Rumour AFL to buy / take control of regional AFL venue.

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May 13, 2014
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Was mentioned on the Rumour File on 3AW this morning. I was thinking maybe Mars Stadium in Ballarat but they seemed to indicate the target may be Kardinia Park.

As a footy fan it would be great to see the venue used more but as a Geelong supporter / person, I'm not sure I'd like to see the city give up such a valuable asset and for the club to lose such a financial windfall as they have with current arrangment.

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Kardinia park would be a strange pickup considering it's a one team town. Not sure what the benefit is to the AFL to own it outright ?
Mars again is a bit out there but after the commonwealth games went pop the state funding for an upgrade might have gone. If the AFL was to buy in and upgrade the stadium it could work for both the AFL and Ballarat City council. The area next door where they had the markets is available as well which could be used to upgrade the parking. The railway is across the road and there was talk of putting a station in as well.
Not sure the crowds at Mars have shown that Ballarat would really embrace that more games or a possible relocation ?
Seems a strange thing to do after consolidating footy in the main two stadiums in Melbourne ?
 
Kardinia park would be a strange pickup considering it's a one team town. Not sure what the benefit is to the AFL to own it outright ?
Mars again is a bit out there but after the commonwealth games went pop the state funding for an upgrade might have gone. If the AFL was to buy in and upgrade the stadium it could work for both the AFL and Ballarat City council. The area next door where they had the markets is available as well which could be used to upgrade the parking. The railway is across the road and there was talk of putting a station in as well.
Not sure the crowds at Mars have shown that Ballarat would really embrace that more games or a possible relocation ?
Seems a strange thing to do after consolidating footy in the main two stadiums in Melbourne ?

I think, if we look ahead this could be a savvy move by the AFL.

Looking ahead the AFL has two significant factors in the next 8 years impacting current AFL grounds.
Tas joining in 2028
Gabba redevelopment for the Olympics

Hawthorn and North combined have 8 games a year in Tas, let's say Hawthorn extend for a one home game in Launceston deal, that still leaves 7 games a year to be either absorbed back in to Melbourne or played elsewhere.
Elsewhere sometimes involves Cairns, but given this is also timed around the Gabba redevelopment, I can possibly see Brisbane as being a team that might have a year or two of a few home games in Cairns (or even Townsville).

Perhaps the AFL is considering a regional venue, eg Mars, as being a kind of regional hub for say 4-5 games a year, that many games a year could justify a bit of spend on some upgraded facilities.

Just a thought.
 
Would make sense if it was the Ballarat stadium.

Buy it then offer North good financial terms to play their home games there.

Will give them a little nudge in helping them be financially viable longer term in lieu of any clear strategic plan.

Could also work for the Bulldogs and they gave committed time in this space in previous years.

Whoever takes the opportunity will shore up their future.
 
Would make sense if it was the Ballarat stadium.

Buy it then offer North good financial terms to play their home games there.

Will give them a little nudge in helping them be financially viable longer term in lieu of any clear strategic plan.

Could also work for the Bulldogs and they gave committed time in this space in previous years.

Whoever takes the opportunity will shore up their future.

Agree Kardina Park doesn't seem to make much sense but Ballarat perhaps. Not sure a team can be based out of there, but as others said 4-5 games a year (plus some preseason waffle, plus some AFLW) could be viable.
 
Agree Kardina Park doesn't seem to make much sense but Ballarat perhaps. Not sure a team can be based out of there, but as others said 4-5 games a year (plus some preseason waffle, plus some AFLW) could be viable.
I’m not sure if the AFL would buy a stadium just for a club to dabble in playing a few games there. Clubs have been there and done that- they don’t get traction with the locals.

North will soon divest from their Tassie sponsorship so need to find funding to cover this loss.

And the Bulldogs and North aren’t getting the best financial deal from their current home game arrangement at Marvel, even though they are now dealing with the AFL.

