The NRL has rejected the suggestion a new stadium in Canberra needs to be a multi-purpose venue capable of hosting rectangular and oval sports, adamant it would "diminish the viewer experience" after it was raised at a Senate inquiry.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants to refurbish Canberra Stadium in partnership with the Australian Sports Commission, while the NRL, Super Rugby and the A-League want a new venue in Civic.
Inquiry deputy chair Nola Marino raised the prospect of building a super stadium for rugby league, rugby union, soccer, cricket and AFL to ensure maximum use given the significant public investment.
"Other sports would need a different surface ... we've got Manuka that's being used for cricket and other things," Marino said.
"In the future there may be demand for a multi-purpose facility that can actually handle whatever is needed so that you maximise the cost and the facilities themselves so you're using the facility as many months and days of the week as you can."
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A multi-sport venue was proposed as an option in the ACT government's initial stadium design revamp in 2009, and has been floated in subsequent discussions.
But while Manuka Oval needs major upgrades, the all-in-one design has never seriously been on the table because of the impact on fans.
"The multi-purpose piece ... our view is that [a stadium] should be purpose-built for the sport that is most frequently played at that venue," Boland-Rudder said.
"There are a few reasons for that. When you build a stadium, there's what they call a 'c value' attached to seats ... the most simple way is for rugby league, rugby union and soccer you're going to enhance the fan experience by having a rectangular stadium.
"There are 12 Raiders games, eight Brumbies games and [potentially 14 A-League games], that's 30 pieces of content. From a turf perspective, that's a sweet spot so you don't overuse the turf.
"If you play rectangular sports in ovals, can it work? Yes it can. But what it does do is diminish the viewer experience because you're much further away from the action.
"The key feedback we get is that the fan wants to be as close to the action as possible."
Barr has been talking with the sports commission - owners of the existing stadium - about a long-term plan for the AIS site at Bruce, which includes the stadium and arena. It is hoped the parties will agree to a deal this year.
Barr ruled out the Civic pool site as a new stadium location last year, while Exhibition Park and Commonwealth Park have been floated as potential alternative options.
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