As a sports-mad Melbournian for a lot of my life, one who lengthy believed that Sydney had inferior services by way of its main soccer stadiums alone, my current go to to Sydney has helped change my thoughts.

Whereas Melbournians might cry out “what concerning the MCG”, my argument is predicated largely on the depth of Sydney high quality stadiums which cater for that metropolis’s appreciable curiosity within the many matches generated by the totally different sporting codes.

Coming to Sydney within the early Nineteen Eighties when watching a rugby league membership match on the SCG, I used to be shocked that the town didn’t have a serious rectangular stadium given the sector of play was so far-off from a spectator standpoint (though nonetheless cheap).

In current many years, nonetheless, as main sporting leagues grew to become extra skilled and sought to draw good crowds by higher services at a time when stay tv viewers income grew to become extra essential, each cities expanded their sporting services by way of the modernisation of stadiums.

Sydney upgraded the SCG with many more recent stands, constructed the Sydney Soccer Stadium (SFS) as its main rectangle stadium (40,000+) in 1988, and constructed Stadium Australia for the 2000 Olympic Video games with an 82,000 capability since 2002.

The Sydney Showgrounds venue, additionally constructed for the 2000 Olympics, has been reworked into an AFL floor for GWS (24,000 seats) and hosts Sydney Thunder within the Huge Bash League (cricket).

Melbourne rebuilt the MCG (100,000), constructed Docklands (55,000) as its second main AFL stadium, and constructed a 30,000 seat stadium for the rectangle codes to host soccer and rugby matches.

When it comes to giant oval stadiums, vital for each AFL and cricket matches, there isn’t any doubt that Melbourne nonetheless leads Sydney by a good distance.

The MCG, Australia’s most well-known stadium, holds 100,000 and might host any huge sporting occasion, whereas the SCG has a a lot smaller 48,000 capability, though each an amazing venues.

Equally, Docklands dwarfs the capability of the Sydney Showground Stadium (55,000 to 24,000), albeit Sydney might nonetheless use Stadium Australia in its oval configuration.

Melbourne’s two giant oval grounds, each centrally positioned, play host to dwelling video games for all 9 of Melbourne AFL groups (and infrequently Geelong).

The long-lasting SCG. (Photograph by Cameron Spencer/Getty Photos)

However, if we’re to speak soccer stadiums on this period when many Australians need to attend main sporting code occasions, with Sydney and Melbourne collectively having round 40 per cent of Australia’s inhabitants by 2023, now we have to increase the controversy to take account of the varied rectangle discipline soccer codes.

After we increase the controversy to incorporate stadiums for all soccer codes, I argue Sydney wins palms down by way of the quantity of top quality rectangle stadiums that may cater for the varied membership groups of various codes, in addition to huge finals and nationwide crew video games.

Whereas Melbourne has a 30,000-seat rectangle stadium, with solely its Lakeside stadium (with athletics monitor) having an affordable capability (12,000 with 7,400 seats), Sydney’s has round a dozen rectangle stadiums with at the least 17,000 capability, most of that are utilized by Sydney’s NRL golf equipment (rugby league) and shared with different rectangle soccer codes.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs presently performs at Stadium Australia (82,000), Parramatta stadium (30,000), and even often at Belmore Sports activities Floor (19,000).

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Manly Sea Eagles each have native stadiums (20,000).

Parramatta Eels performs at its new 30,000 seat venue (accomplished 2021), sharing the venue with Western Sydney (soccer).

Penrith Panthers, presently projected to get a brand new stadium constructed following the 2023 NRL season, additionally performs at its native stadium (22,500).

South Sydney Rabbitohs presently performs at Stadium Australia (82,000), however might transfer to the SFS in future years given the latter venue often is the better option to draw extra of its native fan base.

St. George Illawarra Dragons, representing two areas, performs at Jubilee Stadium (20,500) and the Wollongong stadium (22,000).

