Eureka Stadium (Mars Stadium)

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Roogal

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The AFL wouldn't allow that though, and even if they would, it just doesn't make sense. Why spend $50M+ in order to play 2-3 games a year for 10 years (whereupon the AFL takes ownership of docklands and will want every possible game played there).

Ballarat is only workable because the ALP saw it as a way of buying votes in those electorates so offered to throw money at it.
Going back and reflecting on some of these posts, your latter point is not actually true. The Liberals actually offered Ballarat a much better package of promises in the 2014 State Election among which was a 50% re-build and expansion of the Ballarat Base Hospital, to relocate VicRoads HQ out of Melbourne and to place 600 public service jobs into the Ballarat CBD, and fully fund the construction of the Ballarat Sports Events Centre. The Libs only promised to install TV Broadcast standard lighting at what was then known as Eureka Stadium and to to install a video screen scoreboard as part of a $6 mil package for the ground.

But that's history and the people of Ballarat obviously voted on broader state and not local issues at the time. To date $28.6 million has been spent to develop Mars Stadium to the level that it will be by December this year (Accounting for the latest upgrades soon to commence). The nearby Ballarat Sports Events Centre has had $30 million spent to build from scratch. The Ballarat Council for their part have spent over $12 million re-developing seven other ovals in the city since 2014 to enable BFNL teams to play on grounds and surfaces that are as good as or better than the best AFL venues.
 

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Building up infrastructure more generally will be a positive from rebuilding the economy post covid & sport generally can benefit.
 

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Roogal

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Some photos taken yesterday showing latest upgrades to the hill and Southern end of the ground nearing completion:

The new Gate 2 and forecourt that will link to the Midland Highway.

Gate 2 forecourt with stairs to hill behind.jpg


Colours used on the the new entry gate match the palette used for stadium seating. Note that turnstiles and scanners are not yet installed.

Gate without turnstiles installed yet.jpg


Rear of entry gate showing new sealed pathway to the rear of the hill around the Southern boundary toward the Eureka Stand.

Rear of Gate 2 and pathway toward scoreboard (Ground Southern end).jpg


View toward the hill from the Sports Club shows the new concrete terracing on the hill and steps and pathways to prevent the grass becoming boggy. The new Southern toilet block is visible to the rear of the scoreboard while the roof of Gate 2 is visible along the top of the hill. At the moment works have begun to replace the old roof on the front of the Sports Club and to link that into the new roof that will cover the forecourt at Gate 1 which is why there is the mess on the concrete behind the seating.

IMG_20210821_111425.jpg
 

The Punter

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The ALP promised similar things although offered a broader range of smaller proposals including the redevelopment of the rail yards, a more modest upgrade to the city's hospital and the construction of a 6000 seat stand at Eureka Stadium and other works needed to allow for AFL football to be played at the ground from 2017 and a more modest $9 million toward the BSEC. At the time of this announcement, the ALP and Ballarat Council jointly endorsed the Western Bulldogs as the preferred team to play AFL in Ballarat and it was announced soon after that the City of Ballarat would not re-new its sponsorship of the North Melbourne Football Club.
An almost 1700 word post, including (the quote) this rather convenient glossing over the bit I think is interesting.

Behind this brief paragraph we have spouses of local ALP MPs working for council, a council administration who are all gone now after leaving in disgrace, an opportunistic local MP and a footy club CEO acting in direct contravention of the instructions of his board.
 

Roogal

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An almost 1700 word post, including (the quote) this rather convenient glossing over the bit I think is interesting.

Behind this brief paragraph we have spouses of local ALP MPs working for council, a council administration who are all gone now after leaving in disgrace, an opportunistic local MP and a footy club CEO acting in direct contravention of the instructions of his board.
Yes it was a long one but gave some context to the discussion. I have intentionally deleted it because the point has well and truly be laboured.

I tried not to be too critical of either party, and I wasn't intentionally glossing over anything as I tried to stay on point about the stadium and how Ballarat has funded hundreds of millions of dollars in major projects. A crook city CEO being sacked in 2020 or the 2017 NBFC Football Club President (who was about as cuddly as an Inland Taipan) is almost irrelevant to the discussion. That said I do understand that there were many machinations going on by many sides. You raise an interesting point about Ballarat and its Council. I don't know of any city in Australia that is as militant and critical toward its Councilors. But Ballarat has successfully had two Council administrations in the last twenty years censured and held to account. Although that said, Geelong did successfully get a Council sacked a decade ago. That reinforces my last paragraph in my now deleted post. We need much more of it in Australia. Where I live the Councilors are mostly nothing but a bunch of farmers who get into council because they want the roads to their farms asphalted. They do nothing for the towns or communities that they are elected to serve, and in fact go out of their way to hold the towns and small cities back and incredulously, each Council Election we are only able to vote two of them out at a time. At least Ballarat is militant enough to gather its community forces to get the corrupted and ineffectual removed. It also makes the underperformers lift their game.