I wonder if the AFL would be looking to tempt a club to play all their home games up there with a Geelong style financial agreement that would guarantee their long term viability.

For the AFL it would help them get a team out of Melbourne, while at the same time expand its footprint into regional Victoria. That team could create a long term footprint in that area, building a supporter base and creating an environment where locals would want to play for them.

Could be quite lucrative for a club that is bold enough to take the leap. Or a consideration for one that may not have clarity on their long term vision yet.

I’d be surprised if the AFL bought a stadium without having discussions with clubs though. Will be interesting to see if this transpires.
 
I’m not sure if the AFL would buy a stadium just for a club to dabble in playing a few games there. Clubs have been there and done that- they don’t get traction with the locals.

North will soon divest from their Tassie sponsorship so need to find funding to cover this loss.

And the Bulldogs and North aren’t getting the best financial deal from their current home game arrangement at Marvel, even though they are now dealing with the AFL.

I wonder if the AFL would be looking to tempt a club to play all their home games up there with a Geelong style financial agreement that would guarantee their long term viability.

For the AFL it would help them get a team out of Melbourne, while at the same time expand its footprint into regional Victoria. That team could create a long term footprint in that area, building a supporter base and creating an environment where locals would want to play for them.

Could be quite lucrative for a club that is bold enough to take the leap. Or a consideration for one that may not have clarity on their long term vision yet.

I’d be surprised if the AFL bought a stadium without having discussions with clubs though. Will be interesting to see if this transpires.

Good thinking, would probably add, wouldn't need to be all home games, given that Geelong still play a few games in Melbourne.
But for a club to commit to 7 or 8, with the remaining 3 or 4 in Melbourne, would help to satisfy the Melbourne based supporters as well as still maintain a certain number of games in Melbourne.

I could be wrong, but didn't a previous North Melb administration float the idea of 7 home games in Hobart, with the Tas gov declining.
 
I’m not sure if the AFL would buy a stadium just for a club to dabble in playing a few games there. Clubs have been there and done that- they don’t get traction with the locals.

North will soon divest from their Tassie sponsorship so need to find funding to cover this loss.

And the Bulldogs and North aren’t getting the best financial deal from their current home game arrangement at Marvel, even though they are now dealing with the AFL.

I wonder if the AFL would be looking to tempt a club to play all their home games up there with a Geelong style financial agreement that would guarantee their long term viability.

For the AFL it would help them get a team out of Melbourne, while at the same time expand its footprint into regional Victoria. That team could create a long term footprint in that area, building a supporter base and creating an environment where locals would want to play for them.

Could be quite lucrative for a club that is bold enough to take the leap. Or a consideration for one that may not have clarity on their long term vision yet.

I’d be surprised if the AFL bought a stadium without having discussions with clubs though. Will be interesting to see if this transpires.

The AFL aren't stupid.

Their single biggest profit exercise has not been the TV rights, but Marvel Stadium.

Not only did they take ownership of the $billion dollar building, but the State Government then pumped hundreds of millions of dollars redeveloping the AFLs own asset. That asset goes straight on the balance sheet.

Now, if they take ownership of Mars Stadium in Ballarat, they will be lobbying State Government for major upgrades on the basis of tourism, jobs etc to the regional area.


The Australian public model with stadiums is completely different to the UK and USA. The USA only generally pumps in public funds if team ownders hold cities to ransom regarding moving the team, even then, it has to go to full public vote, just like OKC has done to invest public funds into their stadium redevelopment.

In the UK, the public wouldn't stand for 1 second for tax payer funds being used on privately owned stadiums. All upgrades have to be funded by owners and clubs.


Whilst having the likes of North play there will be a secondary result, the key focus would be securing an asset that can have millions of dollars of tax payer funds invested into it.

It's an unbelievable business model if you can get away with it.

It's like buying houses and have someone continually fund your renovations. Then re-leveraging on your increased net worth.
 
