THE Brisbane Lions will kickstart a new era this October, moving from their current home to a high-performance hub in Springfield.
The Springfield site will feature an indoor training field, gym, pools, learning facilities, auditorium and more, and is the biggest infrastructure investment from an AFL club ever.
The $80 million construction of Brighton Homes Arena will include a 10,000-seat Michael Voss Oval, a 50-metre indoor training field, gymnasium, aquatic recovery pools, high-tech learning and teaching facilities, auditorium, and administration offices.
The project was made possible by a $20 million contribution from Ipswich City Council, $18 million from the Queensland Government and $15 million from the Australian Government, as well as matching investments from the Brisbane Lions and the AFL.
The Lions Women’s team will compete for premiership points at the new facility; however, the men’s premiership games will remain at the Gabba.
Other fixtures at the new facility will include men’s preseason matches, academy matches and community engagement events.
Lions chair Andrew Wellington thanked sponsor Brighton Homes, Ipswich City Council, and the Queensland and Australian Governments for their strong support of the Brisbane Lions and AFL in Queensland.
“Thanks to our funding partners we’ve reached a significant milestone in delivery of what will be a wonderful community asset,’’ Mr Wellington said.
Mr Wellington was particularly excited about the prospect of a dedicated home ground for the Lions AFLW side.
“For our premiership winning AFLW players to finally have a dedicated home ground and training base they can call their own is fantastic,” he said.
SETTING A BENCHMARK
“We think this will be a benchmark not just in Australian Rules Football, but across female professional sport full stop.
“For those that have been involved in AFLW since it started, there’s a real mix of facilities for women as they travel around the country, and they are elite athletes.
“Athletes want to be in an environment where you’re giving them the best chance to be successful, so when we can create this environment out here, it’s a great attribute to retain players and attract new players hopefully.
“To have the one home for all our players, coaches, support, and administration staff will be a huge boost for the Club.
“We have been talking about it and planning for it for a long time, but to see construction commence makes it very real and is very exciting.
“We’re also proud of the role Brighton Homes Arena will play in promoting and supporting the growth in our sport throughout the Ipswich Region.”
HOME VENUE CHANCE
The new facility could also become the club’s best option for a home venue when the Gabba is knocked down and redeveloped for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.
At this stage, the new arena will only cater for up to 10,000 fans but the Lions do have approval to build or add additional temporary seating to fit up to 25,000 people.
“We haven’t ruled out that it could host home-and-away games, that’s certainly a possibility,” Mr Wellington said.
Completion of the project is scheduled for September 2022.