The Brisbane Lions are bracing for some short-term pain when the Gabba is redeveloped in preparation for the 2032 Olympics.
The Lions will be without a home from 2026-2030 while their home ground is “bowled over” and rebuilt into a 55,000-seat stadium as part of the Queensland government’s plans for the Olympics Games in Brisbane.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Instagram sensation Deven Robertson signs on with Brisbane.
Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
Current plans have the famous ground being demolished after the 2025 AFL season before construction begins on the new $2.6 billion stadium.
It means the Lions — and Brisbane Heat, for that matter — will need to find a new ground, or grounds, at which to play their home games.
Terminal diagnosis inspires AFL veteran’s emotional change
Troubled AFL superstar begins summer of redemption after surgery
Their brand new training facility at Springfield, Brighton Homes Arena — where the Lions’ AFLW team plays their home games — is an option, as is Brisbane Showgrounds.
But neither venue can hold more than 24,000 spectators, almost a third of the club’s forecast membership of around 60,000 by 2026.
Lions CEO Greg Swann says they hope to lock in their plans soon, to give fans some certainty.
Brisbane are preparing to find a new home. Credit: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images
“We have two more seasons at the Gabba then it gets bowled over,” Swann told SEN.
“We are in discussions at the moment with the government about where we play in the interim.
“It’s going to be a four-year hiatus. That’s a long time to be out of mainstream grounds. No matter where we go, the ground is only going to hold low 20,000s.
“We are going to get a membership of 60,000 plus, so we have some challenges in that space.
“The code is flying, we had seven sellouts last season. Our membership is up 25 per cent.
“The upside is you turn into a brand new 55,000-seat stadium. We fill it pretty regularly and pretty easily. But it’s going to create some pain on the way through.
“Now the government has made a commitment about the Gabba, we are hoping we can get a commitment on where we are going to play.”
The Gabba will be under construction for four years ahead of the 2032 Olympics. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images
The unique set of circumstances with which Brisbane are faced also gives them the opportunity to get creative with their fixtures.
Given the diminished financial incentive to play home games in Brisbane due to certain reduced capacities, Swann hinted at plans to sell hosting rights to rival teams from Melbourne or Perth.
The Victorian option has the added benefit of a strong but relatively dormant Fitzroy supporter base which remains in Melbourne following the merger.
“We’ve spoken about (selling home games),” Swann added.
“There are some offers for us to maybe play one or two games elsewhere.
“We might take it to Perth or play it at the MCG. I don’t know, but there are some options.
“There is a lot happening in that space, but we haven’t bedded anything down.”
The Lions will play home games at the Gabba in 2024 and 2025, the first of which will be against Carlton during next year’s Opening Round.