Bob Dylan, Pink and Lady Gaga may have to find somewhere else to perform next time they come to Canberra as the AIS Arena considers a radical proposal to become a specialised volleyball venue.
Fairfax Media can reveal the capital is in danger of losing the AIS Arena as its premier music and sports indoor venue as part of a strategic overhaul by the Australian Sports Commission.
The transformation would see the AIS Arena scrap basketball, futsal, netball, concerts, exhibitions and gala dinners from its schedule to instead focus on being a volleyball high performance centre.
It is one of a handful of proposals to be considered by the commission board at the end of the year and could dramatically change the Canberra entertainment scene.
One option is for the AIS to continue operations as a venue for hire, while any decision to transform the 35-year-old Arena would likely be implemented until at least 2020 and involve a transition period to honour bookings for the next 12 months.
The commission is facing a pressure to reinvent its high-performance programs after Australia's lowest medal tally in 24 years at Rio Olympic Games earlier this year.
The scrutiny and criticism that the AIS has become an elite sports "ghost town" has prompted another review into operations with an expert panel set to decide the fate of the Arena.
It was hoped the AIS Arena would generate significant revenue by hosting a variety of events, but it's understood it has failed to deliver a major windfall for the commission.
The commission has informed the ACT government of discussions that would effectively see "The Palace", as it was known in the Canberra Cannons' NBL glory years, become a "Volleydome".
Losing the AIS Arena as a premier indoor venue could accelerate the government's plans to build a new convention centre in Civic and a 30,000 seat stadium with a roof, that would be capable of hosting concerts and indoor sports.
However, the City to the Lake project has been delayed by the light rail construction and the bill for the Mr Fluffy clean-up and is set to leave Canberra without a 5000-seat venue.
"The AIS has publicly stated it is performing a thorough analysis of its Canberra campus to ensure the world-class sporting facilities are maximised and are aligned with Australia's high performance strategy," an AIS spokesperson said.
"The Australian Sports Commission is considering the potential to re-purpose the AIS Arena and one of the options is for it to become a Centre of Excellence for Volleyball Australia.
"No decisions have been finalised on the future use of the AIS Arena. All decisions on the future use of the AIS campus will be made by the [commission] board."
Performing artists including Dylan, Stevie Wonder, INXS, John Farnham, Whitney Houston, Alice Cooper, Pink, Lady Gaga, Delta Goodrem and the Wiggles have used the venue for concerts in the capital.
The AIS Arena has also hosted Cirque du Soleil productions and major functions.
It has also been the stage for historic Canberra sporting moments, including the Cannons' NBL titles, Australian basketball great Lauren Jackson leading the AIS to their only WNBL title and the Canberra Capitals' triumphs.
But the commission copped heavy criticism from Australian Olympic officials for becoming a perceived "ghost town" because of the lack of high-level athletes at the Bruce campus since adopting the 'Winning Edge' strategy.
The criticism prompted the formation of an "expert panel" to investigate ways to reinvigorate the AIS with recommendations to be put to the commission board.
The commission adopted the 'Winning Edge' strategy after the 2012 Olympic Games and scrapped its campus-based scholarship program.
The AIS facilities have been available on a hiring basis and it was hoped the AIS Arena would generate significant revenue by attracting events, but it has failed to deliver a major windfall for the 35-year-old building.
It's understood if the volleyball proposal was successful, there would be a transition period where the AIS would honour bookings for a 12-month period before becoming Volleyball Australia's new home.
Volleyball Australia and the AIS agreed to join forces earlier this year, with the men's national team program based in Canberra and the women's team to follow in 2017.
The flow on effect would be Volleyball Australia basing camps in the capital and using the ACT government's $1 million beach volleyball courts in Lyneham.