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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Dogs till i die

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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.

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.
Roogal, have been a big supporter of Mars and have attended and largely enjoyed my 2 visits there. It does need some immediate improvements to facilities as you suggest. I hope the Bulldogs persist and grow their presence in Ballarat and footy remains the no.1 tenant there.

In reality though, the Bulldogs will survive with or without Ballarat.

The Bulldogs are not struggling or will "continue to struggle" as you suggest. They have accumulated profits of around $10m in the last 6 seasons, are now in a "net asset" position, they have won 4 premierships since 2014 (AFL, AFLW and 2 VFL) and are a much improved entity on and off the field since the last century.

The smallest Melbourne club? Depends on what statistic you can pull, the year you pull it from and in any case, being smallest does not necessarily mean the "worst" or most vulnerable.
 

Roogal

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Roogal, have been a big supporter of Mars and have attended and largely enjoyed my 2 visits there. It does need some immediate improvements to facilities as you suggest. I hope the Bulldogs persist and grow their presence in Ballarat and footy remains the no.1 tenant there.

In reality though, the Bulldogs will survive with or without Ballarat.

The Bulldogs are not struggling or will "continue to struggle" as you suggest. They have accumulated profits of around $10m in the last 6 seasons, are now in a "net asset" position, they have won 4 premierships since 2014 (AFL, AFLW and 2 VFL) and are a much improved entity on and off the field since the last century.

The smallest Melbourne club? Depends on what statistic you can pull, the year you pull it from and in any case, being smallest does not necessarily mean the "worst" or most vulnerable.
That's fair enough, yes indeed the Bulldogs will prevail, they seem at the moment to be committed to developing their brand further afield west of Melbourne and given the way that Soccer is growing in influence across the west of Melbourne and beyond then it's not a bad thing that the Bulldogs are establishing a 'Colony' (for want of a better word) in Ballarat. I believe that the Western Bulldogs should be applauded for getting on the front foot with Ballarat over Soccer. We must not underestimate the appeal and influence of Soccer and the way that it is now growing after numerous false starts in Australia over the last four decades.

Even in Ballarat, the local soccer competition has secured equal funding to develop facilities as what Aussie Rules has in the last several years. The main soccer ground at Morshead Park had $13 million spent building three new pitches and a new A Grade pavilion and stand, while the Wendouree West Oval (Where Mick Malthouse played his first games of football) is being converted into a $7 million soccer ground.

The Ballarat Council aren't sitting on their hands with Mars Stadium either, there is soon another $6.6 million to be spent at the ground to build permanent toilets and gateways, improve catering and add more available seating. The council have been negotiating hard for the new Western United Soccer Team to use the ground as one of its home grounds for three seasons until their new stadium is built at Tarneit. But at least the increased usage of Mars Stadium (by Soccer) will possibly prompt its further development for the long term benefit of AFL and cricket.

Some may ask why are Western United using Mars? I understand that the deal with Western United will be 9 home games at GMHBA Stadium and 3 at Mars per-season between 2020-2022. They have chosen Mars over the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility because it can presently only hold around several thousand and they couldn't host more than 9 games in Geelong because of scheduling clashing with the GFC usage of GMHBA.
 

Kwality

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The Bulldogs are not struggling or will "continue to struggle" as you suggest. They have accumulated profits of around $10m in the last 6 seasons, are now in a "net asset" position, they have won 4 premierships since 2014 (AFL, AFLW and 2 VFL) and are a much improved entity on and off the field since the last century.
They seek to move 2 games out of Melbourne for money reasons only IMHO - what sort of dollars go the Dogs away for this FIXture, who pays.
As one who acknowledges that the number (supply) of AFL games in Melbourne exceeds the demand for bums on seats, I support the Dogs admin pursuing these games.

I trust you've based your comments on your clubs viabiliy on your review of the financials not the PR puff piece commentary.
 

Roogal

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They seek to move 2 games out of Melbourne for money reasons only IMHO - what sort of dollars go the Dogs away for this FIXture, who pays.
As one who acknowledges that the number (supply) of AFL games in Melbourne exceeds the demand for bums on seats, I support the Dogs admin pursuing these games.

I trust you've based your comments on your clubs viabiliy on your review of the financials not the PR puff piece commentary.
My understanding is that the Ballarat Deal is worth around an extra $1.5 million into the coffers of the WBFC per season. It is less than what North and the Hawks get for playing in Tassie, but the Roos and Hawks play three to four games in Tassie per season too. Also the WBFC do not pay a cent back to the Ballarat Council for using Mars Stadium whereas they pay a percentage (of the gate as all clubs do) for usage of Marvel. Clubs like NMFC, HFC, and MFC make good coin out of travelling to regional centres where they are sponsored generously for playing there. Certainly North's bottom line would not be as healthy today without Hobart (remember that back in 2008, North were carrying $8 million of debt and nobody thought that they had a future in Melbourne much less the AFL). When the Bulldogs committed to playing football in Ballarat in 2015, they still had only won one Premiership (61 years earlier), they were still in debt and their membership was hovering around 32,000. Yes what a difference a Premiership in 2016 made. Their membership has jumped to a smidgin over 44,000 of which some 4000 are attributed to Ballarat and their club has gone back into the Black on the balance sheets.

