Relocation within Melbourne?

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Bunk Moreland

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This is something I’ve thought about a few times.

It really doesn’t make much sense to me as to why it hasn’t been tried or even suggested.

Greater Melbourne is huge. If there’s not already 5 million population there will be any day now. And it’s still growing rapidly, forecast to overtake Sydney as Australia’s largest city.

Look at Sydney - with the second club, the AFL didn't just dump them into the SCG. They are very clear in wanting to capture Western Sydney. As Melbourne grows it continues to sprawl... for the outer suburbs, the CBD and hence footy (the MCG and Docklands) is a long way away.

Geelong’s stadium situation is the envy of many - city owned and a super-sweet deal which nets them a lot of money for every home game.

For partial / full relocation, look at where Melbourne clubs have taken home games with varying degrees of success. Hobart (population 232k), Launceston (87k), Cairns (152k), Darwin (149k), Ballarat (106k), Alice Springs! (26k)... (these are just from Wikipedia, where I think the numbers are sourced from the ABS).

Now what about this... what if a club were to look to make either a partial or even full relocation to say Casey - I use that as it's the largest LGA population in Melbourne. There are 340k people in Casey. Places like Narre Warren and Cranbourne are about 45 minutes from Melbourne (probably double that in peak hour). Bordering Casey (340k) are Monash (185k), Dandenong (166k), Knox (163k), Frankston (142k), Peninsula (166k) and Cardinia (107k). That's 1.3 million people. Even take away Monash, the closest to the current football centres in the CBD, and it's 1.1 million. And this isn't a takeover of Vietnam. This population is already completely football mad.

Why wouldn't a club be looking at this? And I mean doing it properly, not some token training base, etc. Play games there.

Yes, of course all these people already have teams. But this would be a generational play... playing games out there on their doorstep. That matters. They'd turn a lot of people, starting with the kids growing up in the area, by playing there and working the area.

Of course, a stadium would be needed... but Geelong isn't the only marginal seat in Victoria. A club could commit to a staged relocation and look for it to be built over time with the government and a team of the local councils. Like play a game there in two years. Then every few years, if development can happen... 3 games, 4 games, 6 games... perhaps all the way to 11. Mars Stadium, as a starting point, holds 12k and already hosts AFL footy, with plenty of room for expansion.

And of course, whenever there's been talk in the past of clubs relocating interstate... how much more palatable would it be for that club's current supporters if they knew they were only an hour down the road? Yeah it's not the city of Melbourne, but knowing they can make a reasonably short trip any time to see them play surely beats playing home games interstate.

For a smaller Melbourne club with an ambitious 20-30 year plan, I reckon it has powerhouse potential. I think Hawthorn knew this in the 90s, which is why they kept battling for Waverley. Surely the AFL wouldn't be against a club making a big effort to secure their future.
 

Kwality

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Quite right on the games currently moved out of Melbourne, not as if Geelong & Ballarat arent about the same distance out of town.
 

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Rob

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You're talking about a club taking an existential risk by shifting all (or at least a large majority) of it's home games to an outer suburban venue that is likely to be a poor cousin of their current home ground/s.

For what benefit? A few thousand extra fans some time in the future? Nah. There would need to be major financial incentives to do so, and who's going to provide those?

And that's assuming the funding would come for a stadium in the first place. Which it probably won't. A stadium in Casey isn't anywhere near the vote winner a stadium in Geelong is, partly because most people in Casey wouldn't give a sh*t that (insert small Vic club here) might play games in their area. Geelong could legit lose their team if their ground remained a suburban dump.
 

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Melbourne aligned with Casey, Hawks have always maintained a strong presence down that corridor and the Saints tried to catch the fringe moving to seaford. But i reckon that's going to be the extent.

No team would move their base out there permanently.

Biggest problem is there isn't much to sell in the outer burbs for players.
Geelong has its advantages with local players and the surf coast on its door step.
Casey offers what? Urban sprawl, traffic, shopping centres and an odyssey more drawn out than homer to get to the CBD.
 

