The Bupa Sheffield Shield cricket match from November 13-16 2013 brought Adelaide's sporting enthusiasts a great opportunity to see the new look Adelaide oval. It was gratifying to see that entry was free of charge, as more than half a billion dollars of public money has been spent on the project to upgrade the historic oval - around $300 for every man, woman and squalling infant in SA.
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The Adelaide oval redevelopment has increased its capacity to 54,500, offers a claimed 77% undercover seating, and provides significantly upgraded facilities for both cricket and football. It's also expected to boost the city's economy, presumably transferring jobs from the western suburbs as Football Park falls into disuse.
The Unfinished Southern Grandstand and Large Video Screen
While work is continuing on the unfinished eastern and southern stands, the western grandstand members' area and northern mound with its video screen and heritage scoreboard are largely complete.
The first day was perfect weather for it - warm and sunny, and thousands of cricket fans streamed to the oval to test the new facilities. Apparently there was a group of football fans too, but they weren't made to feel welcome by the cricket clique. While some areas of the new stands remained closed, your roving reporter was able to access much of the site to bring you glimpses of what's in store on your next visit.
A Display Showing the Changing Face of Adelaide Oval
I was quite impressed with the new facilities, the seats looked comfortable, there was attractive landscaping, and I was surprised that prices for food and alcohol didn't seem excessive. If you have seen the new facilities at Adelaide oval, let us know what you think of them in the comments.
A Groundsman Maintains the Cricket Pitch During a Break in Play
The new $40m River Torrens footbridge will deliver flocks of fans from the Adelaide casino and railway station precinct directly to the Southern Plaza entrance of the upgraded Adelaide oval. At this stage the bridge is far from ready, reminding me a bit of the South Road Superway skeleton.
The River Torrens Footbridge Links to Adelaide Casino & Railway Station
An impressive shiny space age looking ticket office will help spectators feel much better about paying their admission fee, and the imposing frontage will make it feel like you're entering a grand temple to sport.
Visitors to the back side of the Adelaide oval on Pennington Terrace will see the more modest Clarrie Grimmett entrance, but they can then walk a short distance along the shady boardwalk under the Moreton Bay fig trees to the northern mound.
The Clarrie Grimmett Entrance on Pennington Terrace
Apparently it's not only the historic score board, but also the Moreton Bay fig trees and the northern mound are heritage listed by Adelaide City Council. These have been largely untouched in the Adelaide oval redevelopment.
The Redevelopment Includes a Boardwalk at the Northern End
The western grandstand is an interesting mix of old and new in its architectural style, with some old school ornate SACA lettering at the north end. I'm not sure whether that remains from the previous structure or is new.
An attractive village green has been established west of the grandstand and is currently home to a couple of statues of cricket greats. It won't be long before the the football league demands equal representation, and no doubt John Rau and Jay Weatherill will appreciate a piece of the action too.
After entering the hallowed member's area one soon encounters guidance on what dress standards are enforced in this area. I notice that SACA bans football shorts, and wondered whether the SANFL will ban cricket wear in retaliation.
While the breakfast show boys bicker about whether the media centre should be named after KG Cunningham, it's well fitted out with rooms for radio, TV studios, and of course an area for the hard working scribes of the written press.
When Cricket is Boring for Media Commentators, Tennis is an Option
When the cricket gets too boring our worthy commentators can take a break and enjoy watching the tennis from the full length picture windows on the western side of the media suite, with unfettered views out to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.
A couple of floors down is another area you're most unlikely to be welcome - the private Players' Dining Room, where our sporting entertainers can relax and gossip between themselves after a hard morning's sledging on the pitch. Most windows are discreetly veiled so that the hoi polloi can't see whether the food is better than available elsewhere, but it's still possible to get a discreet peek in if you try.
The food menu has reflected Adelaide's place in the global food market place. No longer are pies and chips the staple diet for sports fans, with offerings like burritos, nachos and pulled pork buns bringing an international zest.
The members' dining room has sweeping views over the oval, and is extremely comfortable. It has been thoughtfully carpeted in a shade of burgundy so that noone will notice when you spill your glass of Penfolds Grange.
Guvna... went to see the cricket but no reports? You should have at least stuck your keys in the new pitch and done a Greigy!
The stadium looks pretty impressive (as it should for $300 per head). Was that fully funded by the government? The reason I ask is that unlike when I was a puppy and used to slip a wee dram of wodka in the orange juice before venturing to adelaide oval... now I think I might have to bulk up with bags of chips instead of wearing the 4 bucks per 45g chippy bag. As an old doggy on a pension, one has to be frugal.... but old doggies can learn new tricks!