They are to be applauded for turning it all around, and I am glad that they did.
 

Rob

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My understanding is that the Ballarat Deal is worth around an extra $1.5 million into the coffers of the WBFC per season.
Not a bad earner given that's roughly $110 for every person that attended the venue for the 2 games there in 2018.

Who does pay that anyway? Ballarat council?
 

The Punter

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Not a bad earner given that's roughly $110 for every person that attended the venue for the 2 games there in 2018.

Who does pay that anyway? Ballarat council?
Not to mention the compulsory acquisition and other associated legal costs.

All because of a Sharon Knight thought bubble, implemented without the knowledge of the NBFC Board, who wanted pre-season games and nothing more.
 

Kwality

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My understanding is that the Ballarat Deal is worth around an extra $1.5 million into the coffers of the WBFC per season. It is less than what North and the Hawks get for playing in Tassie, but the Roos and Hawks play three to four games in Tassie per season too. Also the WBFC do not pay a cent back to the Ballarat Council for using Mars Stadium whereas they pay a percentage (of the gate as all clubs do) for usage of Marvel. Clubs like NMFC, HFC, and MFC make good coin out of travelling to regional centres where they are sponsored generously for playing there. Certainly North's bottom line would not be as healthy today without Hobart (remember that back in 2008, North were carrying $8 million of debt and nobody thought that they had a future in Melbourne much less the AFL). When the Bulldogs committed to playing football in Ballarat in 2015, they still had only won one Premiership (61 years earlier), they were still in debt and their membership was hovering around 32,000. Yes what a difference a Premiership in 2016 made. Their membership has jumped to a smidgin over 44,000 of which some 4000 are attributed to Ballarat and their club has gone back into the Black on the balance sheets.

They are to be applauded for turning it all around, and I am glad that they did.
Who is paying, do we know?
 

The_Wookie

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Who is paying, do we know?
Vic Gov.

The Western Bulldogs have landed a multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with the Victorian government that could lead to Ballarat hosting a home-and-away game as soon as 2017, and the Dogs play as many as three matches annually at transformed Eureka Stadium in future.

Considered a coup by the Bulldogs – not to mention a significant financial windfall - believed to be worth $3million-$5 million over five years – the deal was sealed quietly in Ballarat on Friday. It will be writ large, however, when the eyes of the football world turn to the MCG on Saturday night and the Dogs play their first final for five years wearing shorts emblazoned with "Ballarat" logos.
 

aCunningPlan

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Not to mention the compulsory acquisition and other associated legal costs.

All because of a Sharon Knight thought bubble, implemented without the knowledge of the NBFC Board, who wanted pre-season games and nothing more.
Get your hand off it, The Courier were pushing this for years and years even before it was Labor policy. It had, still has, popular support among the Ballarat voting public.
 
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Roogal

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Who is paying, do we know?
To the best of my knowledge the State Government through Tourism Victoria in a deal not unlike other sponsorships in QLD, TAS and the NT. These deals encourage metropolitan focus upon regional areas which promotes not only tourism but oddly is promoting growth of the regional cities as not justa reasonable but as attractive and afffordable alternatives. Strangely the State Government don't want 90% of the State's population all living in Melbourne in 20 years time. By encouraging the decentralisation of industry, sport, culture, arts and government then Victoria and Melbourne hopefully won't get to that dilema.

This state sponsored promotion doesn't just limit itself with sport, this sort of promotion has been happening with the arts, industy and government departments in regional areas for years. It just took AFL footy 30 years to catch up. ;)
 

Roogal

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Get your hand off it, The Courier were pushing this for years and years even before it because Labor policy. It has, still has, popular support among the Ballarat voting public.
Indeed ... you are dead right. The Courier worked along with other influencial key Ballarat business, commerce and government groups back since 2008 under a promotional campaign called "Think Big Ballarat". The program sought to secure AFL games and other big sporting and performance events by developing Eureka Stadium as well as the new Sports and Evens Centre.

Initailly it was North Melborne that expressed a wish to secure games in Ballarat in 2010 with the Brumby Government promising $33 million to develop the facilites by 2012. The Libs won the 2010 State election and the deal was killed politically in Melbourne. It certainly wasn't dead in Ballarat where their lobby had simply regrouped and lined up their ducks in time for the 2014 State election.
 

Roogal

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Not to mention the compulsory acquisition and other associated legal costs.

All because of a Sharon Knight thought bubble, implemented without the knowledge of the NBFC Board, who wanted pre-season games and nothing more.
The compulsory acquisition turned to the Ballarat rate-payers and Councils favour in the end. North Ballarat FC were trying to play hard ball against the Council and AFL. They tried to demand concessions and a split of profits by denying access to their Social Club facilities on AFL game days despite the brand new stadium that had been built on 'Council' owned land which they already directly benefitted by. And of course the NBFC had been so hard done by that the Council and Government had fully funded the complete reconstuction of their No2 oval.

In the end the Ballarat Council (to thier credit) called the NBFCs bluff, much to the support of AFL Victoria and the BFNL and compulsorily acquired their Social club building and car park. Now the Ballarat North Sports Club lease the facilities back from council for $400,000 per year and the council controls and manages the entire facility as it should be ... win, win in most people's books.
 
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