Walshawk

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More a set of questions
The only question in your post is 'Why wouldn't a club consider this?'
Here are some answers.
1. AFL has contracts with MCG and owns Marvel, so they would not want any more games shifted elsewhere
2. Any move would result is a serious drop in crowds, corporate support, etc
3. Even a 30K stadium would cost $400Million and it would send any club broke immediately
4. They would alienate the majority of of existing fans.members in the hope a gaining a few more thousand in a specific area (seriously nobody would switch teams in Melbourne)
5. Players would hate it
In summary, there would be no AFL support for this, so it would result in the instant death of any club that tried it.
The reason that AFL crowds are holding when every other sport is falling is the quality of our centralised stadiums. The age of suburban clubs ended in 1999 when they closed Waverley.
 

Our Game

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The only question in your post is 'Why wouldn't a club consider this?'
Here are some answers.
1. AFL has contracts with MCG and owns Marvel, so they would not want any more games shifted elsewhere
2. Any move would result is a serious drop in crowds, corporate support, etc
3. Even a 30K stadium would cost $400Million and it would send any club broke immediately
4. They would alienate the majority of of existing fans.members in the hope a gaining a few more thousand in a specific area (seriously nobody would switch teams in Melbourne)
5. Players would hate it
In summary, there would be no AFL support for this, so it would result in the instant death of any club that tried it.
The reason that AFL crowds are holding when every other sport is falling is the quality of our centralised stadiums. The age of suburban clubs ended in 1999 when they closed Waverley.
Im with you Walshawk.

It would not work and whats more a large amount of the population in the booming outer suburbs like Casey and Wyndham are new migrants that do not have an interest in Australian Football as yet and are too busy setting themselves and their families up its their children that might become footy fans in the future.
 

footyfan1978

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This is something I’ve thought about a few times.

It really doesn’t make much sense to me as to why it hasn’t been tried or even suggested.

Greater Melbourne is huge. If there’s not already 5 million population there will be any day now. And it’s still growing rapidly, forecast to overtake Sydney as Australia’s largest city.

Look at Sydney - with the second club, the AFL didn't just dump them into the SCG. They are very clear in wanting to capture Western Sydney. As Melbourne grows it continues to sprawl... for the outer suburbs, the CBD and hence footy (the MCG and Docklands) is a long way away.

Geelong’s stadium situation is the envy of many - city owned and a super-sweet deal which nets them a lot of money for every home game.

For partial / full relocation, look at where Melbourne clubs have taken home games with varying degrees of success. Hobart (population 232k), Launceston (87k), Cairns (152k), Darwin (149k), Ballarat (106k), Alice Springs! (26k)... (these are just from Wikipedia, where I think the numbers are sourced from the ABS).

Now what about this... what if a club were to look to make either a partial or even full relocation to say Casey
Hello, wakey wakey, *******t Wayne Jackson closed down Waverley Park for ******* Docklands profits.

Dumbest move for the sport n my time of following league decisions.
 

Bunk Moreland

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You're talking about a club taking an existential risk by shifting all (or at least a large majority) of it's home games to an outer suburban venue that is likely to be a poor cousin of their current home ground/s.

For what benefit? A few thousand extra fans some time in the future? Nah. There would need to be major financial incentives to do so, and who's going to provide those?

And that's assuming the funding would come for a stadium in the first place. Which it probably won't. A stadium in Casey isn't anywhere near the vote winner a stadium in Geelong is, partly because most people in Casey wouldn't give a sh*t that (insert small Vic club here) might play games in their area. Geelong could legit lose their team if their ground remained a suburban dump.
The only question in your post is 'Why wouldn't a club consider this?'
Here are some answers.
1. AFL has contracts with MCG and owns Marvel, so they would not want any more games shifted elsewhere
2. Any move would result is a serious drop in crowds, corporate support, etc
3. Even a 30K stadium would cost $400Million and it would send any club broke immediately
4. They would alienate the majority of of existing fans.members in the hope a gaining a few more thousand in a specific area (seriously nobody would switch teams in Melbourne)
5. Players would hate it
In summary, there would be no AFL support for this, so it would result in the instant death of any club that tried it.
The reason that AFL crowds are holding when every other sport is falling is the quality of our centralised stadiums. The age of suburban clubs ended in 1999 when they closed Waverley.
TBH I don’t think a lot of these views are that current, they’re pretty ignorant to the reality of ‘Melbourne’ in 2020 and how much it’s changed.

