The ACT government will spend $200,000 to determine the best location to build a new stadium as it weighs up a $400 million investment in Civic or at Exhibition Park.
The government will announce the funding in the mid-year budget review next week, Chief Minister Andrew Barr hoping the feasibility study will give clarity to a 10-year process.
The report will recommend the most viable location and is expected to be handed to government officials in June or July.
The site of the Civic pool is still the preferred location, but concerns about the cost or realigning Parkes Way and the orientation of the rectangular venue led to Exhibition Park emerging as another option.
The new study will assess both sites on "technical and planning characteristics, including urban context, security, site fit, orientation, and traffic and transportation considerations".
Building a stadium at Exhibition Park, which is connected to the city via the light-rail network, or redeveloping the existing Canberra Stadium site are considered "fallback options".
The government's move has been welcomed by Canberra Stadium's tenants, the Canberra Raiders and ACT Brumbies, who are both desperate to have a new venue built.
"Everybody knows the beating heart of the city is where a lot of the great sporting stadiums are now. It'd be fantastic for us," said Raiders boss Don Furner.
"We're going to be moving into the city in a month so to have that just around the corner from our new facility would just be amazing."
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Brumbies chief executive Phil Thomson added: "I think a new stadium in Civic would be great, it's the ideal location.
"We've had a lot of talk in relation to it, I think this is the first step in the right direction and hopefully a decision can be made in the near future."
Canberra Stadium, which is owned by federal government agency Sport Australia, is nearing the end of its 50-year lifespan. But uncertainty about the AIS precinct and a potential downsize of facilities has been cited as a major delay in the ACT's plans.
Barr said the "ageing Canberra Stadium" would require Sport Australia to fund significant upgrades if it was to continue as the premier venue in the capital.
The ACT government pays $350,000 per year to rent and maintain Canberra Stadium for the Raiders, Brumbies and other events.
Boxing promoter Dean Lonergan is also considering using the stadium as a venue for the Jeff Horn-Tom Tszyu fight in April.
"[Feasibility] work will include site analysis and investigation, procuring technical architectural and engineering advice, and engaging a quantity surveyor to assist in determining the estimated costs of constructing a stadium on each site," Barr said.
"The outcomes of the work will allow government to make a final decision on whether Civic is a viable option or the fallback options of the existing Bruce precinct or EPIC should be progressed.
"Once this is determined, the next stage of the project will involve detailed design, site analysis and community consultation."