Sydney Showground Stadium is a 24,000-seat multi-purpose venue in the heart of Western Sydney. Hosting a plethora of world class events including a share of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the stadium is also home to the Australian Football League’s Greater Western Sydney team and the Big Bash League’s Sydney Thunder cricket team. Notably, the stadium was announced as the host of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Cricket Opening Celebration in 2020. This opening celebration was the culmination of an almost two-year process to reinvigorate the stadium with a brand-new sound system.
In May 2018 the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) of New South Wales embarked on a journey to replace Sydney Showground Stadium’s aging PA system with a more powerful system that improved intelligibility and increased efficiency. Given the profile of the World Cup and the stadium’s new identity as home of two significant sports teams, the RAS Capital Works and Assets teams went to market to seek ideas and options for the upgrade.
RAS engaged Sydney-based integrator The P.A. People to design and install the venue’s new PA system. The initial task involved developing an acoustic model of the venue and the preliminary design of a sound system that would meet both performance criteria and structural loading requirements of the existing grandstand roof. From the start, The P.A. People identified Bose ArenaMatch as the ideal option for Sydney Showground Stadium. ArenaMatch is Bose’s latest generation of constant curvature line array loudspeakers. Released in February 2019, it is a high performance, IP-rated system for outdoor use. It can be powered in low impedance or 100V line mode with an option for bi-amped configuration.
The system involves 11 clusters, each comprised of three 100° x 40° ArenaMatch AM40 loudspeaker cabinets, plus an additional two fill 60° x 40° ArenaMatch AM40 cabinets to cover the area between the new and the old grandstands. The system is powered using 12 Bose PowerMatch PM8500N eight-channel power amplifiers connected to an existing Biamp Vocia DSP system.
Each cluster is suspended from a custom fabricated bracket, designed so the system can be lowered for maintenance without a requirement for a boom lift or other access equipment. The bracket design and fabrication were carried out in-house by The P.A. People — no small task given the roof is curved on two axes, resulting in a slightly different mounting angle for each array cluster.
While the low end extension (down to 55 Hz) of the ArenaMatch AM40 loudspeaker negated the need for installed subwoofers, the ‘Let’s Dance’ theme of the T20 Opening Celebration event called for extra low end energy. For this event, The P.A. People supplemented the installed ArenaMatch system with 10 of its ‘Bose Carts,’ placing them in front of the grandstands. Each cart featured a three-element Bose ShowMatch array and two 18-inch ShowMatch subwoofers, all powered from an onboard Linea Research amplifier. Infill between the carts was provided by Bose LT9702 cabinets in layback frames.
Sydney Showground Stadium Case Study