Mars Stadium Ballarat

Seedsfan

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For the record, a very successful game. ARU Australia and Melbourne Rebels were pleased with the support from what is not a traditional Rugby Union community. They anticipated a crowd to this pre-season game of around 2000 and it seems that the numbers were slightly higher with the crowd definitely favouring the Rebels.
Probably see them host a few of the Melbourne Rising games in the NRC
 

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Roogal

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JLT Community Series game this Sunday 10th March at Mars Stadium. Western Bulldogs v Saint Kilda, and It's Victoria Labor Day long weekend.

Might anticipate a decent crowd in Ballarat with a brilliant weather forecast of 26 degrees, sunny and 20 kmh westerly wind and many not having to rush off to work on Monday. There will be plenty to see and do at Lake Wendouree with the Begonia Festival.

Kick off at 4pm.
MG_2822.jpg
 
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Kwality

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For the record, a very successful game. ARU Australia and Melbourne Rebels were pleased with the support from what is not a traditional Rugby Union community. They anticipated a crowd to this pre-season game of around 2000 and it seems that the numbers were slightly higher with the crowd definitely favouring the Rebels.
Guesstimate of what the JLT game needs to be classed as a success?
 

Roogal

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Guesstimate of what the JLT game needs to be classed as a success?
Going by average JLT crowd figures ... probably anything north of 4000. They did get just shy of 6000 in Shepparton last weekend and that was to watch Richmond. But crowds for JLT can be lower because they really are just friendlies with no trophy or prize at the end, but the AFL does charge considerable entry fees. At the other end of the spectrum North Melb and Melb drew only 1800 to their game in Hobart last year.
 

Roogal

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The State Budget last night authorised the $6.6 million promised in the last State Election to fix many of the gripes and grumbles with the first stage of Mars Stadium. It won't address issues such as parking, PT access or lighting, but the $6.6 million will be used to:
  • Build a new covered entrance with ticket booths and check in points at Gate 2.
  • Build new permanent toliets at the Southern and South-eastern portions of the ground.
  • Provide more available covered seating in the Eureka and Eastern Stands.
  • Provide improved catering facilities.
These are mainly fixes to mainly improve conditions for spectators who occupy the standing areas of the ground. As I said, they won't increase capacity, address issues with lighting, improve parking access or enhance public transport access. Those are the bigger ticket items which may have to wait for another politically opportune time, i.e. as part of a lead up to an election/bi-election or perhaps when the Western Bulldogs have to decide if they will commit to Ballarat beyond 2021. :think: The State Government funded the Ballarat Council to commission a report though Price Waterhouse Cooper to conduct a full review and study of the ground's future needs and development. Their report was fianlised last August just in time for the State Election. The rport is believed to have addressed immediate concerns and fixes as well as strategically looking at the longer term bigger ticket items. It is believed that the $6.6 million allocated addresses the first part of that report.

It's a question of priorities. The Ballarat Council already has an extensive wish list of major projects ahead of this one for which they are seeking Government funding and the Federal Election outcome certainly did not help as Ballarat rarely (if ever) comes up on the Liberals radar. The Council and Committee for Ballarat seek to have the city's historic Her Majesty's Theatre restored (for which there is a $5 million shortfall, to have the city's airport main runway re-built and lengthened to 1800m (Costing $14 million) along with the building of an Emergency Services Hub (another $50 million), an outer Western bypass road (Stage 1 built) and which will cost another $100 million to complete the second and final stage, a new all-purpose waste treatment centre, a new Health Research Centre to add on to the local Base Hospital's already extensive building programe and the list goes on. :)
 

BlueJet

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The State Budget last night authorised the $6.6 million promised in the last State Election to fix many of the gripes and grumbles with the first stage of Mars Stadium. It won't address issues such as parking, PT access or lighting, but the $6.6 million will be used to:
  • Build a new covered entrance with ticket booths and check in points at Gate 2.
  • Build new permanent toliets at the Southern and South-eastern portions of the ground.
  • Provide more available covered seating in the Eureka and Eastern Stands.
  • Provide improved catering facilities.
These are mainly fixes to mainly improve conditions for spectators who occupy the standing areas of the ground. As I said, they won't increase capacity, address issues with lighting, improve parking access or enhance public transport access. Those are the bigger ticket items which may have to wait for another politically opportune time, i.e. as part of a lead up to an election/bi-election or perhaps when the Western Bulldogs have to decide if they will commit to Ballarat beyond 2021. :think: The State Government funded the Ballarat Council to commission a report though Price Waterhouse Cooper to conduct a full review and study of the ground's future needs and development. Their report was fianlised last August just in time for the State Election. The rport is believed to have addressed immediate concerns and fixes as well as strategically looking at the longer term bigger ticket items. It is believed that the $6.6 million allocated addresses the first part of that report.

It's a question of priorities. The Ballarat Council already has an extensive wish list of major projects ahead of this one for which they are seeking Government funding and the Federal Election outcome certainly did not help as Ballarat rarely (if ever) comes up on the Liberals radar. The Council and Committee for Ballarat seek to have the city's historic Her Majesty's Theatre restored (for which there is a $5 million shortfall, to have the city's airport main runway re-built and lengthened to 1800m (Costing $14 million) along with the building of an Emergency Services Hub (another $50 million), an outer Western bypass road (Stage 1 built) and which will cost another $100 million to complete the second and final stage, a new all-purpose waste treatment centre, a new Health Research Centre to add on to the local Base Hospital's already extensive building programe and the list goes on. :)
Good post RG, very informative.

