Capacity to rise to 46000 September 24, 2004

Sydney Cricket Ground lines up new stand

Wisden Cricinfo staff

The Sydney Cricket Ground will undergo a an A$52million facelift next year, when a new 7000-seater covered stand is constructed on the ground's "hill" area, to replace the 4500 outdoor seats that currently occupy that part of the ground.

The move comes as part of the SCG's ongoing battle to secure its future as an international venue, following the decision by NSW Cricket to issue its first-ever tender for cricket rights, for either five, seven or ten years. Sydney's Telstra Stadium, which has a much greater capacity, has also entered the running, although this latest development will enable the SCG to accommodate 46,000 spectators.

"The SCG is a purpose-built cricket ground," Jamie Barclay, the SCG Trust chief executive, told The Australian newspaper. "The grandstand plugs the final hole and completes the concourse around the ground, and it will increase seating capacity to where it should be. We are not looking to increase capacity, we are just interested in increasing the quality of the experience.

"Building will commence some time in 2005," said Barclay, adding that the Trust had yet to discuss how best to finance the project, although they were in final negotiations with a preferred construction partner. "We have spent $180million over the past ten years, including $46million on facilities for cricket."

Meanwhile, NSW Cricket has granted the status of "preferred tenderer" to both the SCG and the Telstra Stadium, and will negotiate with them over the next four weeks.