CEO Solly comments on Government stadia policy

There has been a great deal of public comment recently about the State Government’s stadia policy, and this is a great opportunity to confirm the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ position on the proposed investment and stadia improvements.

As current, anchor tenants of ANZ Stadium, our priority, and that of the NRL, has always been the delivery of a world class, rectangular, ANZ Stadium in the geographical centre of Sydney.

The proposed new stadium at Olympic Park will have dramatically steeper seating creating a spectacular in-stadium atmosphere. The redeveloped stadium will also feature state-of-the-art technology that will enable it to be a more intimate venue for Club games, but remain a wonderful venue for large events, such as the recent Ed Sheeran concerts.

This will ensure an exceptional experience for Members and fans at smaller, mid-sized or large events. We have always maintained that, aligned with the improvements to the transporting infrastructure to and from ANZ Stadium, the improvements to the stadium will deliver a fantastic facility, with great transport links in a lively precinct.

This investment will create a sporting, entertainment, cultural and retail hub at Sydney Olympic Park - helping to sustain the long-term future of the park and our Club. Since the initial announcement of funding for the redevelopment of Stadiums in Western Sydney (Parramatta and ANZ Stadium) in 2016, there has been bi-partisan political support for the prioritisation of a world class, rectangular, ANZ Stadium.

We therefore welcome the Government’s commitment to invest in stadium infrastructure to build great stadiums and create the best possible match day experience.Other state governments have invested heavily to deliver outstanding infrastructure to continue holding events in facilities that cater for the modern needs of Members and fans.

The NSW Government is right to invest now before the state falls behind its competition for major events, with the resulting damage to the economy.

More importantly, it will ensure the experience of our Members and fans is equal to, or better than, those attending events throughout the rest of the country.

Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly

A number of our Members attended the opening match at Optus Stadium in Perth and loved that experience. We now want to see ANZ Stadium upgraded to be a world class, state of the art, rectangular stadium in the geographical centre of Sydney. The Rabbitohs will also benefit from the Government’s facility investment through the funding contribution to our proposed new base at Heffron Park in Maroubra.

At the recent AGM, Members received an update on the development at Heffron Park. We intend to establish this Community and High Performance Centre as a facility which guarantees the future of this Club for at least the next 110 years. The Centre will:

  • help achieve long term financial sustainability for the Rabbitohs by creating new and increased revenue streams while also reducing costs;
  • enhance our ability to identify, support and develop elite pathways in Rugby League;
  • include a class room and lecture theatre to ensure Souths Cares’ programs facilitate significantly deeper engagement with the community by increasing the number of participants from 7,500 to 15,000 per annum; and
  • create over 90 full-time jobs.

The Centre will also become the most important tool in the recruitment, retention and improvement of Rabbitohs players. Some of our competitor clubs (Melbourne, Brisbane, Penrith, Gold Coast) have all moved to modern and world class facilities in the last few years.

There is no question that players now make decisions based upon the quality of club facilities, and Heffron Park will allow us to match any of our competitors. The heritage, culture and values of the Club will also be represented in the facility, ensuring we engage our Members and community, excelling in everything we do.

The Government’s investment in stadiums and the Community and High Performance Centre will absolutely benefit the wider community and result in increased participation in grass roots sport. It will also help us secure the future of the Club and deliver on our core purpose - to win Premierships for our Members and community.

We therefore encourage our Members to publicly support the investment to redevelop ANZ Stadium and create our new Community and High Performance Facility at Heffron Park.