On SM-G965F using BigFooty.com mobile app
 

Kwality

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Well put Rood
given I'm influenced by the WA / Optus argument on tourism, the airport upgrades interest me. AImed at the non Vic clubs clearly, does it suggest an acceptance the venue won't pull Melbournisns in the numbers needed ?
 

Roogal

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Well put Rood
given I'm influenced by the WA / Optus argument on tourism, the airport upgrades interest me. AImed at the non Vic clubs clearly, does it suggest an acceptance the venue won't pull Melbournisns in the numbers needed ?
My understanding is that the Ballarat games are not specifically targeted at Melburnians. Presently the percentages at the games suggest that about 5000 of the crowds are local, 2000 interstate, and the balance being diehards from Melbourne. The Western Bulldogs are aiming to eventually build a bigger support base starting at targeting school children who will be paying members in their own rite in years to come. By sticking with Ballarat they aim to quadruple their support within the City by winning over the next generations of supporters across Ballarat and in the surrounding smaller cities and towns where they are targeting their sports clinics and other promotional activities. At the moment Tourism Ballarat are happy with the 2000+ South Australian supporters who journey to the games by bus, train and car. It's a 6.5 hour easy drive from Adelaide to Ballarat (about the same time that it takes to drive from Melbourne to Mildura).

The upgrade of Ballarat Airport is primarily targeted at securing an Emergency Services Hub and operating as Victoria's bushfire air wing hub during Summer. A possible spin-off if the upgrade occurs may well be future connecting Qantaslink Dash-8 flights direct to Sydney and Adelaide as Bendigo has recently commenced. That would be more about promoting business rather than tourism, although there might be key times in the future where Tourism Ballarat may promote major events interstate. The ALP did promise to fund upgrading the airport during the election, but the Coalition didn't, so it looks like the airport might have to wait another three years ;)
 
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Our Game

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5000 out of a population of 110,00 is a very small % of Ballarat and dosent justify much more spent on this white elephant!

As for the WB supporters how hard is it to drive 1 hour or so from Melbourne to Ballarat?They do claim after all to have 42,000 members of is that BS?
 

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Roogal

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5000 out of a population of 110,00 is a very small % of Ballarat and dosent justify much more spent on this white elephant!

As for the WB supporters how hard is it to drive 1 hour or so from Melbourne to Ballarat?They do claim after all to have 42,000 members of is that BS?
If it has escaped your notice, not all 42,000 members turn up to their games in Melbourne either. Ballarat is not about drawing supporters and members out of Melbourne, but is about getting on the front foot over Soccer and reclaiming Aussie Rules in the West and growing the Western Bulldogs support base West of Melbourne.

The numbers curently in Ballarat are no different to North Melbourne's experience with Hobart (which is a bigger city). Hawthorn likewise didn't set the world on fire when they initially went to Launceston. I'm curious to know on what basis or measure that you are using to label a 5000 seat, 12,000 capacity oval in Ballarat a "white elephant"? You seem very quick to judge on the basis of four AFL games having been played at the ground without considering the economic benefits that Ballarat has reaped since Stage 1 of the Stadium was officially opened. The Ballarat Chamber of Commerce employ a computer program that tracks economic activity around the city, in particular in its hospitality business sector. They have conclusive data that indicates a $1.2 million spike with each AFL game. Put your head in the sand and dispute their accurate data if you choose to, and if you do then you have nothing to seriously contribute to this thread.

Consider that the ground is perfectly sized for a city of 110,000 people which is projected to grow to 140,000 by 2035, and to be possibly as big as what Geelong is now by 2050. It already gets filled for both local league finals (CHFL and BFNL). Additionally the ground is used for AFL Cup TAC games, the TAC Cup final series games, the three-day National Indigenous Football League Canival (which brings in 2000 indigenous visitors) annually, pre-season JLT and AFLW games as well as having hosted Super Rugby and possibly about to host the new Western United Soccer Club for five seasonal games until their new stadium is eventually built in Western Mebourne. Oddly, Western United are not considering using Whitten Oval as an interim facility???

As an AFL venue, Mars Stadium definitely has its limitations (lighting, lack of covered seating, a train station, and car parking) and they are well documented, discussed and the politicians and council are well aware of those. Those who have gone to the four AFL games so far have all expressed support for the ground and its atmosphere by describing it as being like "a good old fashioned day at the footy", "like football used to be". They like the intimacy of the ground and the built sections offer close and elevated seating which gives spectators a feeling of being close to the action like they can't experience at the MCG or at Marvel.

As I said, the grounds limitations are well known by the decision makers and they now have the decisions to make as to whether to spend more money to develop it further and to consolidate 2 permanent AFL home and away seasonal games being played there or to leave it as it is. If they choose to do the latter, then the Western Bulldogs will no doubt return to Melbourne and remain Melbourne's smallest (and continue to struggle) club. Ballarat, would still be left with a first class AFL standard 12,000 capacity facility which would benefit regional football, cricket, soccer and rugby.
 
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