Western Bulldogs and their partnership with Ballarat a success

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Roogal

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Also posted under Stadiums - Some photos taken yesterday showing latest upgrades to the hill and Southern end of the ground nearing completion:

From Creswick Road.jpg


The new Gate 2 and forecourt that will link to the Midland Highway.

Gate 2 forecourt with stairs to hill behind.jpg


Colours used on the the new entry gate match the palette used for stadium seating. Note that turnstiles and scanners are not yet installed.

Gate without turnstiles installed yet.jpg


Rear of entry gate showing new sealed pathway to the rear of the hill around the Southern boundary toward the Eureka Stand.

Rear of Gate 2 and pathway toward scoreboard (Ground Southern end).jpg


View toward the hill from the Sports Club shows the new concrete terracing on the hill and steps and pathways to prevent the grass becoming boggy. The new Southern toilet block is visible to the rear of the scoreboard while the roof of Gate 2 is visible along the top of the hill. At the moment works have begun to replace the old roof on the front of the Sports Club and to link that into the new roof that will cover the forecourt at Gate 1 which is why there is the mess on the concrete behind the seating.

Double clicking on the image below gives you an idea of how close and built-in the ground really seems:

IMG_20210821_111425.jpg
 
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Roogal

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From 3BA and Power FM pages.

Dogs deal hopefully done by Christmas - Ballarat council boss
07 September 2021

WBD_v_GCS_AFL_Mars_Stadium_Ballarat_5May20180505_151354.jpg

The clock is ticking for the City of Ballarat to sure up a new deal with the Western Bulldogs. The city is still in negotiation talks on whether the Doggies will continue to play two games at Mars Stadium in 2022 and beyond.

Council CEO Evan King says they hope to put pen to paper by Christmas. "Obviously we use ratepayers funds to fund contracts like this."

"It's important that we are as transparent as possible around the cost of it and the benefit to the community," Mr King said.

The cost of previous deals has not been made available to the public under confidentiality agreements. Mr King has previously told Radio Ballarat that he would like to see this changed, in a bid to be more transparent with the community.
 

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Roogal

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We should always play Gold Coast and Brisbane at Ballarat, the West Australians too, freeze their boots off!
I'm on the record with this from a previous post but why flog two teams from Queensland and two from SA in Ballarat all the time? I see no reason why Melbourne, Saint Kilda and North Melbourne shouldn't get a guernsey against the Bulldogs in Ballarat on a rotational basis at least once a year just to mix things up a little. Those three clubs have similar membership and attendance numbers to the Bulldogs.

There's still no word from Ballarat on the extension of the Bulldogs tenure from 2022. But then again the AFL hasn't released next years fixtures yet either so everything is pretty much in limbo for supporters planning their membership packages for 2022.
 

LondonBulldog

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Looks like the Dogs will proceed. As a member I've never seen anything from the club as to why we would support it.

By that I mean hard facts. For example before games at Ballarat we hard 2,000 members in the greater region, today its 4,000. Something which says, its working and worth persisting with. Until I see anything like that, I personally believe they should focus on the growth area in the west such as Wyndham Vale.

I've been to a game there most years and do enjoy it, yet would like to know if its just the regular doggies fans driving up the highway? If so, as I suspect, not really sure of the point, apart from money.

p.s. whos stupid idea was it to build the toilet block so close to the fence, looks terrible on the tele, its should have been hidden behind an outer.
 

Roogal

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Looks like the Dogs will proceed. As a member I've never seen anything from the club as to why we would support it.

By that I mean hard facts. For example before games at Ballarat we hard 2,000 members in the greater region, today its 4,000. Something which says, its working and worth persisting with. Until I see anything like that, I personally believe they should focus on the growth area in the west such as Wyndham Vale.

I've been to a game there most years and do enjoy it, yet would like to know if its just the regular doggies fans driving up the highway? If so, as I suspect, not really sure of the point, apart from money.

p.s. whos stupid idea was it to build the toilet block so close to the fence, looks terrible on the tele, its should have been hidden behind an outer.
:) It's a TV camera deception that imparts the impression that the toilets look so close to the boundary. They are in fact about 100 feet back from the fence and well back behind the scoreboard. They have been positioned to allow plenty of space for the construction of a future stand. The image below provides a better perspective. We will likely eventually see the main stand extended southward around finishing at where the scoreboard currently is. That would add about 5000 seats and bring capacity to around 15,000. Then the toilets will be completely tucked away behind the stand. A new stand would have its own toilets and kiosks. Keep in mind that the new toilet block is essentially there to provide amenity for the patrons on the hill. They are a vast improvement to the 20 Portaloos that were there before. I reckon that eventually the scoreboard will end up on top of the hill and perhaps in time a second scoreboard will be installed above the player's benches.

ms.jpg
 

dogwatch

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Was always going to be extended, just all about the details.
Sensible timing too. The draft has sucked all the oxygen out of the media for the last few weeks. It wouldn't have got any worthwhile coverage. But from here until mid-January it's pretty dead, apart from the fixture whenever they can get that sorted out.
 