Thanks for your response to my post BTW :thumbsu:
 
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Teen Wolf

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Noteworthy part of today's GF announcement is there will be four AFLW games per season played at regional Vic venues for the next three seasons.

If this doesn't get games to Ballarat then nothing will. Excluding GMHBA Stadium (and other places like Casey Fields, which sure as heck feel like they're in the middle of the nowhere, but wouldn't count), the only regional Vic venues to host AFLW games to date are Morwell (2 Coll home), Moe (1 Coll home) and Bendigo (1 Rich home).

Edit: or maybe, rather than 4 games per year, it's only 4 games all up, which wouldn't be that much of an opportunity after all.
 
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The Punter

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Also, AFLW season coincides with the best time of year weather wise in Ballarat. February/March is excellent weather time in this neck of the woods.
 

Roogal

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A-League players say Mars Stadium is one of the worst playing surfaces
From Ballarat Courier: 17 September 2021


SUPERSTAR: Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti in action at Mars Stadium earlier this year. Picture: Adam Trafford


SUPERSTAR: Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti in action at Mars Stadium earlier this year. Picture: Adam Trafford​


Ballarat has one of the football pitches in the A-League, the competitions' players have revealed. This is a significant change from 2020 when the A-League players rated it in the top three.

The Professional Footballers Associations' annual report rated Mars Stadium two out of five stars for overall quality and two stars for atmosphere.

The only pitches with a lower overall quality rating are the Sydney Cricket Ground and Stadium Australia, with one-star ratings. In the 2020 annual report, Mars Stadium received four stars for overall quality. A record 70 per cent of A League's 312 players responded to the PFA's survey this year. The annual pitch ratings are voted on by selected away team players at the end of each match.


Players rate the playing surface on four measures - pace, hardness, smoothness and overall quality. Mars Stadium received a three-star rating for smoothness, but the playing surface was judged to be too hard and too slow. Mars Stadium was only slated to host two games this season but was called upon for a third at the last minute due to COVID restrictions and ground unavailability. United used four home stadiums this season. UTAS Stadium in Launceston was rated five out of five for overall quality. AAMI Park received a four-and-half star rating, ahead of GHMBA Stadium, which received three stars.
 

Roogal

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Just days after rating Mars Stadium poorly, the WUFC have confirmed that they will play two games at Mars Stadium

From Ballarat Courier - Thursday 23 September



PLAYING ON: Alessandro Diamanti on the ball for Western United against Sydney FC at Mars Stadium earlier this year. Picture: Adam Trafford

PLAYING ON: Alessandro Diamanti on the ball for Western United against Sydney FC at Mars Stadium earlier in 2021.​

A-League club Western United will play two home games in Ballarat next season. United chief executive officer Chris Pehlivanis confirmed on Thursday that A-league home and away fixtures would be returning to Mars Stadium in the new year. The match-ups and dates, are still to be determined.

The A-League on Thursday announced how the first six rounds will look, with the season kicking off on Friday, November 19, but is yet to decide what form the rest of the draw will take owing to the unknown nature of the national COVID-19 transition plan - especially with regard to state border openings. Ballarat will be one of four home venues for Western United. It will play seven games at the Lakeside Stadium in a first for the club, and like Ballarat there will be two at Geelong and two at Launceston.

Western United is taking this approach while it develops a purpose-built facility in Wyndham. This will be the third season Western United has played fully-fledged A-League matches in Ballarat, having launched a relationship with the City of Ballarat with a clash against Wellington Phoenix at the end of 2019. United played two games at Mars Stadium in that season - losing to Wellington 3-1 and Brisbane Roar 1-0. Another two fixtures were planned for last season, but after changes owing to COVID-19 United played in Ballarat three times.

It defeated Macarthur 4-1 and lost to Western Sydney 1-0 and Sydney FC 1-0. Pehlivanis said the two fixtures further confirmed the club's commitment to Ballarat and its supporter base in the western corridor. He said Western United saw its footprint in Ballarat as an integral part of the club's future. Pehlivanis said United remain locked in to having a presence in the Ballarat region and building on it on-field and off-field.

Western United will have a new look in 2021-22, with John Aloisi having taken over a head coach and marquee striker Besart Berisha having moved on.
Neil Kilkenny is well known face to have joined United after spending the past five seasons in the A-League, with Melbourne City and Perth Glory.
 

Roogal

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Noteworthy part of today's GF announcement is there will be four AFLW games per season played at regional Vic venues for the next three seasons.

If this doesn't get games to Ballarat then nothing will. Excluding GMHBA Stadium (and other places like Casey Fields, which sure as heck feel like they're in the middle of the nowhere, but wouldn't count), the only regional Vic venues to host AFLW games to date are Morwell (2 Coll home), Moe (1 Coll home) and Bendigo (1 Rich home).

