Western Bulldogs and their partnership with Ballarat a success

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Yeah, I'm over the rip-off as well. It costs me enough each year living west of Ballarat to commute to all home games at Marvel, and pay for multiple reserved seats, I ain't paying extra for reserved seats at Mars. Being reasonably local, we'll wait til closer to game days, and if the weather looks ok, stand in the outer. If there's likely rain, I'll find something else to do.

Surely there's a better way to manage seating for members already paying for it at Marvel, e.g. a token charge for reserved seats, say first 3,000 members with reserved seats at Marvel to nominate attendance at a Mars game pay a $5-10 fee, then leave whatever remaining allocation open to members without reserved seats and general public, but those members get a discount on the seats. That's just off the top of my head, but even given the limited seating, I would expect members to get priority, and some concession for being, you know, signed up members.
 

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lachy

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Yeah, I'm over the rip-off as well. It costs me enough each year living west of Ballarat to commute to all home games at Marvel, and pay for multiple reserved seats, I ain't paying extra for reserved seats at Mars. Being reasonably local, we'll wait til closer to game days, and if the weather looks ok, stand in the outer. If there's likely rain, I'll find something else to do.

Surely there's a better way to manage seating for members already paying for it at Marvel, e.g. a token charge for reserved seats, say first 3,000 members with reserved seats at Marvel to nominate attendance at a Mars game pay a $5-10 fee, then leave whatever remaining allocation open to members without reserved seats and general public, but those members get a discount on the seats. That's just off the top of my head, but even given the limited seating, I would expect members to get priority, and some concession for being, you know, signed up members.
Fully agree Ivan. The issue is if they do that, prioritise say 3,000 seats for members at a cheap price, there is even less room for the NEW supporters we will supposedly get playing there, and our financials for playing there look even worse.

We were sold a pup by the government, then happend to win a flag which brought in many more dollars than this project ever will.
 
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Fully agree Ivan. The issue is if they do that, prioritise say 3,000 seats for members at a cheap price, there is even less room for the NEW supporters we will supposedly get playing there, and our financials for playing there look even worse.

We were sold a pup by the government, then happend to win a flag which brought in many more dollars than this project ever will.
Thanks lachy, yep, I'm not sure where I stand on this project atm, but the sceptic in me is certainly starting to drown out the optimist.

It would help if the club were transparent about the benefits of this move, i.e. issue specific details of the money received from City of Ballarat (and anyone else), the number of memberships signed up from the greater Ballarat area since the launch of the project, any other commercial exposure/income from the games themselves. I know of several actual members signed in the area in the past 2 years on the back of the Ballarat games, but what is the overall figure? Even if the initial figures were low, are they growing exponentially?

Also, will be interesting this year with Crows and Bears playing in Ballarat if crowd numbers increase for away supporters, given Crows have more members than Port, and Bears more than Suns. From personal observation, Crows seem to travel in greater numbers to Melbourne than Power, and there seem to be more Crows supporters living in Vic than Power, but will that translate to more numbers in Ballarat? Also how many ex-Fitzroy Bears supporters will travel to Ballarat (I'd expect hardly any from Queensland itself)?
 

Mattdougie

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Absolute dud deal and was obvious from day one.

The sooner we bin this garbage the better. Rather go to WO and stand and que for 2 hours to go to the toilet than spend any other second on this tripe.

I’d bet it’s cost us more memberships than it has gained us
 
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I think all things considered its been a fail.

Most supporters didn't mind giving it a go as we were selling 1 game a year anyway. I've been its o.k, yet I love my footy and will go again this year.

I think 90% of supporters would prefer the two games back at Marvel. And there lies the problem. Not enough people are showing up at Marvel and the locals clearly haven't embraced it. Anyone who understands footy knew that would be the case. You don't follow the pies every year then just because the dogs play 2 games a year in your home town change teams.

Like others have said they don't release any information on it (like new member, % of ballarat people at games etc), never highlighting it much in any publications. I actually believe the club would already be secretly planning there escape.
 

