Campaign kicks off for mighty stadium

TOP international acts such as Pink and One Direction and major NRL games could all come to Penrith if funding is approved for a new stadium.

Funds could flow from a strategy announced by the state government to fund the development of sporting and entertainment facilities across Sydney.

Panthers have been involved in separate discussions with Penrith Council to redevelop Sportingbet Stadium as a third major Sydney arena.

The venue, which could include a retractable roof and up to 35,000 seats, would be used by NRL and other local sporting teams and could host concerts and major events.

Penrith Panthers group chief executive Warren Wilson said Penrith was the perfect location for such a stadium..

"Penrith is geographically in the centre of the west and takes care of anything in the mountains as well as the south-west and the north-west. All those distances are the same time away from Penrith.

"We already have a railway and a freeway which is a kilometre away from where the stadium could be built."

Panthers management has already held discussions with local MPs to discuss the stadium as well as other infrastructure upgrades.

Mr Wilson said the new stadium could have a "little brother/big brother" partnership with ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park.

"If Penrith is leading the competition and Parramatta is coming second — and if we think the crowd is going to be 50,000 — then the NRL would schedule the game at the 'big brother' stadium [ANZ Stadium]," he said. "If we think there are only going to be 20,000 then the NRL will schedule the game at the 'little brother' stadium".

Panthers and the council have funded a Deloitte Access Economics study to establish a case for a tier-two stadium in Penrith.

It covers the economic and social benefits and future demand for quality sporting and entertainment facilities and infrastructure in line with Penrith's growing role as a major regional centre.

Penrith mayor Ross Fowler said a project of that size could deliver huge economic benefits to the area.

He said Penrith had a strong case.

"It will require a lot more discussion about scale, location, breadth of activities, funding and government support," Cr Fowler said.

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