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Boutique stadium in wings

Date

Charles Happell

Tenant clubs at Etihad Stadium need to draw crowds upwards of 20,000 to make money on home matches, and upwards of 30,000 to achieve meaningful revenue.

Tenant clubs at Etihad Stadium need to draw crowds upwards of 20,000 to make money on home matches, and upwards of 30,000 to achieve meaningful revenue. Photo: Pat Scala

The AFL is examining plans to upgrade either Punt Road Oval or Princes Park as a boutique 25,000-seat stadium to help ease the financial burden on Victorian clubs hobbled by onerous Etihad Stadium deals.

The league has had preliminary plans drawn up as part of a feasibility study into both the Richmond and Carlton precincts.

In the Punt Road Oval plans, a footbridge would be built from Richmond train station over Brunton Avenue and Punt Road to the stadium. The attraction of the ground is its proximity to public transport and ease of parking at the MCG - where the AFL would not schedule clashing fixtures.

The Princes Park option would be less expensive because there is already capacity for 15,000 at the ground. It suffers, though, from lack of public transport access, apart from tram routes, and easy parking.

North Melbourne's Arden Street ground has also been floated as an option but is even more remote, in terms of public transport and other infrastructure.

Either way, the AFL sees the third-ground option as a panacea for many of its problems and is pushing hard to get a deal done.

Having been frustrated in its attempts to buy back Etihad Stadium from its owners, and continually

held back by the financial problems of Victorian clubs such as the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne, the league has taken the dramatic step of exploring this proposal to help redistribute some of its gate-taking revenue.

Tenant clubs at Etihad Stadium - including St Kilda, the Bulldogs and North - need to draw crowds upwards of 20,000 to avoid having to write the stadium owners a cheque, and upwards of 30,000 to achieve meaningful revenue.

An AFL-owned third stadium would end that kind of inequity.

Redevelopment of Punt Road or Princes Park would cost between $100 million and $150 million, and would be an all-seater stadium.

The proposal was brought up at a meeting of club chiefs in January and is sure to get another airing on Wednesday when the clubs meet with league executives, at which the contentious subject of equalisation funding will be addressed.

One senior Richmond official said: ''This idea of a boutique stadium will become a hot topic this year, a big-ticket item for the AFL. It will help solve many of the issues facing the competition.''

The one drawback to the Punt Road plan is the recent construction of the ME Bank Centre - home of Richmond's training and administration offices, as well as an Indigenous Youth Education Centre - and how that would fit into any redevelopment.

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the league was having difficulty persuading Etihad's owner, Melbourne Stadiums Ltd, to sell the stadium ahead of the official handover date of March 8, 2025.

If the league was able to broker such a deal - Melbourne Stadiums Ltd is asking $250 million for the remaining 12 years of the Etihad contract - then the need for the third stadium would become redundant. The AFL said it had no comment on the matter.

backpagelead.com.au

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Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
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RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
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GEE 60 vs FRE 104 13:10SS
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 15:20MCG
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
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WCE vs FRE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC vs MEL 19:50MCG
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STK vs CAR 11:10NZ
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GWS vs GCF 17:40SO
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FRE vs SYD 20:40Domain Stadium
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BRI vs WCE 13:10G
GEE vs NTH 15:20SS
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs COL 19:50MCG
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RIC vs GEE 13:45MCG
SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
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STK vs ESS 15:20ES
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Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
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Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
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STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
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MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
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WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
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ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
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Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
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GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
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STK vs MEL 16:40ES
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Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
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Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
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SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
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COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
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RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
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WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
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ESS vs STK 13:10ES
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Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
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GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
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Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
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GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
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ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
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Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
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COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
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ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
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Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
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COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
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WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
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WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
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NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
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GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
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Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
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RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
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Adelaide Crows 3 3 0 0 171.27 12
Sydney Swans 3 3 0 0 141.75 12
Fremantle 2 2 0 0 139.84 8
Richmond 3 2 1 0 139.37 8
Collingwood 3 2 1 0 125.65 8
Western Bulldogs 2 2 0 0 118.95 8
GWS Giants 3 2 1 0 113.47 8
Essendon 3 2 1 0 104.74 8
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