Roogal

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Yeah, I'm over the rip-off as well. It costs me enough each year living west of Ballarat to commute to all home games at Marvel, and pay for multiple reserved seats, I ain't paying extra for reserved seats at Mars. Being reasonably local, we'll wait til closer to game days, and if the weather looks ok, stand in the outer. If there's likely rain, I'll find something else to do.

Surely there's a better way to manage seating for members already paying for it at Marvel, e.g. a token charge for reserved seats, say first 3,000 members with reserved seats at Marvel to nominate attendance at a Mars game pay a $5-10 fee, then leave whatever remaining allocation open to members without reserved seats and general public, but those members get a discount on the seats. That's just off the top of my head, but even given the limited seating, I would expect members to get priority, and some concession for being, you know, signed up members.
You make a good point, and this is the feedback that you ought to be directly giving back through the Bulldogs Membership site. The club needs this sort of feedback, and perhaps you're not the only one with positive suggestions, and it is constructive feedback that they will ultimately act upon. Any fool can carp and whinge by simply saying ... "oh this is fxxcked!" Or "this is a sh1t deal".

And those comments will be deleted or cast aside straight away by the club's website moderators. Yes you need to articulate exactly what is bad about it from a member's pointof view and offer positive suggestions on how to fix or improve upon it. Good feedback will result in the club's Board sitting up and taking notice to ultimately improve the deal for members. And that's what we all want.

The Ballarat project is a ten year plan and we must consider that so far the Bulldogs have only played three H&A games there since August 2017. Remember that there has already been another $6 million set aside to make significant fixes to the first stage of the ground which includes a new covered entrance and ticket booths with permanent toilets at the standing end of the oval, improvements to the hill area, installation of permanent catering facilities and a small increase in covered seating areas.

These fixes are only to address identified shortfalls in the first stage. Remember that the ground is being developed over a longer time span which will eventually see significantly increased covered seating capacity, improved access, and beefed up lighting. That said, this year will be a litmus test to see how crowds react to better scheduling (in early May and late August).

The Ballarat Council pretty much have the transport and parking sorted in an interim sense until permanent car parks are built and an event day train platform established in the longer term. The Ballarat Council to their credit are doing a marvellous job to ensure that people get to and from the ground quickly and safely, that there is plenty of catering, and that there is a bright and festive atmosphere at each game. For the limitations of the ground, they are doing their best to ensure that people are experiencing an enjoyable day at the footy. On a positive note, there are very few if any complaints from people who actually go to games at Mars Stadium. People like the smallness and intimacy of the ground where they almost feel as if they are on the field. They like being able to buy full strength beer in cans at a reasonable price, many enjoy the hill atmosphere, it's a low pressure country atmosphere not unlike watching a country league grand final. So there are good things to recommend it as well. :)

Somebody mentioned memberships ... my feedback from my sources is that since 2017, WB membership in Ballarat city has grown so far by about 2,500 and closer to 4,000 around the Greater Ballarat district. Those figures are supported by the WB Annual Report for 2018.

It now comes back to the Government and AFL to commit to the next major stage of development to really make Ballarat viable.
 
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Anja_Nees

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Would prefer selling a game to Ballarat than to selling a game to Canberra/Cairns/Darwin but it’s in the same basket. Went last year for the Port game and it was a shocker on all fronts - average crowd, shocking weather and bad game.

If we’re good financially then keep them at Marvel, win some more f’ing games and push for more premium fixtures. Play a JLT game or two out there perhaps.
 

Mattdougie

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You make a good point, and this is the feedback that you ought to be directly giving back through the Bulldogs Membership site. The club needs this sort of feedback, and perhaps you're not the only one with positive suggestions, and it is constructive feedback that they will ultimately act upon. Any fool can carp and whinge by simply saying ... "oh this is fxxcked!" Or "this is a sh1t deal".

And those comments will be deleted or cast aside straight away by the club's website moderators. Yes you need to articulate exactly what is bad about it from a member's pointof view and offer positive suggestions on how to fix or improve upon it. Good feedback will result in the club's Board sitting up and taking notice to ultimately improve the deal for members. And that's what we all want.

