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Manuka Oval renamed for footy season

Date

Noel Towell and David Polkinghorne

The Manuka Oval will now bear a sponsor's name during AFL matches. GWS Giants co-captain, Phil Davis was on hand when it was named "Star Track Oval Canberra".

The Manuka Oval will now bear a sponsor's name during AFL matches. GWS Giants co-captain, Phil Davis was on hand when it was named "Star Track Oval Canberra". Photo: Graham Tidy

For generations of Canberra sports fans and players, it's always been Manuka Oval.

Eight decades of the city's cricket and footy heritage has played itself out in the hallowed arena proudly bearing the name of the next door suburb (the oval is in Griffith).

But that was until the GWS Giants blew in from Sydney with their sponsors on Friday to declare the stadium would henceforth be known as "StarTrack Oval."

An aerial view of Manuka Oval.

An aerial view of Manuka Oval. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Residents of nearby leafy suburbs shouldn't worry about unsightly signage; the AFL outfit's two-year naming rights deal with the Australia Post subsidiary only applies during the footy season.

Sports Minister Andrew Barr's office explained, after the Giants and StarTrack sealed their deal with a handshake, that the change only applies between the opening bounce of the pre-season NAB Cup and the end of home and away season.

No need to worry just yet about finals footy.

And although the fledgling outfit will pocket the vast bulk of the undisclosed "commercial-in confidence" sponsorship fee, Oval owners the ACT taxpayers were reassured they would enjoy "a small percentage" of the action.

The "modest but appropriate" fee for the Giants comes on top of the $26 million the government will pay the Greater Western Sydney over 10 years to play three games each in Canberra each season.

GWS has made no secret of its plans to use most of the funds to fill its war chest for the battle of the codes in Sydney's west.

The club's chief executive David Matthews said the sponsorship showed the confidence sponsors were starting to have in the club but he conceded that some locals might be unhappy with the name change.

''There's going to be some sort of sensitivities, but the reality is this is another example of corporate Australia wanting to invest in Canberra,'' he said. ''We want to project Canberra across Australia, we see the Giants as a vehicle to bring tourism to Canberra, we see the Giants as a vehicle in the national AFL competition as raising the awareness of the quality of the facilities here.

''It's investments like this that are going to continue to help us partner with the ACT government, develop this oval into what it should become.''

Australia Post chief executive, StarTrack chairman and Carlton Football Club board member Ahmed Fahour said as a government-owned company the ''modest-but-appropriate'' sponsorship was effectively from the Australian people.

11 comments so far

  • Well its certainly lost any semblence of the Manuka HERITAGE Oval so why not.
    Personally I think the "E.J.WHITTEN" Oval would be better.

    Commenter
    OLD DOG
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    April 12, 2013, 1:49PM
    • Why not rename the Griffith Oval #1 "Amalgamted Proprty Group Oval' because they've bought the plot next door? Whate else can we flog off around here...hmmm

      Commenter
      Big Biz
      Date and time
      April 12, 2013, 2:31PM
      • Now let's put a roof over it.... considering the ACT Govt wants to be apathetic against AFL and cricket with its planned, anything but multi-purpose, rectangular stadium in Civic.

        Commenter
        @@@
        Date and time
        April 12, 2013, 2:37PM
        • Please, the AFL has been given a red carpet ride by Barr.

          Commenter
          YS
          Date and time
          April 12, 2013, 3:04PM
        • A red carpet ride to what was a dilapidated stadium and now comparable to any in any medium size regional centre, let alone the AFL?…. Launceston’s Aurora Stadium is even superior (but probably just as cold in winter).

          Commenter
          @@@
          Date and time
          April 12, 2013, 3:33PM
        • I am a big AFL fan but even I will admit the ACT government has been very good to the Giants - considering they only play 3 games here (plus a NAB cup). Manuka has lights, and the Manuka Oval master plan calls for an increase in capapcity to 20k with seats and shading/covering all round. That will serve them well for the next decade. If/When the AFL puts a dedicated team into Canberra, then we'll see happens.

          Commenter
          HarryHP
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          April 12, 2013, 5:29PM
      • Wait one minute! How much of this money is going into ACT Government coffers? If the answer is zero, then someone needs to have their butt kicked from the centre through to the uprights.

        If the price for Canberra Stadium is lowered to match (at least I hope that's what Barr means) then someone clearly doesn't have the expertise to sell naming rights considering it hosts both Brumbies and Raiders matches along with a Test next week.

        Commenter
        YS
        Date and time
        April 12, 2013, 3:03PM
        • @@@ are you joking? The ACT Government is forking out big bucks to fund an AFL team from western Sydney. The difference is the Brumbies and Raiders represent the ACT.

          Commenter
          The Facts
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          April 12, 2013, 4:05PM
          • What a disaster for the Canberra rate payer. First $20M of our money goes to a Sydney football team, then the naming rights money which rightfully belongs to Canberrans also goes to Sydney. Barr did not release these details when he announced that an AFL team based in Sydney would be sponsored and therefor play a game or two in Canberra.How much money is foregone due to this naming rights deal? Millions no doubt. This is a bad deal for Canberra and Barr should be condemned for this bad decision and extremely poor contract negotiation.

            Commenter
            Canite
            Date and time
            April 12, 2013, 5:55PM
            • Don't worry, the govt is about to get its arse kicked over the lyneham Tennis redevelopment!!!

              Commenter
              TimmyS
              Date and time
              April 12, 2013, 6:05PM

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