A new project in Brisbane could attract up to $2.5 billion in real Gross Regional Product over 2026-2048, and $90 million in investment every year.
Live music fans are going to be spoiled for choice with no less than six new stadiums in the planning or proposed stage around the country to host concerts, entertainment and sports events.
At the same time, existing stadiums are also applying to hold more concerts a year.
This would mean more A-list international acts will have venues to play as the volume of tours amps up.
The City of Gold Coast is looking at the possibility of an indoor stadium with 10,000—12,000 seats at a cost of $750 million.
Its officers put forward a confidential report that music and sports promoters see the need for a venue that is between the 27,690-seat Cbus Stadium and the 6,000-capacity Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC).
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The report stated: “The music promoters say that the Gold Coast is not a threat to Brisbane as artists will do shows in both cities.
“It’s easy for them since they are only up the road.”
Brisbane-based venue operator ASM Global Asia Pacific executive chairman and CEO Harvey Lister flags another option.
He argues that doubling the size of GCCEC, including a 12,000-seat indoor arena, would be half the cost.
It would be a perfect spot as it would be in the GC’s “global event hub” alongside dining, entertainment, public transport and hospitality spots making it “an absolute no-brainer.”
Things are moving forward for the long-awaited $2.5 billion Brisbane Live precinct and the 18,000–seat Brisbane Arena proposal above the new underground Roma Street station.
The state government has begun holding discussions with stakeholders, including unions, builders and potential venue operators to come up with a realistic design and completion date.
Who gets to run the arena is hotly contested, as the state-of-the-art arena is designed to be the state’s entertainment mecca, for “generations of Queenslanders”, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The project comes with big numbers: It could attract up to $2.5 billion in real Gross Regional Product over 2026-2048, and $90 million in investment every year.
The two major bidders are ASM Global and a consortium led by Live Nation Australia, US entertainment business Oak View Group and Australian infrastructure investment specialist Plenary.
According to the Australian Financial Review, both sides have hired politically connected lobbyists to hammer home their cases.
It reported politicians from both sides were being given free goodwill concert tickets – quite legally – for shows by Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, The Wiggles, Elton John and The Killers.
The word is that two other companies are expected to join the bidding.
Brisbane Live Arena was ASM Global’s Harvey Lister’s brainchild in 2016.
His original plan had a 4,000-capacity rock club, an amphitheatre for 15,000, and a sliding front wall that opened to reveal acts on stage.
Last November the state government green-lighted Suncorp Stadium to double the number of concerts in 2023 and 2024 from six to 12.
Tourism and Sports Minister, Stirling Hinchcliffe stated at the time: “This is a temporary easing of the concert cap in response to extraordinary post-COVID demand for Suncorp Stadium dates by some of the world’s biggest music acts.
“These are high-quality events that will support the sustained recovery of our visitor economy from accommodation and hospitality to tourism operators.”
McDonald Jones Stadium has applied to up the annual number of non-sporting events such as concerts, carols and markets from five to 15.
The 30,000-seater hosted its first concert in 32 years in 2023 with Elton John in January.
It was a partnership between the City of Newcastle and stadium manager Venues NSW to ignite its tourism and nightlife through major events.
The two Elton shows drew 50,000 – of that, 11,000 from outside Newcastle, 2,000 from interstate, and 120 from outside Australia –and pumped $12 million into the local economy.
P!nk’s visit on February 13, 2024, is forecast to bring between $9 million and $12 million.
In May, Newcastle won NSW’s ‘Top Tourism Town’ award by Business NSW as a result.
“Attracting headline acts of this calibre is a testament to Newcastle's growth as a world-class event and cultural city and indicative of a thriving local economy,” declared Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.
Newcastle could also get a smaller 15,000-seat stadium next to McDonald Jones Stadium, a proposal by Cricket NSW.
In May, the NSW Government started moves to increase the cap of Sydney’s 42.500-seat Allianz Stadium from four concerts a year to 20.
Premier Chris Minns estimated it would open the doors for shows by Beyonce and Taylor Swift, and bring $40 million – $60 million new money per year to the state’s economy.
“We need to utilise our entertainment venues to their fullest potential and show to the rest of Australia and the world that NSW is now open for business,” he pointed out.
Under the plan, rehearsals and sound testing go until 10 pm (instead of 7 pm), the maximum length of concerts extends from five hours to 10, and the official Mardi Gras after-party is exempted from the 11 pm concert curfew.
Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson said the result would see Sydney included on global tour schedules, and “drive visitor economy activity including hospitality, accommodation and travel.”
The AFL’s planned $715 million 23,000-seat roofed stadium as part of the new Macquarie Point entertainment and sports precinct has 2028 as a deadline.
It is forecast to draw 587,000 punters a year (123,500 from outside Tasmania) with three “international-standard concerts” attracting 30,000 fans each.
There is also a push for Hobart’s MyState Bank Arena’s seating to expand from 4,800 to 6,000, as long as the $40 million costs are met.
In the run-up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games, the Sunshine Coast Council wants to expand seating for Sunshine Coast Stadium to 11,814 and an overall capacity of around 16,000.
This will inject $23.8 million into the local economy each year.
A new indoor arena with a 6,000 capacity will also be built next door to open by 2027.
A new 30,000-seat roofed rectangular entertainment and sports stadium for the national capital, with the tentative name of National Stadium.
This was part of a 36-page proposal sent to both the Federal and ACT governments by a consortium of business and sports associations.
They say that existing venues such as the indoor AIS Arena (5,000 seas) and Canberra Stadium in Bruce (25,000) have well and truly gone past their use-by date and are not worth upgrading.
The National Stadium will be part of a new City East Entertainment Precinct on Constitution Avenue that will include the 30,000 sqm National Convention Centre.