SA Budget Time – What does the future look like for sport in South Australia?

The South Australia State Budget is just a few weeks away and it is time for an infrastructure spend. Having missed out on getting much from the Federal Budget earlier this month, it is time the State Government was bold and laid some big plans on the table ahead of the March 2018 Election.

Sport has always been a big part of South Australia. Look what the Adelaide Oval has done as a drawcard and for cricket and football in this state. South Australia cannot afford to be satisfied though and must quickly keep moving onto the next project. Perth’s new state of the art stadium will draw eyes and dollars away from Adelaide when that opens early next year. Adelaide cannot afford to be complacent.

As such, there are plenty of future sporting projects that could help increase Adelaide and South Australia as a tourist destination and create those all so important jobs that are so desperately needed.

Here are five sporting spends South Australia needs in order to stay front and centre on the sporting landscape over the next decade –

Commonwealth Games bid
Victoria are keen. Although do not believe all that you read about the regional cities bid. From all reports a regional Victorian cities bid has not even reached the discussion stage, despite a massive Herald Sun spread a few weeks ago. North Queensland are also attempting to put up their hands with locations such as Cairns and Townsville potentially to be offered up. If Adelaide could get serious about this, a bid would be the best thing for the state. Sure, it would be a huge spend, but also a pretty good investment for the future on aspects such as infrastructure as well as tourism. A Commonwealth Games bid puts Adelaide on the map and will have positive flow on impacts for years afterwards, if done correctly. The Adelaide Oval provides a world-class base and upgrades to several other sporting venues and transport options would help those sports and the state for decades to come.

UCI Road World Championships
There has been some talk around this and it is time Adelaide tried to make itself the one and true home of cycling in Australia. That mantle you feel is with Victoria currently, but could be poached with the right ideas and ambitions. This begins with getting the UCI Road World Championships to this state. It would bring the best of the best from the world of cycling to South Australia and attract people from all over the globe to come and watch, spend money and promote the state. South Australia can host a decent cycling event. There are plenty of runs on the board with the Tour Down Under to prove that. Additionally, there are an endless amount of route possibilities and furthermore this event would be a another big tourism drawcard with images of South Australia to be beamed around the world.

New multi-purpose City stadium
This has to happen. Netball, basketball and tennis are screaming out for improved facilities. Adelaide is now the only major city in Australia incapable of hosting major international tennis and this has to change. A new stadium in a central city location is a no-brainer. It ticks so many boxes and will help confirm the future of netball, basketball and tennis, which at the present time do not get the attention they deserve in this state. Netball is keen to move to a bigger venue, moving several of its home games to Titanium Security Arena (TSA) this season. TSA is a run down venue itself and needs to be put into retirement. A new multi-purpose, prestigious venue would also be a big plus for a Commonwealth Games bid.

Upgrade to suburban grounds
The future of the SANFL is most likely to look like an eight team competition with no Adelaide or Port Adelaide, played in conjunction with a women’s competition, also featuring eight teams. It is with this in mind that every ground must have its facilities brought up to scratch to include change rooms for girls and improved lighting and protection from the elements for fans. Some of this has already happened, but Prospect, Noarlunga, Richmond, Elizabeth, Glenelg, Woodville, Unley and Norwood Oval’s must all be brought up to a solid standard. This is not only for sporting purposes, but also for community purposes, who could use the grounds or function rooms for all sorts of activities and help the clubs remain viable going forward.

Adelaide 500 grandstand
Something is not right when arguably best race after Bathurst on the Supercars circuit gets such negative publicity every year. Road closures, the cost to put up and take down a grandstand, the noise. I could go on. The Adelaide 500 has been on the nose over the last couple of years and could use some forward thinking to ensure it can be as loved by locals as it is by the rest of the motorsport community. Adelaide has a notion of a lot of ideas with very little follow through. Bite the bullet and build a permanent grandstand. With a bit of luck, it will only have to be built the once! Then build on the event year after year. Keep it fresh and keep it moving. It has become stale.

A big spend on sport also encourages more people to get out there and play a recreational activity. With better infrastructure comes increased opportunity to get out there and play, which can only be a good thing for the South Australian health system. Better suburban grounds will mean they can be leased out for school sports days and the like, plus host more than just SANFL games. Ambitious bids for the Commonwealth Games and UCI events helps keep South Australia on the world stage and ensure the tourism spend is here to stay. Think big South Australia, we cannot afford not to.

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