The new $82 million Brighton Homes Arena at Springfield is the first AFLW facility in Australia to open to spectators with a Grand Final.
Brisbane Lions, in their fourth AFLW Grand Final appearance, will play the Melbourne Demons at 1:40pm at their new Springfield home base.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all three levels of government, the Lions, the AFL and private partners were involved in bringing this facility to life.
“This is a fantastic investment in women’s professional sport and the local community,” the Premier said.
“When the Brisbane Lions finished on top of the AFLW ladder to win Grand Final hosting rights, we pulled out all stops to make sure the ground was ready for today’s decider.
“I’m excited Queenslanders get to be part of history with the Lions chasing an AFLW Premiership for the opening game of Australia’s first purpose-built stadium for a professional female team.
“Earmarked as potential host for modern pentathlon, the ground is also the first completed Olympic venue since the Brisbane 2032 announcement.”
Queensland Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Brighton Homes Arena led a new generation of Australian sporting infrastructure.
“The Arena kicks goals as a multi-purpose training facility for elite female and male athletes that can also be used by the community,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“It includes a 50-metre indoor training field and kick room for training in all weather conditions, plus a gym, float tanks and recovery pools.
“All that’s missing is the silverware and we’re backing the Lions’ AFLW team to bring that home today.”
Federal Minister for Sport Anika Wells said Brighton Homes Arena set the benchmark for women’s sporting venues in this country.
“For elite female athletes to use the same state of the art facilities as a men’s team is a game-changer for sport.
“The venue is nation-leading and will be a beacon for young girls who aspire to be Lions players and helping to boost participation for women in sport.”
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the stadium will be a great asset for the community, for footy and for the state of Queensland.
“The AFL is very much looking forward to hosting the AFLW Grand Final at the brand new and best purpose-built facility in Queensland – Brighton Homes Arena,” said Mr McLachlan.
“After touring the facility last month, the playing, training and admin base is quite simply elite on every level, benefiting not only the Brisbane Lions, but more broadly women’s football and the pathways for junior footballers from across southern Queensland.”
Brisbane Lions CEO Greg Swann said all the facilities can be used by the entire Springfield community, adding valuable new revenue streams for the Lions.
“This project will have a transformative impact upon our club’s ability to stage AFL women’s and VFL matches in a manner expected by our Queensland supporters,” said Mr Swann.
“Brighton Homes Arena brings together the Brisbane Lions, Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy in an environment dedicated to elite athletic preparation and performance, mixed with unprecedented levels of interaction and engagement with sponsors, members, fans and community groups.
“Thank you to the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, Ipswich City Council and the AFL for their strong support of the Brisbane Lions and AFL in Queensland.”
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the opening of Brighton Homes Arena was another significant achievement in the city’s rich sporting history.
“The completion of the Brisbane Lions’ new home at Brighton Homes Arena has been the culmination of years of effort and a commitment of more than $20 million from the City of Ipswich,” said Ms Harding.
“This state-of-the-art facility will not only serve as a fitting home for the Brisbane Lions but also give the Ipswich community access to world-class sporting infrastructure in our own backyard.
“It is an incredible honour to be hosting the 2022 NAB AFLW Grand Final in Ipswich and marking the official opening of Brighton Homes Arena with a sell-out crowd to cheer on the Brisbane Lions.”
Brighton Homes Arena was designed by local architects Populous and built by Hutchinson Builders, supporting more than 260 jobs during construction.
The AFLW game-day and elite training ground was funded by the Queensland Government ($18 million), Federal Government, AFL and Brisbane Lions, Ipswich City Council (including developer contribution and in-kind fit-for-purpose bulk earthworks), and commercial partners Gym JV.