The Ballarat project is a ten year plan and we must consider that so far the Bulldogs have only played three H&A games there since August 2017. Remember that there has already been another $6 million set aside to make significant fixes to the first stage of the ground which includes a new covered entrance and ticket booths with permanent toilets at the standing end of the oval, improvements to the hill area, installation of permanent catering facilities and a small increase in covered seating areas.

These fixes are only to address identified shortfalls in the first stage. Remember that the ground is being developed over a longer time span which will eventually see significantly increased covered seating capacity, improved access, and beefed up lighting. That said, this year will be a litmus test to see how crowds react to better scheduling (in early May and late August).

The Ballarat Council pretty much have the transport and parking sorted in an interim sense until permanent car parks are built and an event day train platform established in the longer term. The Ballarat Council to their credit are doing a marvellous job to ensure that people get to and from the ground quickly and safely, that there is plenty of catering, and that there is a bright and festive atmosphere at each game. For the limitations of the ground, they are doing their best to ensure that people are experiencing an enjoyable day at the footy. On a positive note, there are very few if any complaints from people who actually go to games at Mars Stadium. People like the smallness and intimacy of the ground where they almost feel as if they are on the field. They like being able to buy full strength beer in cans at a reasonable price, many enjoy the hill atmosphere, it's a low pressure country atmosphere not unlike watching a country league grand final. So there are good things to recommend it as well. :)

Somebody mentioned memberships ... my feedback from my sources is that since 2017, WB membership in Ballarat city has grown so far by about 2,500 and closer to 4,000 around the Greater Ballarat district. Those figures are supported by the WB Annual Report for 2018.

It now comes back to the Government and AFL to commit to the next major stage of development to really make Ballarat viable.

Yeah coz ten years of this will end up being a boon for us and building a bigger stadium will guarantee more people decide they want to go to this car crash of an idea.

More seats will mean only one thing, more empty seats.

The minute Gordon does I’d bet my a$$ the new President dumps this idea in a heart beat.

We couldn’t get people to the joint in 2017 coming off a flag and now we are bottoming out we won’t be able to drag people to the game
 

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Dogs_R_Us

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Unfortunately our history of losing at the stadium isn't helping; especially with the team currently underperforming, expectations of a win are low. I'm sure that must influence attendance and overall perception of the arrangement. The timing of our slump couldn't be worse.
 

Roogal

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If I ever go to a Ballarat game. I'd make sure to drop by Pizza Hut all you can eat. :)
Or the Pancake Kitchen ... mmm ... Lovely.
The footy and weather gods don't seem to be with us. Those, combined with Mattdougie's voodoo doll, have a forecast of 11 degrees for Ballarat next Saturday.
It is Ballarat and after all the frigid May-September weather is part of her charm ;) Besides, we're in a drought and outer Ballarat got savaged this Summer and Autumn with bushfires. Yes Ballarat saw its first meaningful rain since October (last year) last Wednesday. So if it buckets down rain this Winter we ought to spare a thought for all of those doing it tough out on our farms throughout QLD, NSW, and regional Victoria.

Those venturing to Ballarat next Saturday might take the time to notice that there isn't a blade of grass on the hills surrounding Bacchus Marsh. They might take the time to notice the empty dams on the farms and general dryness of the bush and gum trees and almost feel a world away from Melbourne.

Weather zone are currently forecasting similar conditions to the first game in May last year against the Suns: Partly cloudy (with passing showers) 15°C with 20-23 kmh winds. Which will be a vast improvement on this Thursday and Friday when the whole state is tipped to get a repeat of last week. Ballarat is tipped to be wet and cold (11°C and 15mm rain) on Thursday and 11°C with about 5mm on Friday. Some more very welcome rain. At least we can say that it is improving over the weekend.

That said, I planted a weeping cherry blossom in my back yard last Tuesday and I had to dig a hole about 40cm deep to plant the bare-rooted tree. Well I can say that despite the grass being green on the surface, it litterally took me about 30 minutes to dig into dry clay that was so dry and compacted like cement. We need the rain :huh:
 
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Mattdougie

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The footy and weather gods don't seem to be with us. Those, combined with Mattdougie's voodoo doll, have a forecast of 11 degrees for Ballarat next Saturday.

