Western Bulldogs and their partnership with Ballarat a success

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Below. I invite you all to study this shot. It is not the greatest shot of the stadium from the point of view of conveying the game happening below, or the crowd or even the facility from an architect's point of view. That is not what struck my interest about this shot. This shot is strategic, that's what I told Luke Parker (the man who took the shot) and I will tell you all why. If I was to explain to people what the limitations and potential of this facility were in one photo, then here it is.

Looking at the ground we can easily see the 'built form', but we also easily see what isn't there. What hasn't been developed is that which faces the main road access (Creswick Road (Midland Highway)), and the city, and yet that is where perhaps some of it's biggest future development will occur. To the top of the stadium we see the Midland highway which is still a largely undeveloped two lane road with very wide unsealed shoulders that have potential to be widened into a four lane divided road with significant further space again to construct bus parking drop points. To the other side of the road we see the rail line that still has ample space to construct a special-events platform and which is situated only 3 km from the main railway station.

To the top left of the stadium on the other side of the rail line is a large clear area which has been identified by the local council for the construction of a large 1700 space car park in the 2015 Ballarat Major Events Precinct Master Plan.

We need to consider that in 1999, Launceston hosted its first game of AFL football at York Park in a largely undeveloped ground that consisted of scaffold stands. Last Saturday, Ballarat took it's first step in what I said many months ago to forumers to not be too judgmental about. I said then that what they would see on Sat 19 August would be a new ground with the basics and not an Etihad Stadium. I said then that the road access would be limited, the facilities in some respects basic, and capacity would be limited by those factors. But this shot tells the story as it is and more importantly it also speaks volumes about the potential.

And P.S. On a more serious note ... Where the F#@k are all the players on the Southern end of the oval? There's nobody within 60 metres of the bloody goal! I bet that the bloody Dogs were supposed to be kicking to that end when this shot was taken!

20901564_10154594086666441_1973937984635897926_o.jpg
 
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Below. I invite you all to study this shot. It is not the greatest shot of the stadium from the point of view of conveying the game happening below, or the crowd or even the facility from an architect's point of view. That is not what struck my interest about this shot. This shot is strategic, that's what I told Luke Parker (the man who took the shot) and I will tell you all why. If I was to explain to people what the limitations and potential of this facility were in one photo, then here it is.

Looking at the ground we can easily see the 'built form', but we also easily see what isn't there. What hasn't been developed is that which faces the main road access (Creswick Road (Midland Highway)), and the city, and yet that is where perhaps some of it's biggest future development will occur. To the top of the stadium we see the Midland highway which is still a largely undeveloped two lane road with very wide unsealed shoulders that have potential to be widened into a four lane divided road with significant further space again to construct bus parking drop points. To the other side of the road we see the rail line that still has ample space to construct a special-events platform and which is situated only 3 km from the main railway station.

To the top left of the stadium on the other side of the rail line is a large clear area which has been identified by the local council for the construction of a large 1700 space car park in the 2015 Ballarat Major Events Precinct Master Plan.

We need to consider that in 1999, Launceston hosted its first game of AFL football at York Park in a largely undeveloped ground that consisted of scaffold stands. Last Saturday, Ballarat took it's first step in what I said many months ago to forumers to not be too judgmental about. I said then that what they would see on Sat 19 August would be a new ground with the basics and not an Etihad Stadium. I said then that the road access would be limited, the facilities in some respects basic, and capacity would be limited by those factors. But this shot tells the story as it is and more importantly it also speaks volumes about the potential.

20901564_10154594086666441_1973937984635897926_o.jpg

All this speaks to you wanting a team to be firmly based in Ballarat in the distant future and/or playing a significant amount of games there does it not?

The government are not going to pour billions of dollars into a stadium for 1-2 games a year

Sorry but I have no interest in the dogs playing more games in Ballarat no matter what development they do long term and I'd suggest most dog fans would agree.

If Ballarats long term plan is to have an AFL team then they should start developing the Rebels and take a long term stance to make them their team. But to slowly dwindle the number of games out of Melbourne to a co-share entity with Ballarat is not what dogs fans would want even if they build an Etihad stadium to play in up there.
 

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Will there be more seats/higher capacity next year?
No idea, I doubt it, if that were to be the case then announcements would have been made by now. Consider that it is an election year, we'll wait for the promises ;-) The ground can clearly hold more than 11,200 but it's other factors that limit it and that's also where money needs to be spent.

The government only recently received a report auditing all stadiums across Victoria and they are currently prioritising and formulating their announcements and plans for major stadia probably as part of their 2018 election campaign. Other stadiums in the frame also include Stage 5 of Kardinia Park who want $90 million, the Albert Park Athletics Centre, the AFL want $300 million for Etihad Stadium, the MCG want $1 billion over ten years, Melbourne Park are getting $200 million and meanwhile Ballarat may pick up another $15 million.
 
