NRL boss Todd Greenberg said he will advocate for a new city stadium in the nation’s capital as the Canberra Raiders earmark a new stadium as their next major project.
Greenberg, who was in Canberra this weekend as part of his nation-wide tour of all 16 NRL clubs, stopped at the construction site of the Raiders’ Centre of Excellence to check on the progress of the Raiders’ new HQ in the heart of the city.
Though the ACT Government and Chief Minister Andrew Barr has been adamant that a new theatre centre will be built before the government pledges money to a new stadium, the Raiders have been strong advocates of a new stadium being built close-by to their new Braddon headquarters.
When asked about his thoughts on a new stadium in the city, Greenberg pointed to the 30,000 fans that packed out Bankwest Stadium for the opening game between the Eels and Wests Tigers last month as a sign of what a new stadium could bring to the nation’s capital.
“I am as keen as the Raiders are to see a stadium here in the city of Canberra,” Greenberg told reporters on Friday afternoon (24 May). “We have had great success with NSW Government and we have opened Bankwest Stadium and Allianz stadium will be redeveloped in the next couple of years.
“Next year we will open the season in Townsville with a brand new stadium for the Cowboys. We are in talks in New Zealand about stadiums for the Warriors and it is equally as important talking to Government here about the opportunities for the Raiders.
“Nothing would please me more than to see a rectangular stadium for Raiders fans here in Canberra. That is the subject that I have spoken about before and I will continue to advocate for the Raiders. It would be a great outcome.”
Greenberg said the opening of a modernised stadium in the ACT would not only be a boost to the Raiders and other sports teams that use it but also to the local economy. While he said the NRL will not commit money to the proposed stadium, he said there were a number of different ways they could support Canberra’s bid.
“As an example in Townsville, that was a $250 Government injection from Federal and state and our commitment to that was that a certain number of events would be played there,” he said.
“You will see Allstars played up there at some point as well as a Kangaroos and Jillaroos test match. These are the sort of events that bring enormous economic impact to Government. Last week we played Magic Round in Brisbane which created more than $20 million of economic impact.
“With new stadiums comes new content, which means new economic impact. This is why we are playing State of Origin in Perth this year. There will be 25,000 people travelling interstate to Perth and you can imagine what that would do to the local economy.
“That is why we are playing State of Origin game in Adelaide next season for the same reason.”