Australian news May 2, 2011

Adelaide Oval upgrade gets green light from members

ESPNcricinfo staff

The picturesque Adelaide Oval will become a 50,000-seat stadium with drop-in pitches after South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) members approved a major upgrade to the venue. The proposal needed at least 75% support to go ahead, and at a meeting on Monday night, 80% of votes from SACA members approved the redevelopment.

The decision means Australian rules football will return to Adelaide Oval, and the SACA will share the venue with the AFL's two Adelaide-based clubs. The upgrade sparked heated debate among South Australians, some of whom felt the ground would lose its character if the move went ahead, but it had the unanimous support of the SACA board.

"This decision heralds a new era for cricket and football in South Australia with benefits over the coming decades for the State as a whole", the SACA president Ian McLachlan said of the upgrade, which will cost the the state government more than half a billion dollars. "It is the result of years of negotiations and detailed work by many people and the vision of the State Government to fund this important improvement in South Australia's infrastructure."

The move does not put the Adelaide Test at risk, and while most Sheffield Shield matches will still be held at the venue, there is the chance of the occasional state game being moved to the beachside suburb of Glenelg. Drop-in pitches will need to be used at Adelaide Oval from 2014, when the Adelaide and Port Adelaide AFL clubs start playing there.

More than 2000 of the SACA's 19,500 members attended Monday's meeting, while a further 8000 had already lodged a proxy vote. The SACA's $85 million debt will be cleared as part of the proposal.

McLachlan described the financial benefits for the SACA, which has lagged behind the on-field performances of other state associations for some years, and the wider windfall for the state.

"SACA's stronger finances and debt-free position will mean millions of extra dollars a year available to be invested in developing cricket all around the State from junior level to the Sheffield Shield," he said. "Adelaide will have the most modern sporting venue in the country with world-class facilities in the best location in any capital city.

"The redeveloped Oval will draw large crowds to the city on a regular basis throughout the year, creating opportunities for hotels, restaurants, bars and shops in the CBD and encouraging increased visitation from interstate. It will enable Adelaide to complete more effectively with other interstate and international venues to attract major events, whether sporting or cultural such as concerts."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • katandthat3 on May 5, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    The most disappointing thing for me is that the SACA can't guarantee that they'll play all their Shield games there but maybe at Glenelg. I'm sure most of the players would want to play at Adelaide instead of a regular first grade ground and I guess it takes a further advantage of Aussie players getting to play on their home wickets, they'll have no more idea than a touring country. AFL players have to suck it up if they find cricket pitches or grounds too hard - use your cash to build or renovate cricket free ovals. They better not use drop ins for the Gabba or WACA in my lifetime. I know we have to modernise grounds but the Gabba and even the SCG had more of an open charm before and it's nice to have some view of around or the surrounds instead of another cavenous grandstand. That's part of the appeal of cricket is the different characteristics of both the ground itself and the pitches - I think we're losing that. Yes I'm a sentimentalist!

  • dummy4fb on May 4, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Lets be honest, the only reasons why this was necessary was to clear SACAs debt and lure AFL to Adelaide Oval, with a 50,000 set stadium.The AFL won't need a 50,000 seat stadium come 2014. It already has a 50,000+ stadium that it can't fill, and with live telecasts on Foxtel, who will pay an $400 a year to watch footy out in the cold when they can do so in the comfort of their own homes? Meanwhile the states taxpayers are are left with the legacy of more than half a billion in debt. Plain stupid if you ask me.

  • Meety on May 3, 2011, 23:52 GMT

    @redneck - I dabble a bit in the construction industry & I can say that even if the $85m debt reduction is included in the $525m redevelopment cost, that is above the outer parameters I would expect for a 50,000 seat stadium. Anyways its clear that the majority of Sth Ozzys got what they wanted so I'll shut up now!

  • sammykent on May 3, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    What a disaster. I went to the Adelaide Oval for the first time to watche the Ashes Test. I was so impressed by the family friendly nature of the venue, the community feel and the grassy sections. It reminded me of watching cricket as a kid in Wellington and when I heard about the planned redevelopment I was shocked that anyone would want to convert it into another stadium totally devoid of character and ambience. Sadly I feel the only thing I can do is vote with my feet and never go back. I will watch cricket on TV instead. My message for SACA: You should all be honest with yourselves and resign. Please just look in the mirror and admit you have failed cricket and you have failed your community. The 20% of the board that voted against the proposal, I applaud you.