Melbourne is huge. And it’s still one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities. The ‘outer suburbs’ are not what they used to be (within half an hour of town, etc). And the sprawl is only continuing as the growth continues. It’s very different to even 20 years ago. Frankston is 55 minutes from Melbourne. So is Cranbourne. Narre Warren is slightly closer time-wise thanks to direct freeway (which is a carpark most of the time anyway). These were country towns not so many decades ago. They’re now huge and thriving. They’re destinations for people now because they’re the only half-way affordable places that are nominally ‘Melbourne’.

Commuting to the CBD is extremely time-consuming and avoided where possible.

When Waverley closed there was 3.3 millon people in Melbourne. There’s now 5 million. Just FYI, that’s closing in on a population the size of Perth’s in additional people. A new stadium is totally unrealistic? I don’t think so.

Just the five LGAs I mentioned have a population almost the same as Adelaide and the growth isn’t slowing.

And attitudes to stadiums are very different. Waverley was closed over 20 years ago and the decisions to do so were made closer to 30 (and more) years ago. It’s hardly relevant due to that and also the fact that it’s not in a location I’m referring to anyway. Mulgrave might have been an outer suburb thirty years ago. It sure as hell isn’t now and I certainly wouldn’t be suggesting a stadium anywhere near it. It’d need to be closer to the centre of this population I’m talking about.

The same attitudes that closed Waverley also wanted Kardinia Park closed so Geelong world play at Docklands. As for playing in Ballarat? The notion of that would have been ridiculous at the time. Look at AFL footy in Geelong and Ballarat now and tell me things haven’t completely flipped. The CBD centralisation strategy is changing. The south-east is growing the same way now.

As for clubs taking a risk, for some it’s a necessity. They’re playing in small-medium towns and cities like Ballarat, Launceston, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs… Tassie for one looks like drying up. In the search for more options, you honestly think something like this, where there’s literally millions of footy fans closeby, shouldn’t be considered?

Yes they have teams already, but it’d have to be a long-term commitment to get the next generation. Local matters. These young people are further than ever from the CBD and not visiting there often. If there’s AFL footy close to home, you really think they aren’t going to want to go or support the club?

Money-wise it’d need support from local government, but I don’t think that’s unrealistic.
 
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telsor

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The AFL owns Marvel and gets money from the MCC Trust for high gate takings at the MCG.

The same AFL that does the fixture and controls how many games are played at each ground.

Do you think for a monent that the AFL is going to agree to (let alone put money into) a new stadium that would cause it to lose lots of money from Docklands/MCG?


If that wasn't enough for you, consider how badly the non-Vic clubs (and their fans) would lose their collective sh*t over having fewer games at the MCG (AKA the GF venue).


Obvious conclusion....There will be no more stadia in Melbourne.
 

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Take a moment to look overseas at other leagues that are growing, and how they're growing. The best example right now is the MLS in America, which is growing at an absolutely breakneck pace. Something very noticeable amongst MLS teams is the ones that get the highest attendances and media attention all have their stadiums around the city centre, whereas the ones with poor attendances, that are mostly ignored, are based in outer suburbs. That's not a coincidence.
 

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Bunk Moreland

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The AFL owns Marvel and gets money from the MCC Trust for high gate takings at the MCG.

The same AFL that does the fixture and controls how many games are played at each ground.

Do you think for a monent that the AFL is going to agree to (let alone put money into) a new stadium that would cause it to lose lots of money from Docklands/MCG?