I’m not sure if the AFL would buy a stadium just for a club to dabble in playing a few games there. Clubs have been there and done that- they don’t get traction with the locals.

North will soon divest from their Tassie sponsorship so need to find funding to cover this loss.

And the Bulldogs and North aren’t getting the best financial deal from their current home game arrangement at Marvel, even though they are now dealing with the AFL.

I wonder if the AFL would be looking to tempt a club to play all their home games up there with a Geelong style financial agreement that would guarantee their long term viability.

For the AFL it would help them get a team out of Melbourne, while at the same time expand its footprint into regional Victoria. That team could create a long term footprint in that area, building a supporter base and creating an environment where locals would want to play for them.

Could be quite lucrative for a club that is bold enough to take the leap. Or a consideration for one that may not have clarity on their long term vision yet.

I’d be surprised if the AFL bought a stadium without having discussions with clubs though. Will be interesting to see if this transpires.

Speculating of course, but I don't think a team based on Ballarat would be viable in terms of support. Geelong's catchment covers a huge and growing population area, and an area that provides significant amount of football talent and has more than 100 years of history behind it.

I reckon, like the poster above noted, that the game is buying the stadium asset itself. The AFL is not for profit so it has to do something with excess funds and buying assets is a decent idea*

*Better than the usual plan of giving that money to business that have a connection to the AFL commission.
 

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Speculating of course, but I don't think a team based on Ballarat would be viable in terms of support. Geelong's catchment covers a huge and growing population area, and an area that provides significant amount of football talent and has more than 100 years of history behind it.

I reckon, like the poster above noted, that the game is buying the stadium asset itself. The AFL is not for profit so it has to do something with excess funds and buying assets is a decent idea*

*Better than the usual plan of giving that money to business that have a connection to the AFL commission.
Yep I hadn’t considered the asset building angle. Quite possibly that’s a play.

And yes the catchment area vs Geelong would be smaller, although geographically you’d think would be bigger with a good opportunity to capture more of rural Victoria over the very long term.

Regardless, a ground without a home tenant I don’t think would fly. You’d want some games out of your investment and it would make sense to have a home team that can reap the benefits of owning the local area rather than a couple of teams playing a small handful of games there each year (ala the current Tassie model).

Will be interesting to see if and how this all pans out.
 
Kardinia park would be a strange pickup considering it's a one team town. Not sure what the benefit is to the AFL to own it outright ?
Mars again is a bit out there but after the commonwealth games went pop the state funding for an upgrade might have gone. If the AFL was to buy in and upgrade the stadium it could work for both the AFL and Ballarat City council. The area next door where they had the markets is available as well which could be used to upgrade the parking. The railway is across the road and there was talk of putting a station in as well.
Not sure the crowds at Mars have shown that Ballarat would really embrace that more games or a possible relocation ?
Seems a strange thing to do after consolidating footy in the main two stadiums in Melbourne ?
There's nothing to indicate the government isn't committed to funding the upgrades to Eureka Stadium previously outlined. To the contrary, they've reaffirmed they're going to do so.

Eureka Stadium upgrades will be delivered: Premier
 
Was mentioned on the Rumour File on 3AW this morning. I was thinking maybe Mars Stadium in Ballarat but they seemed to indicate the target may be Kardinia Park.

As a footy fan it would be great to see the venue used more but as a Geelong supporter / person, I'm not sure I'd like to see the city give up such a valuable asset and for the club to lose such a financial windfall as they have with current arrangment.

For Richmond supporters reading this, please call Lifeline or Beyond Blue.
It makes sense to take footy into regional areas. If we want to promote a decentralised lifestyle, then there needs to be events. Ballarat could become an emerging home for a few sides to play home-away-from-home games. Builds connections with communities and might, might, help to see more revenue coming in.

Hawthorn's had huge success in Tasmania (but not North Melbourne), GWS has had success in Canberra and regional NSW, Gold Coast is having some success in the NT. And although that part of Victoria is mostly converted, live footy action helps the communities so much.

