The UTAS Stadium in Tasmania, Australia, could be in line for an A$208 million revamp under plans being considered by the City of Launceston.
A draft Future Directions Plan contains a number of proposals that would see the most significant expansion of Launceston’s sporting infrastructure since the 1960s.
The renovations would see the stadium’s seating capacity increase to 27,500, the construction of a high-performance sports centre, as well as the development of an adjoining 5,000-seat, multi-use indoor sports facility capable of hosting national-level sporting competitions and events.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the Draft Future Directions Plan responded to a shortfall in the quantity and quality of indoor sporting venues and associated infrastructure in Launceston. He said:
This proposal seeks to bolster UTAS Stadium’s role as Tasmania’s premier sporting facility. Since its inception, UTAS Stadium has been a key economic engine driver in our city. The sporting events it hosts each year spark regional economic activity through visitors staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and spending money in our CBD shops.
In 2019 alone, major events at the Stadium attracted more than 83,000 people — including 63,400 for AFL, and almost 22,000 for Big Bash matches – all of which represented a net economic benefit of more than A$30 million to the Northern Tasmanian economy.
Mayor van Zetten said the Future Directions Plan sought to leverage future opportunities for the stadium. He added:
This plan aims to meet growing community needs and expectations in terms of contemporary sporting infrastructure, as well as to cater to the needs of a future AFL team.
A 2019 report commissioned by the State Government – AFL Licence Taskforce Business Plan 2019 – outlined that any Tasmanian AFL will require access to a high-performance facility and an AFL standard stadium capable of hosting 27,500 patrons.
The Taskforce recommended the redevelopment of UTAS Stadium as the initial primary football venue in the State – but went on to state that the stadium will need to undertake upgrades to provide additional seating capacity.