If that wasn't enough for you, consider how badly the non-Vic clubs (and their fans) would lose their collective sh*t over having fewer games at the MCG (AKA the GF venue).


Obvious conclusion....There will be no more stadia in Melbourne.
How does this play with games being played in Launceston (4), Hobart (4), Ballarat (2) and Alice Springs?

Take a moment to look overseas at other leagues that are growing, and how they're growing. The best example right now is the MLS in America, which is growing at an absolutely breakneck pace. Something very noticeable amongst MLS teams is the ones that get the highest attendances and media attention all have their stadiums around the city centre, whereas the ones with poor attendances, that are mostly ignored, are based in outer suburbs. That's not a coincidence.
Any cities have ten MLS teams?
 

telsor

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How does this play with games being played in Launceston (4), Hobart (4), Ballarat (2) and Alice Springs?



Any cities have ten MLS teams?
There is a limit to how many games MCG & Docklands can play, and the AFL gets good PR from playing games in regional centers like them.



As for MLS...My first question would be 'what is MLS?', but really I think that question is overwhelmed by of a broader 'who cares' view on what they do. I can pretty much guarantee (yes, even without knowing who they are) that they're operating in a vastly different market to AFL so aren't really relevant.
 

Kwality

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As for MLS...My first question would be 'what is MLS?', but really I think that question is overwhelmed by of a broader 'who cares' view on what they do. I can pretty much guarantee (yes, even without knowing who they are) that they're operating in a vastly different market to AFL so aren't really relevant.
good question, tried mighty large stadium but the Google boys would have none of it.
 

Rob

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TBH I don’t think a lot of these views are that current, they’re pretty ignorant to the reality of ‘Melbourne’ in 2020 and how much it’s changed.

Melbourne is huge. And it’s still one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities. The ‘outer suburbs’ are not what they used to be (within half an hour of town, etc). And the sprawl is only continuing as the growth continues. It’s very different to even 20 years ago. Frankston is 55 minutes from Melbourne. So is Cranbourne. Narre Warren is slightly closer time-wise thanks to direct freeway (which is a carpark most of the time anyway). These were country towns not so many decades ago. They’re now huge and thriving. They’re destinations for people now because they’re the only half-way affordable places that are nominally ‘Melbourne’.

Commuting to the CBD is extremely time-consuming and avoided where possible.

When Waverley closed there was 3.3 millon people in Melbourne. There’s now 5 million. Just FYI, that’s closing in on a population the size of Perth’s in additional people. A new stadium is totally unrealistic? I don’t think so.

Just the five LGAs I mentioned have a population almost the same as Adelaide and the growth isn’t slowing.

And attitudes to stadiums are very different. Waverley was closed over 20 years ago and the decisions to do so were made closer to 30 (and more) years ago. It’s hardly relevant due to that and also the fact that it’s not in a location I’m referring to anyway. Mulgrave might have been an outer suburb thirty years ago. It sure as hell isn’t now and I certainly wouldn’t be suggesting a stadium anywhere near it. It’d need to be closer to the centre of this population I’m talking about.

The same attitudes that closed Waverley also wanted Kardinia Park closed so Geelong world play at Docklands. As for playing in Ballarat? The notion of that would have been ridiculous at the time. Look at AFL footy in Geelong and Ballarat now and tell me things haven’t completely flipped. The CBD centralisation strategy is changing. The south-east is growing the same way now.
Don't disagree with any of that. But for Ballarat, it's basically a risk free venture for the Dogs because they're paid large amounts of money to play a small number of games that would otherwise draw poor crowds in Melbourne. To be comparable to (say) Casey, you need someone to be prepared to pay for a stadium, someone to pay the club large amounts of money just to play, and only move a couple of games a year (which probably defeats the purpose of what you're suggesting the clubs do).

Those things are missing, which is why it won't happen.