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No idea, I doubt it, it is an election year, we'll wait for the promises ;-)

How long did it take them to build the new stand?

Even if they get money it will take longer than 12 months to plan and build so I would suggest no more capacity until at least 2019 and then constriction could actually lessen it for a year could it not?

Or have they already plans for future works ready to go?
 
Oh I get it but the difference is Tasmanians can't get in their cars and drove an hour up the road and watch any Victorian team they want where as Ballaratians(is that what they call themselves :) can.

The Tasmanians are geographical hindered where as ballarat people are not.

I would assume if you did a poll of who people from the area support the Bulldogs would be quite low on the list and I personally don't see that changing much even with time but we shall see I guess.
It's also an investment for the future. We may not be turning any adults but the most fickle of fans from supporting a different club to the Bulldogs, but I am positive the move will pay dividends over the next generation, provided we commit and do it properly - and Saturday showed we are on the right path with it.

If kids have a number of players visiting schools, see that the Bulldogs are playing in their region, are given free flags when walking through the gate, have Bulldogs plastered all over the Ballarat Courier and on billboards in the streets etc, they'll jump on. That translates into memberships in 10-15 year's time (because they do live within an easy drive from Melbourne, unlike Tassie fans who probably wouldn't purchase a membership if they can't ever get to games).

It's a unique thing to have and something we can't really do in Melbourne where we are sharing the city with 9 other clubs.

Other than just targeting new arrivals into the Western suburbs, its surely the biggest area of potential future growth we have access to. You can't pot the club for sticking resources into it.
 
All this speaks to you wanting a team to be firmly based in Ballarat in the distant future and/or playing a significant amount of games there does it not?

The government are not going to pour billions of dollars into a stadium for 1-2 games a year

Sorry but I have no interest in the dogs playing more games in Ballarat no matter what development they do long term and I'd suggest most dog fans would agree.

If Ballarats long term plan is to have an AFL team then they should start developing the Rebels and take a long term stance to make them their team. But to slowly dwindle the number of games out of Melbourne to a co-share entity with Ballarat is not what dogs fans would want even if they build an Etihad stadium to play in up there.
It will be used outside of the two AFL games though. The Central Highlands Football League and Ballarat Football Leagues will use it for the grand finals, AFLW and potentially Big Bash along with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels and North Ballarat Roosters teams who already use it full time as their home deck every other week. In other words, it will be used as much, if not more than Simonds Stadium and the govt are more than willing to fund the improvements there, so why not Ballarat?

But billions is an overstatement anyway, they have spent $21.5M so far which was basically tear the oval up, rotate it and construct the current facilities. So hardly an expensive exercise.
 
How long did it take them to build the new stand?

Even if they get money it will take longer than 12 months to plan and build so I would suggest no more capacity until at least 2019 and then constriction could actually lessen it for a year could it not?

Or have they already plans for future works ready to go?
Plans already in place, just waiting for funding to do further developments. An extra two stages are planned on, depending on what money is allocated to the project.
 
One thing that could really push the ground ahead is the push for the Commonwealth games to be held by a group of Regional Victorian cities. The stadium would be a key plank of that strategy and the money would be there for such an event no doubt.
 
It took me an hour to get there from the outer west and I've sometimes taken longer to get to the G.

Easy drive, spend the weekend up there if you like and tap into a footy mad region. Looks like the club has been embraced by the city as well.
 
One thing that could really push the ground ahead is the push for the Commonwealth games to be held by a group of Regional Victorian cities. The stadium would be a key plank of that strategy and the money would be there for such an event no doubt.
Fair call, that. Although given its a bid for the 2030 games, I would expect nothing to be announced regarding that within the next 6-8yrs though.
 
It took me an hour to get there from the outer west and I've sometimes taken longer to get to the G.

Easy drive, spend the weekend up there if you like and tap into a footy mad region. Looks like the club has been embraced by the city as well.
The club has put the groundwork in, something the Roos failed to really capitalise on. Dogs do their community camp there each year, have opened up an office in one of the main streets of Ballarat and has Brett Goodes up there heading all the initiatives. The Dogs are not doing it half assed, going all or nothing which is the only way to approach this kinda thing.
 

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Prefer the club mentions the word "fortress" after they have won a few games there. Club was premature with the fortress talk before the Port game.
 
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Now I am amused and seriously against my better judgement I am responding to a man who cannot see a forest for the trees. This is about expanding your club's (not mine ... I barrack for the Kangaroos) reach and heartland into regional greater western Victoria beyond the tram tracks. Beyond Caroline Springs is a population of 400,000 and a township of 102,600 (2016) that is pitching itself as the Regional Capital of Western Victoria and that is forecast to be bigger than Hobart in 30-40 years time.