Roogal

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From this morning's Ballarat Courier

Western Bulldogs commitment to Ballarat looking beyond three-year extension


RECOMITTED: Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison, City of Ballarat CEO Evan King and mayor Daniel Moloney with Western Bulldogs players Bonnie Toogood, [PLAYERCARD]Marcus Bontempelli[/PLAYERCARD] and chief executive Ameet Bains.
RECOMITTED: Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison, City of Ballarat CEO Evan King and mayor Daniel Moloney with Western Bulldogs players Bonnie Toogood, Marcus Bontempelli and chief executive Ameet Bains.

The Western Bulldogs will continue to call Ballarat home for another three years, signing a new deal with the City of Ballarat and state government, and reaffirming the club's long-term commitment to the city. Ballarat will host another six AFL home and away matches from next season until 2024 under the new deal, while the AFLW team will play for points in Ballarat for the first time this coming season.


While the new deal is just for another three years, Western Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said the club was committed to Ballarat long-term.
READ MORE: 'Our second home': Western Bulldogs extend playing deal with Ballarat

"When we first came here six years ago, there were two elements for us that were non-negotiable. One was making a long-term commitment to the region and the second was having a year-round presence as well, to not be a fly in, fly out entity and it's great that we have been able to do that," he said. "We're really proud of the community outcomes that get delivered in partnership with the City of Ballarat and the state government as well. Our Sons of the West and Daughters of the West health programs, our youth leadership programs and our Bulldogs Read programs in the schools, as well as our partnership with AFL Goldfields. Our athletes all talk about this being the best surface and best venue in the country as well, so it's a real treat to come here and certainly in the men's game, we've built it into a bit of a fortress as well, not having lost here for a while, so there's that high-performance aspect that we're pretty excited about."

Western Bulldogs premiership captain [PLAYERCARD]Marcus Bontempelli[/PLAYERCARD] with City of Ballarat chief executive Evan King and mayor Daniel Moloney.

Western Bulldogs premiership captain Marcus Bontempelli with City of Ballarat chief executive Evan King and mayor Daniel Moloney.

While the redevelopment of the Bulldogs' traditional West Footscray home at the Whitten Oval is planned to increase capacity and allow the ground to host AFLW and VFL matches at night, Mr Bains said there were no plans to host home and away AFL matches at the Barkly Street venue. "The commitment, as evidenced by the announcements today, is to Ballarat longer term. We've done a three-year extension, but we're hopeful that that's just the next iteration of what's the longer-term partnership," he said. "I think the redevelopment at the Whitten Oval, from an on-field perspective, will be more key to AFLW and VFLW and not really from an AFL perspective. We see both venues co-existing for as long as the people of Ballarat want us here".

Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said the city's partnership with the Bulldogs extended beyond the three football games a year.
"It's got to be more to us than just a couple of games of men's football, the women's game here in Ballarat is huge for us as well. The take-up of the game from girls and women across our region has been huge, to see their stars out here locally is really important in continuing to foster the women's game," he said. Cr Moloney said the city saw strong visitation whenever the Bulldogs came to town. "The economic benefit really for us has been measured in terms of bed stays. Having the accommodation providers consistently booked up pre-COVID was important to us. We also want to make sure that the economic benefit goes broader than just games themselves, that it also includes the social benefits as well, of having the Sons and Daughters of the West, that's a big part of it," he said.

A packed crowd watches the Bulldogs in April.

A packed crowd watches the Bulldogs in April.

"The less tangible economic benefit that we know is there but is harder to quantify is seeing the word 'Ballarat' on the shorts of the AFL players as they all around the country. That brand positioning is really also key. The dollar value of having Ballarat on the shorts of players in a grand final, and even more so when that grand final was in Perth, is really significant to us." Cr Moloney said he would like to see the partnership continue beyond 2024, but that was a decision for a future council. "Three more years added to that, especially as the club entrenches itself as having a Ballarat fortress, I think is going to be important," he said. "We're consistently seeing the benefits. For us as councillors and as a city, we have had confidence in this partnership for some time. It's delivered for us across both social and economic benefits and I'd love to see it continue even further into the future, but the next three years is pretty positive."

