Rugby Union


New stadium could provide fans with deal of a lifetime

Canberra sporting fans could have a chance to buy a ''lifetime seat'' at a new undercover rectangular stadium to be built in Civic by the end of the decade.

Canberra's sporting community will get a glimpse of the future when the ACT Brumbies play the Otago Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday night.

The purpose-built venue with a clear roof is being considered by the ACT government as a model for the proposed new home for the Brumbies and Raiders in Canberra.

As part of the City to the Lake initiative, officials are planning a new rectangular stadium to be built on the site of the Civic pool. ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr is aiming for completion by 2020. It is still subject to approval, and government and private funding needs to be raised for the project, which is likely to cost more than $200 million.

And while still in the initial stages, Barr said fans could be given the opportunity to purchase a lifetime membership to the venue and sit in the same seat for every event.

''It might even come down to people buying their own seat for life in the venue, it's those business models we're looking at to see who's interested in buying a lifetime membership,'' Mr Barr said.


''We're looking to sell corporate boxes up front, have car parking underneath during the week and club stadium memberships. It's all part of the issues and planning to see how best to generate revenue.

''The thing to watch for [on Friday night] is the atmosphere … other people say a crowd of 10,000 or 15,000 is loud so it will be interesting to see how it comes across.''

Government officials toured the Forsyth Barr venue 12 months ago to see if the design would suit Canberra.

It has a clear polymer roof with moveable stands at each end of the ground and a semi-synthetic playing surface.

The stadium - which can hold more than 30,000 spectators - can be used for rugby union, rugby league, soccer, concerts, conferences and functions.

Having a roof at the new stadium is an attractive prospect to help the Brumbies and Raiders attract large crowds, even in Canberra's coldest months.

Mr Barr said the government would monitor Forsyth Barr Stadium and any deterioration before settling on a final design.

Officials have also toured AAMI Park in Melbourne to help them come up with the best boutique stadium design for the capital.

The Brumbies will get an up-close look when they run onto the Dunedin venue to take on the Highlanders. It's the first time the Brumbies have played at the ground after construction finished in time for New Zealand to host the 2011 rugby World Cup.

The Brumbies trained at the stadium on Thursday night.

The time frame of the new stadium is dependent on new work on Parkes Way and new swimming facilities in the city.