As for clubs taking a risk, for some it’s a necessity. They’re playing in small-medium towns and cities like Ballarat, Launceston, Hobart, Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs… Tassie for one looks like drying up. In the search for more options, you honestly think something like this, where there’s literally millions of footy fans closeby, shouldn’t be considered?

Yes they have teams already, but it’d have to be a long-term commitment to get the next generation. Local matters. These young people are further than ever from the CBD and not visiting there often. If there’s AFL footy close to home, you really think they aren’t going to want to go or support the club?

Money-wise it’d need support from local government, but I don’t think that’s unrealistic.
No, it's not a necessity. The AFL effectively bankrolls every club - so there's no urgent need to make such major changes. Any club doing this is risking their existing supporter base to chase a new supporter base that may not ever come.

It would only work in a Ballarat style scenario - a small number of games entirely bankrolled by other parties played at a stadium paid for by other parties. Without that, no chance at all.

I'm not saying it is or isn't a good idea (to be honest, it has a lot of merit for a club with the balls to do it), only that in the current environment it simply won't happen. Not unless there's some mad promises and funding commitments from the various levels of government anyway.
 

Johnny Bananas

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Any cities have ten MLS teams?
If you're determined to play silly buggers to suit your own narrative and discount anything outside of it, have fun with that I suppose.

As for MLS...My first question would be 'what is MLS?', but really I think that question is overwhelmed by of a broader 'who cares' view on what they do. I can pretty much guarantee (yes, even without knowing who they are) that they're operating in a vastly different market to AFL so aren't really relevant.
What an incredibly short-sighted attitude. The point isn't what MLS is, or even where they operate, it's that they're the best example of a trend seen across the world, where sports are better attended when they're near the city rather than out in the boondocks. The ease of transport, bigger catchment area and having pubs near the stadium are all benefits.
 

telsor

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If you're determined to play silly buggers to suit your own narrative and discount anything outside of it, have fun with that I suppose.


What an incredibly short-sighted attitude. The point isn't what MLS is, or even where they operate, it's that they're the best example of a trend seen across the world, where sports are better attended when they're near the city rather than out in the boondocks. The ease of transport, bigger catchment area and having pubs near the stadium are all benefits.

That's just common sense, nothing to do with MLS. The VFL worked that out back when they got rid of Waverley.
 

Gigantor

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The only question in your post is 'Why wouldn't a club consider this?'
Here are some answers.
1. AFL has contracts with MCG and owns Marvel, so they would not want any more games shifted elsewhere
2. Any move would result is a serious drop in crowds, corporate support, etc
3. Even a 30K stadium would cost $400Million and it would send any club broke immediately
4. They would alienate the majority of of existing fans.members in the hope a gaining a few more thousand in a specific area (seriously nobody would switch teams in Melbourne)
5. Players would hate it
In summary, there would be no AFL support for this, so it would result in the instant death of any club that tried it.
The reason that AFL crowds are holding when every other sport is falling is the quality of our centralised stadiums. The age of suburban clubs ended in 1999 when they closed Waverley.
Sums it up well.
I mean a great ground like Princes Park, 30k capacity, was deemed to be too far out of the CBD.
Fantasy to think anyone is going to go to a game in Cranbourne, Gembrook, or even Tarneit!
 

Johnny Bananas

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That's just common sense, nothing to do with MLS. The VFL worked that out back when they got rid of Waverley.
And the point is that it's still being proven over and over in the modern age, long after Waverley. Some things have changed with time, like trams being ripped up in the 60s and now making a resurgence, but this trend hasn't.
 

Gigantor

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I get it now...MLS is soccer, isn't it?

That would explain the zealots who think it's the be all and end all of *everything*
Yes, it is soccer, a smidgeon above the A-League in quality (mayber), but despite how many aussie soccer fans like to talk it up (not sure why), on the American sporting landscape, the biggest professional sports market on Earth, it is absolutely puny.
In fact, more Mexicans than Americans watch broacasts of games, and MLS' TV deal is a fraction of that of the AFL's.
 

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