The deal has been funded in part by the state government's Regional Events Fund and Significant Sporting Events program. Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison said the benefits of the deal spread beyond Ballarat and into the region. "Since 2017, Ballarat locals have enjoyed seven AFL matches here, attracting more than 45,000 spectators from across Victoria and interstate and providing a significant boost to local tourism and small business, not just here, but in western Victoria," she said. "I am so pleased that the Western Bulldogs will continue to deliver community and social programs to promote grassroots sports in the region. What's been really great is previously, we've had great success with the Sons of the West and the Daughters of the West program, and I know that locals love that and they'll continue to support that."
 

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Roogal

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From the Ballarat Courier at 2.30pm yesterday

Western Bulldogs extend partnership with City of Ballarat to 2024

Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney, Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison, Western Bulldogs AFL captain [PLAYERCARD]Marcus Bontempelli[/PLAYERCARD], AFLW player Bonnie Toogood and chief executive Ameet Bains at Mars Stadium.

Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney, Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison, Western Bulldogs AFL captain Marcus Bontempelli, AFLW player Bonnie Toogood and chief executive Ameet Bains at Mars Stadium.

The Western Bulldogs will call Ballarat home for another three years with the club extending its deal with the City of Ballarat and the state government through 2024. Under the extended deal, the Bulldogs' AFL side will continue to play two home and away matches per year at Mars Stadium while the AFLW team will make its debut at the ground this summer and play one match per year as part of a separate funding deal.

The extension comes as works at the stadium continue, with the $6.6 million upgrade for new entrances, ticket boxes, covered areas and increased accessible seating currently taking place. Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney and Wendouree MP Juliana Addison were joined by Western Bulldogs stars Marcus Bontempelli and Bonnie Toogood and chief executive Ameet Bains at Mars Stadium for the announcement on Monday.

Cr Moloney said the city's connection with the Bulldogs extended beyond the matches played at Mars Stadium. "It's because of this partnership that we have terrific programs like Sons and Daughters of the West and Bulldogs Read, which make a genuine positive impact on the people of Ballarat," he said.
"I'd love to see this stadium continue to grow in its stature and its significance as part of the AFL calendar. Having the two games here, from a men's point of view, is already impressive and the partnership over the past few years has delivered a premiership and an almost premiership as well. "To go so close this year, we here in Ballarat had such pride seeing the word Ballarat on the shorts of those AFL footballers, the Western Bulldogs team, in the grand final as well. Hopefully we can see another premiership in the coming seasons as well because it's a partnership we've valued quite significantly."

[PLAYERCARD]Marcus Bontempelli[/PLAYERCARD] during the Bulldogs last match at Mars Stadium. Picture: Adam Trafford

Marcus Bontempelli during the Bulldogs last match at Mars Stadium. Picture: Adam Trafford

Ms Addison said the deal was a win for the Ballarat community. "This amazing announcement has been supported by the Victorian government's Regional Events Fund and Significant Sporting Events program and we're proud of our strong partnership with the Dogs," she said. "Since 2017, Ballarat locals have enjoyed seven AFL matches here, attracting more than 45,000 spectators from across Victoria and interstate and providing a significant boost to local tourism and small business, not just here, but in western Victoria." Mr Bains said the club had enjoyed its partnership with council and the state government.

Ballarat (and the broader region) is our second home, and we are both proud and excited to extend our formal partnership for at least a further three years and honour our long-term commitment to the region," he said. "When we first came here six years ago, there were two elements for us that were non-negotiable. One was making a long-term commitment to the region and the second was having a year-round presence as well, to not be a fly in, fly out entity and it's great that we have been able to do that. "We're really proud of the community outcomes that get delivered in partnership with the City of Ballarat and the state government as well. Our Sons of the West and Daughters of the West health programs, our youth leadership programs and our Bulldogs Read programs in the schools, as well as our partnership with AFL Goldfields as well, supporting junior football for the aspiring Bonnies and Marcuses in the region."

The Western Bulldogs AFLW side will play its first game in Ballarat for points in 2022
The Western Bulldogs AFLW side is set to play one game at Mars Stadium per year until 2024 thanks to a new agreement between the club and the City of Ballarat. The side has played pre-season practice matches in Ballarat in previous seasons, however will play for premiership points for the first time in 2022.

