Never mind the Olympics, Gabba may soon be too out of shape to even host the cricket

Other capital cities have stadiums “well ahead” of Brisbane, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley says, as the future of the Gabba remains in limbo.

Mar 27, 2024, updated Mar 27, 2024
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

The Gabba, which will reach the end of its “useful life” by 2030, has lost its traditional first Test of the summer to Perth.

A new – albeit controversial – stadium is planned in Hobart as Tasmania prepares to enter the AFL in 2028, and CA could be tempted to bump Brisbane off the Test schedule altogether if a state-of-the-art venue is built in the Apple Isle’s capital.

Hockley insists Queensland sports fans deserve a long-term solution, after the state’s government rejected a proposal to rebuild the Gabba, as well as an alternative plan for a new stadium to host the 2032 Olympics.

“We’ve talked about the Perth Test; we’ve seen how having a city-centre, state-of-the-art stadium can be the catalyst for sport, but (also) more major events,” Hockley said at the MCG on Wednesday.

“The reality is the other major metros, now Tasmania with the prospect of a new stadium there, are well ahead in terms of the fan experience, the provision for players, just the ease of operation

“We want to make sure, as best we can, that there’s a really fantastic solution for the long term for Queenslanders.”

Hockley had a long-term role in planning the 2012 London Olympics

“The Gabba is an iconic ground – there’s not a bad seat in the house,” he said.

“We want to be a really constructive partner with the Queensland government; having worked on the London Olympics, you don’t get many opportunities for real transformational change and a catalyst to invest.”

Australia will host India at the Gabba for the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar series from December 14-18.

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The most-recent Test at the Brisbane stadium was the weakened West Indies’ memorable upset of Australia in January.

CA on Wednesday announced the schedule for the 2024-25 season, with Australia’s women’s team to play a four-day Test at the MCG for the first time since 1949.

Officials have not put a crowd target on the Ashes Test, although four years of marketing and a Katy Perry appearance prompted 86,174 fans to attend the 2020 women’s Twenty20 World Cup final at the ground.

“We’ve seen across all the sports that the very best female players deserve to play on the biggest stage – and there’s no bigger stage than (the MCG),” Hockley said.

“The Australian women’s cricket team is one of the most successful sporting teams of all time in any sport.

“We anticipate a fantastic four days and we just encourage everyone to come down.”

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