Sydney Roosters has the SFS as its dwelling, a venue shared with Sydney FC (soccer) and the NSW Waratahs (rugby union).

Wests Tigers performs at Balmain’s Leichhardt Oval (20,000), Campbelltown Stadium (17,500) which additionally hosts the native A-League soccer crew Macarthur FC, and Parramatta stadium (30,000).

Sydney’s northern fringes additionally has the Gosford stadium (20,000), used often by the NRL and residential to the central Coast Mariners soccer crew.

Transferring past Sydney’s depth of rectangle stadiums, I additionally argue that Sydney now has the most effective true rectangle stadium of the 2 cities with the brand new SFS (42,000) having good views in just about all seats, as I personally skilled on the current Sydney versus Wellington A-League match.

From a viewing and services expertise, I fee the SFS the most effective Australian stadium I’ve ever attended.

Not can Sydney followers bitch concerning the problem of attending to the SFS on condition that trams depart from Central railway station often and arrive on the SFS and SCG inside a couple of minutes (simply two stops), thus going an extended approach to matching Melbourne whose three main soccer stadiums and indoor stadiums are positioned close to its three main railway stations.

After all, Sydney’s Olympic Park, which incorporates Stadium Australia and the Showgrounds soccer venues, stays far-off for a lot of Sydney residents.

(Photograph by Cameron Spencer/Getty Photos)

However travelling to Sydney’s nice sporting complicated by public transport is hardly a chore with trains leaving Lidcombe each ten minutes and main occasions having common specific trains from Central railway station.

Slowly the Olympic Park sporting precinct, which I’ve visited many instances since 2000, is constructing an amazing ambiance with appreciable meals and ingesting choices.

More and more on a par with Melbourne’s two foremost sporting precincts (one close to the town alongside the Yarra and the opposite at Albert Park), Sydney’s Olympic park features a main indoor stadium that hosts crowds as much as 17,500 for basketball matches, the Sydney Athletics stadium (15,000 capability with 5,000 seats), a swimming complicated (10,000 seat capability for the principle pool), a ten,500 seat stadium as a part of the tennis complicated, and a 8,000 venue (4,000 seats) inside its hockey services.

The truth that Sydney has many good stadiums for the most well-liked sporting codes all through its suburbs is one other attraction for me as they assist the local people by way of patron and enterprise choices for consuming and ingesting, usually an important a part of the fan expertise earlier than or after the sport.

Visiting Parramatta final week, and observing the development of its mild rail system to quickly assist these not ready to stroll from the railway station, there are certainly loads of leisure choices.

Visiting Jubilee Park, one of many dwelling grounds for St George Illawarra, I got here throughout a bit Japanese restaurant throughout the street from the Carlton railway station to take pleasure in the most effective meals I’ve consumed by way of style and worth.

Other than the Manly stadium, attending to most of Sydney’s stadiums by public transport is kind of simple given the in depth hyperlinks between bus and railway providers, albeit some patrons might must journey for for much longer than others.

Whereas some Melbournians might disagree with my conclusion, and will select to quote information that reveals that Melbourne continues to get the most important sporting crowds by far, I contend that Sydney is now Australia’s sporting capital by way of possessing many stadiums all through its suburbs which might be able to assembly current demand for the varied main sporting codes in a metropolis which has rather more of a neighborhood connection.

Though there’ll at all times be some issues, as prompt by a neighborhood Sydney FC fan who informed me final week that rugby union matches tearing up the turf was a serious situation for the brand new SFS, we each agreed that solely shared services was more likely to generate such a high quality stadium.

Given my current go to, which builds upon earlier observations of Sydney sporting venues since 2000 and earlier, I argue that Sydney has certainly caught up with Melbourne by way of possessing nice sporting services for its followers.

I stay up for many extra visits to Sydney’s sporting services, a welcome addition to that metropolis’s immense pure magnificence.

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