Western Bulldogs star Ellie Blackburn in action during one of the side's past pre-season games at Mars Stadium. Picture: Dylan Burns

Western Bulldogs star Ellie Blackburn in action during one of the side's past pre-season games at Mars Stadium. Picture: Dylan Burns

While the men's side will continue to play two games per season at the venue, until 2024. The AFLW fixture is yet to released, so the Bulldogs will wait to see who and when they play at Mars Stadium. 2018 premiership player Bonnie Toogood told The Courier the side is looking forward to playing for points in Ballarat. "To be here in Ballarat with the Doggies faithful here it's going to be really exciting and to show off our women's brand of footy," she said. Toogood has great memories of Ballarat, a place she played her first senior game in for the club. "I do remember Mars Stadium was packed and it was my first senior game of football, I know it was still a practice match but it was pretty remarkable to have that many fans here just to see a practice match," she said.

The men's side has enjoyed a lot of success in its games in Ballarat over the past few seasons, something Toogood and the women's side want to continue. "We say that about Whitten Oval, that it's our fortress and that we don't like losing there and Mars is now our home away from home," she said. "So we'll want exactly the same thing, make sure we get those four points on the board when we come here, really important." The growth of women's football, especially in Ballarat, has been significant over the past five years, highlighted by the Rebels girls' success on field and on draft night.

Toogood and the Bulldogs want to continue to be role models for the next generation of players. "That's on your mind nearly every time you play ... it's so important to kind of remember that you are a role model and you are inspiring the next generation of athletes," Toogood said. "Especially female footballers that are going through the ranks at the moment that will come into this league as fully-fledged footballers because a lot of us didn't have that pathway, or only minimal (players in) the league at the moment did. "So to make sure that we're out here bringing the game to them and saying that this is a possibility, it's really exciting, it puts much higher importance on it."

Toogood said the side is hitting its stride at pre-season training, with a particular focus on ball movement and pressure. "We've had a little look back at how we want to move the ball ... and the speed at which we want to play the game has been our number one focus for us," she said. "We've been doing a lot of tackle technique and a lot of pressure work. "We want to be one of those teams that people are scared to play against in the sense that we provide so much pressure on the field which we were known for last year but we want to keep building on that."
 
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dogwatch

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Sensible timing too. The draft has sucked all the oxygen out of the media for the last few weeks. It wouldn't have got any worthwhile coverage. But from here until mid-January it's pretty dead, apart from the fixture whenever they can get that sorted out.
This unremarkable story even got a run in the Canberra Times today. Its sport pages are usually dominated by the rugby codes. AFL is often limited to about one page. So a story like this wouldn’t normally get a run.
Other stories were about the prospects for Hawthorn and Brisbane in 2022.

The strategy was sound: pick a slow news day in a slow news week (ie after the draft dust has settled). Smart PR.
 

DognBones

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I'm not sure if these stats are available but it would be very interesting to see the numbers of local region Bulldogs members and also how many of these are attending the 2 games played at Mars. I can accept that the financial benefits for the town justify the expense by the local council and the State government, and the other community involvements are also very worthwhile. However, I would like to know if we are growing our support in the region by membership purchases and local attendees. Covid has probably set back our growth over the past 2 years and we might have to wait another couple of years to get a true picture.
 

BallaratBulldog

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I'm not sure if these stats are available but it would be very interesting to see the numbers of local region Bulldogs members and also how many of these are attending the 2 games played at Mars. I can accept that the financial benefits for the town justify the expense by the local council and the State government, and the other community involvements are also very worthwhile. However, I would like to know if we are growing our support in the region by membership purchases and local attendees. Covid has probably set back our growth over the past 2 years and we might have to wait another couple of years to get a true picture.
When we hit 30,000 in record time recently the Dogs mentioned increase membership in Ballarat being apart of it. Unsure on the current number but there was more than 4k.
 

Roogal

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I'm not sure if these stats are available but it would be very interesting to see the numbers of local region Bulldogs members and also how many of these are attending the 2 games played at Mars. I can accept that the financial benefits for the town justify the expense by the local council and the State government, and the other community involvements are also very worthwhile. However, I would like to know if we are growing our support in the region by membership purchases and local attendees. Covid has probably set back our growth over the past 2 years and we might have to wait another couple of years to get a true picture.
My understanding is that Ballarat members and locals account for around 40-50% of the gate when the games there sell out. The remainder are primarily Melbourne diehards and of course opposition who account for about 30% of the crowd. So about 20% of the remaining crowd are WBFC fans directly from Melbourne.
 

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