Don’t need a voodoo doll this thing is dying all by itself

How many actual people this week? 6-7000? Maybe less.

I mean Cairns is only 26 this weekend so why wouldn’t we prefer to play in 6 degrees just to gain 15 members ??
 
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I've forked out for a seat previously, but CBF getting ripped off again this year, given I've got multiple fully paid social club memberships with reserved seats. So I'm going for the GA option, but can anyone confirm I can just rock up on Sat and flash my membership cards at the gate, and stand in the outer? Cheers
 

Substance

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I fear for our future with Ballarat with the possible WO redevelopment. I hope we don't just abandon it after North had to hand it over.
 

Mr. Walker

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I fear for our future with Ballarat with the possible WO redevelopment. I hope we don't just abandon it after North had to hand it over.
For a variety of reasons our "endurability" with these away from home ventures is awful. Darwin, Cairns, Canberra and Good Friday have all come and gone. (Just gagging on that last one) But we don't seem to be able to get these things to work.
 

maddog37

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Roogal

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A nice article from today's Ballarat Courier:

Easton Wood loves Mars, we need to make it worth it
Melanie Whelan
Comment

BIG CALL: Western Bulldogs captain and Camperdown export Easton Wood calls Ballarat's Mars Stadium one of the best AFL grounds he has played on. Picture: Adam Trafford

We know AFL players like the surface each time there is a Mars landing. Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood this week lauded it as "absolutely pristine" and the best surface he had played on. And we are pretty sure Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley loves everything about a trip to Mars - even though he could barely see by the end of his team's last visit when bad fixturing plunged the game into darkness. Post-match, Hinkley was quick to put his hand up for another Mars game to build on his team's perfect record in this 'Dogs' house.


Even so, we are still trying to find our groove for what AFL in Ballarat is all about - our trademark and the unquestionable reason why the game needs to keep coming back. We have to admit, our last hosting duties were not Ballarat at its finest. The miserably cold weather, broken scoreboard and Sunday afternoon twilight fixture in the middle of winter showcased the stereotype outsiders perceive that we have been working to shake for years.


AFL identity Wayne Carey did all but call us a country joke.

OPINION: In defence of Ballarat footy, come on Wayne, give us a go | PAT NOLAN

While the views of those on the frontlines - like Wood and Hinkley - carry far more weight than a legend seeking a headline in the saturated world of AFL commentary, Ballarat, we have some making up to do. A Saturday afternoon fixture, despite clashes with grassroots senior matches, should help. Opponent Brisbane Lions, in their first Mars venture, should help. The fact the Lions sport exciting western Victorian exports Hugh McCluggage (South Warrnambool) and Jarrod Berry (Horsham Saints) in the playing mix is a big help.

No excuses: we need to step up and take responsibility for putting on a good show.

The only way to do that is to pack Mars Stadium and be out roaring (or snarling pun intended) in full voice.



It can be hard as living in a regional city to understand what many in top football echelons consider a huge effort to make a game in Ballarat, from media to club staff. That's right, many whinge on the perceived tyranny of distance.

While country people think little of travelling for football, to play or watch, many Melbournites treat a Ballarat fixture like an interstate game. It was no different when North Ballarat Roosters were hosting Victorian Football League rivals despite the fact the Roosters had to make the journey into metropolis for at least half their season.

Like it or not, we have to work harder to win them over.

We do a great job at building a Bulldog-vibe leading into game days. Flags lining the major entry points to our city create a proud excitement. The annual Bull-Doggie-Do is a quirky, fun tradition. Hop Lane's red, white and blue umbrellas offer a festival feel.

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When it comes to the crunch, none of this means much unless we show up and prove we mean business when it comes to hosting AFL in Ballarat.
It is a competitive world to host AFL premiership season matches and we only get two a year. They need to make an impact.

Easton Wood and his Bulldogs might like our Mars surface, but we need to give them some cheering worth fighting for.
 
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