The Western Bulldogs are looking strategically at this region as a natural extention of Western Melbourne. They see that tapping into this regional city that Western Victorians look at as their regional capital (where they go for tertiary and post tertiary (University) education, for government services, for primary health care and services, to shop, and for their entertainment) as their natural hub. The WBFC see the opportunity to tap into that market and to take ownership of it by building the perception of taking ownership of Ballarat.

The WBFC have been strategic as I said about this. "Strategic" means looking at the bigger picture. The WBFC have done just that. They have been in schools since 2014 across Western Victoria promoting their brand and the fact that they are now based in Ballarat. This has a significant psychological influence on future generations of school children who now perceive the Bulldogs as their natural team. So the 800 new members that the WBFC got this year alone from just Ballarat turns into 8000 in ten years time from across the immediate region. The club will not grow that much in Melbourne alone if they just stay based at the Whitten Oval and play all home games in Etihad, and periodically venture out of the city into the West of Victoria trying to convince everybody that they are the natural team of choice.

It doesn't work that way. It takes years to build bonds and loyalty with communities. The Hawks have 10,000 Tasmanian members from the north of Tasmania (population 200,000) which they have built since 1999, while North Melbourne have garnered just over 5,000 after four years from Hobart. The Bulldogs had the choice in 2013, to stay a Melbourne based team or to grow their brand and broaden their appeal. Changing their name alone in 1997 from Footscray to the Western Bulldogs didn't work on its own because that gesture alone was seen for what it was ... hollow. To be the true Western Bulldogs they had to expand.

Remember, that it was the Western Bulldogs Football Club who insisted to the AFL and the State Government that North Melbourne had no natural claim to Ballarat and they (the Western Bulldogs) got North Melbourne booted from the region. Make no mistake, North Melbourne didn't leave voluntarily. YOUR CLUB WANTED IT, right or wrong. They wanted Ballarat. That's why you are there. Not my decision.

I rest the Western Bulldogs case!

Great response. For me, it's like creating another Geelong. Getting the people in Ballarat and surrounding areas to feel like they have an empathy with this football club. If we can win enough games over many years, and if we can take the people with us, this will be seen as an outstanding initiative.

The special Ballarat welcome, the uniqueness and homeliness of a superb country football ground, the many interactions between club and community as initiated by Brett Goodes......these can make this an incredible tourism, educational and football experience that will drive through generations....if handled the right way in the future.
 
Not sure how this is profitable for you guys? dogs members get this week as a replacement home game. For every member that swipes in, you need to pay Hawthorn. What if 20k turn up, surely that would make Ballarat unprofitable?
 
Not sure how this is profitable for you guys? dogs members get this week as a replacement home game. For every member that swipes in, you need to pay Hawthorn. What if 20k turn up, surely that would make Ballarat unprofitable?

The club has been doing it for years with Darwin and Cairns games. They obviously have done their sums, just like Hawthorn and North do with their Tassie games.
 
Not sure how this is profitable for you guys? dogs members get this week as a replacement home game. For every member that swipes in, you need to pay Hawthorn. What if 20k turn up, surely that would make Ballarat unprofitable?

Read the full story before you sprout your myopic views. This is a LONG term strategy. It's better than Cairns, and more accessible than Tassie :huh:
 
Fact there are 8 interstate teams.
Only 2 Lions Swans have Melbourne support.
Only Crows Eagles draw some sort of crowd otherwise.
Leaves 4 teams to play
Ballarat makes sense...ROCKET SCIENCE
 
Below. I invite you all to study this shot. It is not the greatest shot of the stadium from the point of view of conveying the game happening below, or the crowd or even the facility from an architect's point of view. That is not what struck my interest about this shot. This shot is strategic, that's what I told Luke Parker (the man who took the shot) and I will tell you all why. If I was to explain to people what the limitations and potential of this facility were in one photo, then here it is.

Looking at the ground we can easily see the 'built form', but we also easily see what isn't there. What hasn't been developed is that which faces the main road access (Creswick Road (Midland Highway)), and the city, and yet that is where perhaps some of it's biggest future development will occur. To the top of the stadium we see the Midland highway which is still a largely undeveloped two lane road with very wide unsealed shoulders that have potential to be widened into a four lane divided road with significant further space again to construct bus parking drop points. To the other side of the road we see the rail line that still has ample space to construct a special-events platform and which is situated only 3 km from the main railway station.

To the top left of the stadium on the other side of the rail line is a large clear area which has been identified by the local council for the construction of a large 1700 space car park in the 2015 Ballarat Major Events Precinct Master Plan.