  • longrun on May 3, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    agreed redneck with all your points. i just hope they make sure the roof of the stands is the same red that i have come to know and love at adelaide oval, because all the plans i've seen have had it being white. if they're red the ground should be better as one stand similar height all the way from north west light to north east light tower - leaving the hill fig trees and scoreboard and view of the cathedral from all seat (perhaps bar a few in top of stand on east side). Now we gotta give the hospital behind the cathedral a facelift cas it's a 70's eye sore that ruins the post card that is adeliade oval - i think it will remain a post card. i agree with all comments about pitches losing life and character being bad for cricket - hope they know what they're doing here

  • zingzangspillip on May 3, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    I'm a member at Adelaide Oval, and I voted no. The real problem here is not the supposed destruction of the oval's atmosphere, but the profligacy of our state government. The country town of Keith is about to have its public hospital closed down, our mental health system is a shambles and we already have a 50,000 seat stadium only 20 minutes away from the city centre. This development is designed to fill the already-full pockets of the AFL, pure and simple. There is no motivation for anyone to do this except greed.

  • redneck on May 3, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    when this is finished by 2014 adelaide will be the 2nd biggest cricket ground (capacity) in the country. look out sydney we're coming after your 2015 world cup semi final! the hill, scoreboard and fig trees which are the only thing left from the bradman days are being kept. no reason the ground cant still be the iconic ground it is now!!! great day to be a south australian! and the drop in pitch might not be as bad as the mcg as it will still get more sunlight than that collosium in melbourne @ Meety the cost is so its done properly not just slapped together to save some cash. @Woody111 as another port supporter i cant see how it will make things worse? the grounds more central to people north, south and east of adelaide. its like when the docklands opened in melbourne, crowds were up substantially from what they got at the old waverly park.

  • straight_drive4 on May 3, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @ del - i prefer to ignore any ICC rankings regarding pitches as their idea of a "good pitch" is one that is lifeless. i know that adelaide is a batsmans paradise anyway but thats not the point - the point is that IF they keep approving drop in pitches in every ground around the country and eventually around the world, cricket will become extremely boring and one dimentional and we will certainly see the death of cricket. melbourne and adelaide now have drop in pitches, next will probably be sydney and the waca then we wont have any spinning wickets or fast wickets in the country. one of the main reasons australia has been really strong in all parts of the world for a very long time is because we have a different type of wicket in each state and therefore are accustomed to all conditions - this will most certainly disappear once all grounds revert to drop in pitches. i should have explained myself better and said that they are all the same instead of they are terrible

  • Meety on May 3, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    @ del_ - I agree with Straight Drive. I couldn't give a rats preverbial what the ICC ranks the pitches as. The clear fact is that the MCG has the most charactorless pitch in Oz, it was always pretty worn prior to drop ins, but very average since. The Adelaide Pitch WILL lose its charactor & that SHOULD sadden cricket fans. In the end of the day we live in a democracy & the people with voting rights have made their decision. All pitches eventually get relaid. I beleive that can some take 30 or 40 yrs to happen. The SCG was re-laid about 10yr ago as it had become almost sub-continental in low slow bounce. It is now one of the faster pitches in Oz. The WACA was re-laid & is slowly getting its ferocious reputation back - fact is it takes time which drop ins do not allow.

  • Woody111 on May 3, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    In a way we can only trust that SACA will continue to do what it thinks is in the best interest of cricket in this state. One could argue that this resulted in losing Ryan Harris and Cosgrove I suppose. The redevelopment was about sport in the state generally; not cricket or football exclusively. Members such as myself may bemoan the change in 'look' and 'feel' of the place but to be honest I can't wait til the Bradman Stand is brought down. We've been promised more general admission seats which I think is positive (try getting a seat on bottom priced gen ad tickets during the test match) and the stands will be more consistent. The issue I have is the desire to make the whle area a 'precinct' - Adelaide Oval will always be a sports or event venue; not a 'hub' for shopping, dining etc. I hope the state govt has no illusions as to what it will get out of the place. As a Port Adel fan I get annoyed by suggestions this will fix our financial position. It will not.

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