There’s been a lot of press recently covering the fate of the Brisbane Lions, and something of a stoush seems to have kicked off among the stakeholders, none of which seems very keen to pay for a stadium upgrade at the Ekka, the preferred choice of venue while the Gabba is redeveloped.
What we in Ipswich are wondering is whether they’ve been adding something to the water over there!
There’s a readymade solution and it’s a lot cheaper than spending millions on the RNA’s stadium.
The AFL women already play at Brighton Homes Arena in Springfield. So how about the men’s Lions come here too? It should be possible to put in enough temporary seating to boost the capacity to more like the 20,000 the Lions would hope to draw. And it’s not as though the RNA’s stadium wouldn’t also need expanding.
We know the people of Springfield, and Ipswich more broadly, would flock to Brighton Homes Arena.
They’ve strongly supported the women’s team, which recently captured their premiership. And the boost to local businesses would be very welcome. Any visitor to the Gabba knows how rammed the nearest pubs get on game day and the Orion Hotel would love a slice of that.
The arena is handily placed, right next to the train station, so Brisbaneites should still be able to visit. But let’s face it: there’s no top-league national men’s team here in Ipswich and we’re sports mad. It would be great for the city to have the Lions here and great for the Lions to have the full-throated support of Ipswich sports fans.
With the Olympics upcoming, we hope the city can grab a slice of the cake. But that cake is being baked right now. Moving the Lions here while the Gabba is rebuilt would show South-East Queensland that the Olympics will benefit the whole area, not just central Brisbane.