Edit: or maybe, rather than 4 games per year, it's only 4 games all up, which wouldn't be that much of an opportunity after all.
There's probably something in that announcement for Ballarat considering that the expansion of the AFLW will require more grounds. The WBFC are currently in negotiations with the Ballarat Council in regard to renewing their contract. Possibly part of that negotiation may see at least one H&A AFLW game being being played at Mars Stadium per season in addition to the existing two senior games.

Ballarat did host a pre-season twilight AFLW game in 2018 with the Bulldogs v The Blues in front of a crowd of 4,500.

I would like to see other Victorian teams playing the Bulldogs in Ballarat rather than just pitting the Bulldogs up against teams from SA and QLD. Given the similar support bases of Saint Kilda, Melbourne and North Melbourne, I can't see any reason why any one of those teams can't play against the Bulldogs in one of those two Ballarat games each season.
 

Teen Wolf

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There's probably something in that announcement for Ballarat considering that the expansion of the AFLW will require more grounds. The WBFC are currently in negotiations with the Ballarat Council in regard to renewing their contract. Possibly part of that negotiation may see at least one H&A AFLW game being being played at Mars Stadium per season in addition to the existing two senior games.

Ballarat did host a pre-season twilight AFLW game in 2018 with the Bulldogs v The Blues in front of a crowd of 4,500.
If things don't change enough by January with some of these border restrictions, Fremantle and West Coast playing a couple home AFLW games there is not unimaginable.

Ballarat did also host a pre-season AFLW game in 2019 between the Bulldogs and Collingwood, and Brooke Lochland broke her leg, and there was a light south easterly breeze...
and practice matches moved back to Footscray thereafter.
 

Roogal

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If things don't change enough by January with some of these border restrictions, Fremantle and West Coast playing a couple home AFLW games there is not unimaginable.

Ballarat did also host a pre-season AFLW game in 2019 between the Bulldogs and Collingwood, and Brooke Lochland broke her leg, and there was a light south easterly breeze...
Damn those light SE winds in Ballarat. I went out clubbing once in Ballarat during a light SE wind and woke up next day with a killer hangover. :sickv1:
 

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iameviljez

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A-League players say Mars Stadium is one of the worst playing surfaces
I wouldn't read too much into that as far as AFL is concerned. Soccer is a game where the pitch being billiard-table smooth really matters. For AFL, it really just needs to be kind-of flat.
 

Roogal

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I wouldn't read too much into that as far as AFL is concerned. Soccer is a game where the pitch being billiard-table smooth really matters. For AFL, it really just needs to be kind-of flat.
Nah, I think that it's really more of a rectangle pitch thing and the prejudice that soccer heads have against ovals. In fairness Ballarat has some of the the best sports oval surfaces in Australia with the local council having invested heavily since 2012 in a re-build of all of its major ovals, in addition to its hockey and soccer venues.

A2.jpg

Three of Ballarat's upgraded ovals include Mars Stadium (Centre), Northern Oval #2 (Bottom right), and Wendouree #1 (Top right)

The FFA seem to never have an issue with Ballarat's Morshead Park which is a great regional facility and has a surface that is exactly the same standard as Mars Stadium. But Morshead Park lacks a video screen, has seating for only 500 and has no media broadcast facilities which is why Mars Stadium was chosen by the FFA as the preferred temporary venue for the WUFC.

Moreshead Park 1.jpg


Moreshead Park.jpg
 

Roogal

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The video below is just a reminder of what the Mars Stadium oval went through to completely rebuild it in 2015-16 before construction of stands occurred. To think that back in the 70's and 80's North Ballarat FC used to play on a bog hole in the middle of a defunct (circa 1952) trotting track. So anybody who criticises the surface of Mars Stadium or who thinks that it may become waterlogged in heavy rain just simply does not know what they are talking about.

Of interest, where the North Ballarat Sports Club and North Ballarat #2 oval sits today was once the "Broadway Park" greyhound racing complex which was developed way back in 1935 on a former dairy farm owned by Mr Charlie "Plugger" Lockett. Old Charlie was the original "Plugger" and grandfather of Tony. Charlie became the curator of Broadway Park and had a small cottage on the site. Broadway Park held its last meeting in 1978 when Ballarat greyhound racing moved out to its present complex at Morshead Park in Redan.

The Locketts have a long association with the North Ballarat oval precinct. Obviously going back to Charlie Lockett, there was his son Howard "Plugger" Lockett who played football for North Ballarat, did a short stint in the VFL and later coached the North Ballarat FC in over 500 games and numerous BFL premierships. His son Tony "Plugger" Lockett cut his teeth as a junior and played through to the seniors with North Ballarat being coached by his dad before finally being picked up by the St Kilda FC in 1983. It would perhaps be a nice tilt to the Lockett family if any future grandstands that get constructed at the Mars Stadium are perhaps named the "Plugger Lockett" stand as a tilt to Charlie, Howard and Tony.




Broadway Park 1.jpg


Broadway Park Stands.jpg
 

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