Brisbane Bandits to be bigger and better at new stadium
BRISBANE Bandits CEO Mark Ready is hoping a new home stadium will continue the "yellow fever" surge which has started to grip the Queensland capital.
Fresh after setting a ground record crowd of 2033 at Holloway Field against Sydney on January 9, the Brisbane franchise will shoot for bigger crowds at a bigger home stadium from 2018 and beyond.
Ready revealed to APN the Bandits will move to Hickey Park in just under three years from now, the capacity there to be 5000.
The stadium will be funded by AFL Queensland, the AFL, state government, Brisbane City Council and the ABL, and is estimated to cost between $5-6 million.
It will be resurfaced and have new lights.
The Bandits will share the facility with the Wilston Grange Gorillas Aussie rules football club - a short walk from the Bandits-Brothers Leagues Club in Grange.
"You can come along to the club and have something to eat and drink, and then walk to the games," Ready said.
"There will be less residential impact (than currently at Holloway Field).
"We'll still use Holloway Field as our training place."
Ready has only held his role for 18 months, but has almost immediately transformed the franchise from a perennial cellar-dweller to the host of this season's ABL Championship Series, at Holloway Field from next Friday night.
He has built a star-studded roster with Major League talent, and fostered new fan relationships with groups and businesses throughout Brisbane, including the baseball-mad Taiwanese and Venezuelan communities.
Even fans from Brisbane Roar supporter group The Den were part of the record 2033 crowd earlier this month, singing Roar and Bandits songs.
"Baseball in this state has been stagnant for a while, and all it needed was somebody to push it along and reconnect it with its corporate clients," Ready said.
"I just see the potential for baseball in Brisbane, and I'm just trying to exploit that potential."
Meanwhile, some of the fans who attend the three-game Championship Series will have a rare chance to catch a home-run ball, with 1000 temporary seats to be erected behind the outfield wall.
There will also be an additional family section with 500 seats, and a licensed section with another 500 seats.
And the bullpens will move onto the foul territory areas for special VIP sections, with Bandits staff hoping for crowds of over 4000.