We need to consider that in 1999, Launceston hosted its first game of AFL football at York Park in a largely undeveloped ground that consisted of scaffold stands. Last Saturday, Ballarat took it's first step in what I said many months ago to forumers to not be too judgmental about. I said then that what they would see on Sat 19 August would be a new ground with the basics and not an Etihad Stadium. I said then that the road access would be limited, the facilities in some respects basic, and capacity would be limited by those factors. But this shot tells the story as it is and more importantly it also speaks volumes about the potential.

And P.S. On a more serious note ... Where the F#@k are all the players on the Southern end of the oval? There's nobody within 60 metres of the bloody goal! I bet that the bloody Dogs were supposed to be kicking to that end when this shot was taken!

20901564_10154594086666441_1973937984635897926_o.jpg
I see from this pic that Ballarat Council is hedging its bets in case the Dogs bail out. They've painted North Melbourne stripes on the roof of the stand!
 
Glad the day went well (except for the result) and hope the association continues.

How many games a year do we play there in the future? I get the Port Adelaide connection as Adelaide is about a 7 hour drive to Ballarat so people can drive and stay overnight in the city etc. Same for the Crows. Just not sure the city would get the same benefit from Brisbane, GCS, GWS , Freo or the Eagles. Also we are not guaranteed to play Port or the Crows at home every year. So is it two games per year or three?
 
Oh I get it but the difference is Tasmanians can't get in their cars and drove an hour up the road and watch any Victorian team they want where as Ballaratians(is that what they call themselves :) can.

The Tasmanians are geographical hindered where as ballarat people are not.

I would assume if you did a poll of who people from the area support the Bulldogs would be quite low on the list and I personally don't see that changing much even with time but we shall see I guess.
It's true about the geographical isolation, but it works both ways. Hawthorn supporters can't get in their car in Glen Iris and drive an hour up the road to watch their team play at Aurora Stadium.
Ours can easily drive to Mars Stadium. It means that we're not shutting them out completely from these games. As someone posted, it's possible to get from the Western Suburbs to Ballarat in about the same time (and with less stress) that it takes to get to the MCG. So we still have the option of attending (subject to ticket availability) BUT our club still gets the sponsorship bucks for playing in a provincial centre. Assuming there's not a huge disparity in the sponsorship we get from each city, that's got to be a better deal than playing Cairns - and that's just on the current account, not the 20-year projections which will look way better.

IMO there would be four main categories of WB supporters in Ballarat:
1. The rusted on lifelong fans who would have been supporting us even if we'd never gone to Ballarat. Nothing changes with these types.
2. Those who support other AFL clubs but will look favourably on the Dogs because of their efforts to embrace Ballarat, and will try to attend matches if they can get tickets. We become their "second team" in effect.
3. Those with no real affiliation but who can now relate to an AFL team because it brings business, sport, colour and excitement to their provincial city. They too will probably attend some games when they can get tickets.

Not sure of the details of Ballarat WB membership but the scarcity of match day tickets might encourage 1000 or so of types 2 & 3 to buy local memberships so they can be assured of tickets (can someone confirm that's how it works?) Otherwise I doubt we would be getting too many new memberships out of the first 3 categories.​

4. The kids. They will take to the club if we do the engagement right. They will become passionate and they might even rope their parents into taking them to Melbourne games. Over 10-20 years they will become adults with disposable income and will buy memberships for themselves and their own kids. Many will move to Melbourne for work ... whose games do you think they will follow when they are in Melbourne? Which club will they become members of? This is where the real pay-offs come.

I wish we had this sort of strategic vision back in the 70s and 80s when the AFL started to become more a business than a sport. Instead we made some dumb decisions, went into severe debt and had to trade away the best Footscray players of their generation to try to stay afloat. That we survived the 1990s was a minor miracle which has been well-documented elsewhere.

The architects of the Ballarat strategy may be dead and buried by the time it bears significant fruit but for a club that has three times in the last 30 years faced merging or extinction this strategy gives us the best chance to entrench ourselves in Victoria and grow steadily, probably at a faster rate than most other Vic clubs. And it does it without disenfranchising its western suburbs heartland.
 
Plans already in place, just waiting for funding to do further developments. An extra two stages are planned on, depending on what money is allocated to the project.
The second stage hasn't really been defined yet. Stage 2 could be just 5000 seats or if the Ballarat Council get their wish, it will be 9000 seats.

5000 or 9000 the cost differential wouldn't really be that much different either way. By the time you pay your contractors and the time taken to build and so on, it would work out a lot cheaper to build 9000 seats in one go rather than to break it into two separate stages. By my reckoning it would cost about $13 million per stage to build two separate stages or it would cost about $18 million to build one stage of 9000 seats. Time will tell.
 
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