Stage three of Dolphin Stadium is pretty much finished, but there’s one more element needed to push it onto the prime-time international stage.
The missing element? International broadcast-standard lights that will enable the stadium to host televised night games – hopefully for the Vodafone Warriors NRL side, the A-League’s Brisbane Roar and others.
Dolphins CEO Tony Murphy says the required upgrade would boost the current lighting to a level needed by television broadcasters.
“To achieve that, we’ll need bigger lights,” Mr Murphy explains.
The stadium will need four new 45m light poles for the lights and the entire project is expected to cost about $3 million.
Why this is important
“We’re negotiating with the Warriors about coming here next year because of COVID-19, they need an Australian base. With that, would come great opportunities,” he says.
If funding is secured, Mr Murphy says the lights could be installed by early next year in time for the A-League season which starts in January and the NRL in March.
Sunshine Coast Stadium has just had a similar lighting upgrade, at a cost of $2.7 million and has hosted two NRL premiership games this year and secured the 2020 Holden Women’s State of Origin game.
“We built the stadium with a plan to bring big games here. We don’t want to miss out on big night games, because our lights aren’t strong enough for TV coverage,” Mr Murphy says.
Benefits for the region
Showcasing the stadium, and therefore the region, to a big national and international TV audience will have enormous economic benefits.
Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Shane Newcombe says upgrading the lighting and attracting marquee events could inject $26 million into the region’s economy.
“In addition to the $26 million, there is the opportunity for associated competitions (A-League finals, FFA Cup, Asian Football Confederation Champions League, W-League) for Brisbane Roar, depending on qualification, to inject a further $10 million into the local economy,” Mr Newcombe says.
“There’s also the opportunity for venue recognition via broadcast games for the region based on television audience. Broadcast quality field lighting is essential to secure these major events to Dolphin Stadium.”
Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery is keen to see the Dolphins secure a commitment towards stadium lighting upgrades.
“I can’t wait to hear the roar of the crowd under the Friday night lights right here in Moreton Bay,” Mayor Flannery says.
“Dolphin Stadium is expected to pump millions to the local economy, and its completion couldn’t come at a better time to help us bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19.
“We’re so close to the try line, the lighting upgrades will be the final touch to the world-class sporting facility. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen, but rather when, for the stadium to stand a chance in hosting a future A-League and NRL match, or even the 2023 Women’s World Football World Cup.
“More than $21.4 million has been invested into upgrading this facility so it could do just that - attract and host major sporting events and bring in significant economic benefits to the region.”
Brisbane Roar CEO David Pourre is also backing the call.
“Brisbane Roar FC is very supportive of an immediate light upgrade to Dolphin Stadium,” he says.
“This will support further opportunities for our BRFC Women’s team to play 'prime time' night games as well as the A-League team at Dolphin Stadium.”
What are the next steps?
Mr Murphy says he’s hoping the State Government will fund the lighting upgrade.
He says the upgrade would attract more teams, supporters and spectators to the region. This would help the local tourism and hospitality sector looking for boost as they try to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown and border closures.
“These people have to stay somewhere and they stay for a couple of days. It’s outside money coming in,” Mr Murphy says.
It would also help the club in its bid for an NRL licence when the opportunity arises.
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