, Todd Harris, “The Gabba has a proud place in Queensland’s sporting and entertainment history, and these upgrades will ensure that reputation continues, and importantly keep people employed. Upgrades will improve the experience, with color-coded theming of entrances to make it easier to get around, simplified signage, a sensory room, adult change facility, new eateries and destination bars and historical features to highlight our proud history.”

The Gabba General Manager, Mark Zundans, said construction was on track, “Demolition works are well progressed and construction is well underway on the Eastern side of the grounds, with all works expected to be completed by October 2020. The project is supporting up to 70 full-time equivalent jobs and workers have been adhering to strict COVID-19 guidelines since construction began a few months ago.”

Zundans added, “Whether it’s footy or cricket, a concert or a community event, fans are at the heart of what we do, and the facilities on offer are a big part of their overall experience of attending an event. We appreciate the Queensland Government’s commitment to this project, and we can’t wait for our fans to return and have some truly amazing experiences at our events at The Gabba once the upgrade is complete.”

Australian rules football club Brisbane Lions head honcho, Greg Swann, said the team was all agog about the enhanced match day experience that members and fans would get to experience as a result of the reconfiguration work, “The Gabba is already one of the best grounds in the country for viewing and atmosphere, and these upgrades ensure it remains in that top tier of stadiums in the country.”

Pleased as Punch Brisbane Lions Senior Coach, Chris Fagan, said members and fans would get to savor one of the best stadium experiences in the country whilst supporting the team, “The Gabba has been given many names by our fans across the years – The Gabbatoire, a Fortress – and it’s been a place our rivals have feared coming to play at and we’ve worked really hard in recent times to create that feeling once more for our rivals, and for our fans, and these upgrades will go a long way to solidifying that theme.”

Queensland Cricket boss Terry Svenson, said the refurbishment work would play a key role in helping to secure the best international and Big Bash League (BBL) games for its fans into the future, “The stadium’s wicket has no rival in this country, and these stadium upgrades will go a long way to ensuring the experiences fans have from their seats is just as good as the action they are watching on the field.”

Australian men’s professional Twenty20 franchise cricket team Brisbane Heat Captain, Chris Lynn, said the team was full of beans at the very idea of playing at the new and improved Gabba Stadium, “There is nothing like playing at the Gabba when it’s full, the noise from the crowd is as loud as anything I have played in front of around the world. The support we receive from our fans makes these upgrades all the more important. Hopefully, a better stadium experience will bring more fans into the ground and will help us keep growing cricket and the BBL.”

Brisbane Heat plays in the Big Bash League (BBL).

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