Hard to see them obtaining Kardinia Park given the recent upgrades.
 
Catching a train up there, enjoying a pub lunch and then strolling through the lovely streets of Rat City to Mars Stadium would be quite lovely.

Absolutely spifflicating myself on schooners during the match, followed by a stumble to the train station and sleeping the whole way back to Melbourne also quite lovely.
d81fa602-d8eb-46ff-8750-e9b6df12abca-jpeg.1478190


Identity finally confirmed.
 
Wouldn't Geelong and the Kardinia Park trust have a say in this if it was gmhba. Just don't think it's us. No need to get screwed on purpose. mars makes sense to me. Build it up, control what's going on. Get Bulldogs, north, saints, hawks to play there. Probably thinking ahead knowing north and Hawthorn will be looking elsewhere
 
The AFL aren't stupid.

Their single biggest profit exercise has not been the TV rights, but Marvel Stadium.

Not only did they take ownership of the $billion dollar building, but the State Government then pumped hundreds of millions of dollars redeveloping the AFLs own asset. That asset goes straight on the balance sheet.

Now, if they take ownership of Mars Stadium in Ballarat, they will be lobbying State Government for major upgrades on the basis of tourism, jobs etc to the regional area.


The Australian public model with stadiums is completely different to the UK and USA. The USA only generally pumps in public funds if team ownders hold cities to ransom regarding moving the team, even then, it has to go to full public vote, just like OKC has done to invest public funds into their stadium redevelopment.

In the UK, the public wouldn't stand for 1 second for tax payer funds being used on privately owned stadiums. All upgrades have to be funded by owners and clubs.


Whilst having the likes of North play there will be a secondary result, the key focus would be securing an asset that can have millions of dollars of tax payer funds invested into it.

It's an unbelievable business model if you can get away with it.

It's like buying houses and have someone continually fund your renovations. Then re-leveraging on your increased net worth.
Is this why the AFL is so adamant about Tasmania and their proposed stadium ? I haven't heard or read anything about future ownership, management of the site etc. Interested to know
 
Is this why the AFL is so adamant about Tasmania and their proposed stadium ? I haven't heard or read anything about future ownership, management of the site etc. Interested to know
No, there were other reasons for the stadium. I doubt the AFL would be interested in owning a stadium that is likely going to operate at a loss and be costly to run. The business report says they'll need six sellouts at 30,000 a year along with a total of 44 events. Problem is that the state concert record is 15,000 and large acts that sell up hate coming across Bass Strait as it's expensive, a logistical nightmare and really not worth it when Melbourne is the alternative can have a double-up show and sell out as much if not more. A roof makes the cost of everything more expensive, too.

The Tasmanian government will own the site unless Mac Point 2.0 is built and then it might fall under private ownership. However, both builds are facing some significant hurdles and it's hard to see them being built, let alone surviving.
 
As unlikely as I think that this would occur, we need to consider the following:

GMHBA would be an expensive acquisition particularly in light of the 500 million invested there over the last decade. Rather than an outright purchase by the AFL, a leasing arrangement might be a possibility. Noting that the stadium is currently owned by The Geelong City Council.

On the other hand, Mars would be massively cheaper and could be purchased outright for around $110 mil (Allowing for the cost of paying to relocate North Ballarat Sports clubs). There are plans afoot ATM where redevelopment and expansion of the ground to 16,000 capacity will occur from June/July this year with works to be completed by early 2026. This is being coupled with the construction of a new competition athletics centre on the existing Ballarat Showgrounds which have effectively closed and are relocating for this year's show. The whole site including the Southern precinct of Mars Stadium is being handed over to Development Victoria to manage the construction works for both facilities sometime around June. Funding details are anticipated to be announced in this year's May State Budget. The total cost of the new athletics centre, the stadium upgrade and other promises for sports facility upgrades falling out from the Comm Games cancellation is currently around $150 million. It is likely that Mars Stadium upgrades will cost in the order of around $65-70 million, thus giving the stadium an overall value of monies invested in it since 2016 of around $93-98 million by 2026.

