The AFL is committed to ensuring the ongoing success of the Brisbane Lions will not be disrupted by changes to their home ground, as the Gabba undergoes a transformation in preparation for the 2032 Olympics. Although the Lions will continue to play at the Gabba for two more years, they will need to find a new home while the historic venue is revamped into Brisbane’s official Olympic Stadium.
There are a number of potential substitutes for the Lion’s home ground. The club’s Springfield base and the RNA Showgrounds appear to be the strongest contenders. Nevertheless, even after improvements, neither venue can rival the Gabba’s capacity of just over 36,000. This presents a unique challenge for the Lions, who may have to adapt to a maximum home crowd of 25,000 during the redevelopment period.
Andrew Dillon, AFL’s CEO, refrained from declaring his preferred choice of the club’s interim location. However, he asserted that the Lions, who were this year’s grand finalists, deserve acknowledgement for their prowess as one of the key teams of the competition. Dillon re-emphasised the stature of the club on Tuesday at the AFL’s National Inclusion Carnival at Springfield, stating that “(The Lions have made) five finals series in a row and they don’t look like they’re going anywhere soon, so you want to make sure that as many people can watch the Lions as possible.”
With regards to the relocation decision, the AFL’s standpoint relies on what is best for football in Queensland, promising to collaborate closely with the Queensland government, whether the new home is RNA or Springfield.
Engaging in further discussions with state government officials, Dillon sought a stadium that ensured comfort and quality, while dealing with capacity constraints. Moreover, the AFL has expressed its intention for the Lions’ temporary home to contribute to the legacy of the sport, aiding to the continued surge of its popularity in Queensland.
Highlighting the region’s growth in the sport’s participation, Dillon remarked, “The area that we’re in now (Western corridor) is the fastest growing participation area of all regions within Australia…Our participation numbers in Queensland this year hit over 68,000, which is a record for us. We’ve got plenty of opportunities here in Queensland. We’re going to continue to invest and grow. We want boys, girls, men, and women to have a great experience when they play AFL.”