SATURDAY'S Black Diamond Cup grand final could be the last sporting event staged at No.1 Sportsground for the next 12 months, if plans for a major renovation of the historic ground proceed.
Newcastle council has been negotiating with the AFL and Cricket NSW about improvements that would enable No.1 to accommodate professional-level fixtures.
The modifications would entail expansion of the playing field, improved drainage and irrigation, turf replacement and a floodlight upgrade.
Combined with the KISS concert to be staged at No.1 during the V8 Supercars weekend, on Saturday, November 23, it would mean no club cricket will be played there this summer, and probably no Australian rules the following winter.
But once completed, Newcastle would then have a venue capable of hosting Sheffield Shield and potentially Big Bash League matches, and AFL pre-season games.
Council would partially fund the project, in conjunction with the two major sporting codes that use No.1.
"No final decision has been made regarding work at No.1, as we are yet to discuss the cost of the work with the AFL and Cricket NSW," City of Newcastle chief executive Jeremy Bath said.
"Hopefully those talks will occur within the next week or so."
In March, Bath said council was willing to "put upwards of $2 million" towards an upgraded facility.
But he added that was "not even near enough", estimating it could cost "in the vicinity of between about six and seven million dollars in total".
"We're going to need the support of AFL, of cricket, and potentially, of either or both the federal [political] parties to actually make it happen," he said at the time.
At the time, Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon said the "if the upgrade happens then we will bring some cricket here".
Newcastle last hosted interstate cricket in March, 2015, when NSW played Western Australia.
"For us to bring cricket here the facilities need to be able to accommodate it," Germon said in March.
Newcastle District Cricket Association have not included No.1 in next season's schedule, in the expectation that it will be unavailable.
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