Venue Focus: Melbourne

Sport Business News

The existing infrastructure of Melbourne, Australia is strategically located within close proximity of the central business district, with a number of flexible sports precincts catering for open space, formal infrastructure and stadia at international, national, state, regional, district and local levels.

Melbourne is continuing to progress its sporting infrastructure with planned and committed developments and redevelopments including its new A$265m, 31, 500 capacity rectangular pitch stadium, AAMI Park, ensuring Melbourne's future capacity to deliver a range of sporting events. In the coming years the city will play host to an increased number of exciting contests in football, rugby union and rugby league. In a national and regional context, the new stadium ramps up Melbourne's competitive position as host city of choice for a range of sporting codes, and offers event owners a new level in quality and amenity. The venue will also be home to four anchor tenants from three football codes. Melbourne's diverse range of world class facilities includes the famous MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), which is one of the oldest and most impressive of sports venues in the world, with a capacity of 100, 000. As well as cricket and rugby league, Australian Rules Football (AFL) is played at the MCG. AFL is passionately supported in Victoria, with teams including the St Kilda Saints attracting huge crowds at venues such as the MCG and Etihad Stadium, culminating in the Grand Final each September. Melbourne's famous Crown Casino has hosted several major poker tournaments including the annual Aussie Millions tournament. Melbourne's Major Venues:Flemington Racecourse – 120, 000 Melbourne Cricket Ground – 100, 000 Etihad Stadium – 53, 359 AAMI Park– 31, 000 Olympic Park – 18, 500 Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park – 15, 000 Bob Jane stadium – 14, 000 Hisense Arena at Melbourne Park – 10, 500/4, 410 State Netball and Hockey Centre – hockey facilities – 8, 000/ 325 Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park – 6, 000 Melbourne Convention Centre – plenary hall – 5, 000 State Netball and Hockey Centre – netball/basketball facilities – 3, 050 Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre – aquatic facilities (50M competition pool) – 3, 000 Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre – basketball/netball facilities – 1, 800 Melbourne Convention Centre At the time of writing, Melbourne Park was to receive an A$363m facelift to stop cities such as Singapore or Dubai from poaching the Australian Open tennis tournament. Other cities including Madrid and Sydney have also expressed an interest in staging the first grand slam of the year, but the redevelopment of Melbourne Park is designed to ensure that the venue continues to host the event until at least 2036. The Victorian government's ongoing development of the Melbourne Park precinct since it opened in 1988, has seen the addition of a multi–purpose venue in Hisense Arena. Along with hosting matches in the Australian Open tennis tournament, the Melbourne Park precinct also regularly hosts concerts, international dancesport and cycling events, national basketball and netball competitions and more. Victoria's premier John Brumby joined Tennis Australia and Melbourne Olympic Park Trust representatives in January 2010 to pledge the government's support for the scheme. Margaret Court Arena will get a retractable roof as part of the revamp, making the Australian Open the first grand slam to have three undercover courts. Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena, which already have roofs, will also be refurbished. The second major aspect of the redevelopment will see a new Eastern Plaza, which will include eight new indoor courts and 13 new outdoor courts. The Australian Open has been played exclusively in Melbourne since 1972, moving from the grass courts of Kooyong to the purpose–built hardcourts of Melbourne Park in 1988. The venue's contract to host the event expires in 2016 and there have been fears it will be vulnerable to rivals from Asia and the Middle East seeking the prestige of staging a tennis major. Brumby said that the changes were the key to keeping the event in Melbourne. "We started this discussion a couple of years ago because every event of this type is becoming very competitive, so we need to be up there with the best to keep it, " he explained. "It was a foot–loose event past 2016. We could have kept it–but we also could have lost it. "Work on the project began after the 2010 tournament with the first stage expected to be completed by 2015 and a 10– to 15–year timeframe put on the whole project.

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