Works at Mars Stadium are likely to see the construction of a 5000 seat stand extension from the southern end of the main stand to extend it around the southern boundary of the stadium to where the video scoreboard is currently placed and the scoreboard will either be mounted into the new stand or relocated to the top of the existing standing hill. There are no other details about the stadium upgrade at this point in time ie. Lighting upgrades or a train platform. We expect all to be revealed by June. What ever the outcome, Mars Stadium is currently owned and managed by the City of Ballarat and a purchase or lease would have to be negotiated with the council and the existing facility users (Namely the North Ballarat Sports Clubs). The red in the diagram below indicates the likely positioning of the new 5000 seat stand.

Mars Stadium - Upgrade 2024-26.png
Now I'm going out on a limb here and assuming that all of this is predicated on the creation of the Tasmanian team and the re-location of all Hawthorn and North Melbourne games back to the mainland. This said, at this stage the whole Tasmanian venture is still teetering on a knife's edge over in Tassie. It seems that there is a heck of a lot of pushback coming at the State Government over there by many in his own government and opposition who aren't convinced that the stadium can be built within the proposed budget. Some are arguing that by gilding the lily on the proposed stadium with a hotel and other proposed assets will blow up the cost from $730 mil to $1.2 billion. In addition there are those who are opposed to it outright in the belief that the state should be investing its limited financial resources on education and health assets. The state opposition are divided on the issue and the premier is threatening an early election to resolve the matter. There seems to be a lot more pushback against it in Tassie than what the supporters of it are letting on. The supporters are arguing that the nay-sayers are a vocal minority, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that this isn't the case.
 
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Would be cool if something could be worked out for North/Bulldogs/Saints to play 2 games each there a year for some kind of incentive. It gives 6 games a year to the region, and the smaller Vic clubs avoid having to sell games interstate.
 
GMHBA. makes perfect sense for a corporate takeover.
Already holds 35k after upgrade.
Prime site, EMPTY every second week during AFL season.
EMPTY every week out of AFL. season.
Don't have to buy out any existing tenants. Saving $$$$.
DOMESTIC AIRPORT.
Walking distance from Vline.
Spirit of Tasmania terminal.
Cost no issue, AFL. can afford it.

% of Geelong's population have moved there from,and work in, Melbourne and are not GFC supporters would attenend other clubs games.


I'd buy that for a Dollar !
 
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The AFL aren't stupid.

Their single biggest profit exercise has not been the TV rights, but Marvel Stadium.

Not only did they take ownership of the $billion dollar building, but the State Government then pumped hundreds of millions of dollars redeveloping the AFLs own asset. That asset goes straight on the balance sheet.

Now, if they take ownership of Mars Stadium in Ballarat, they will be lobbying State Government for major upgrades on the basis of tourism, jobs etc to the regional area.

Not sure how you can say that.

Broadcasting rights now deliver almost $400 million cash to the AFL every single year.

They got a good deal on Marvel as part of the Docklands development (it was wasteland at the time) and it's been great security, but it's not been worth anything like $400m per year.

The AFL has paid quite a bit of money for Marvel over the past 25 years, incl a shitload of additional distributions to the likes of North and St Kilda due to their matchday tenancy deals being horrific.

Buying an existing stadium would be a very big step and not something they've been involved in before. They built Waverley and were the major partners in Marvel.

I can't see how buying Kardinia Park would be beneficial, Geelong have a great deal there and always will have because they're the only tenants on earth who could ever fill the joint, and they are incredibly powerful in the area in a political sense.

Ballarat? Maybe, but it's already being upgraded and not sure what more they would get out of it - I don't know that any club is that interested in relocating there full time.
 

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