SBD/Issue 87/Facilities & Venues

Melbourne Park To Add Third Retractable Roof In Renovation

Retractable Roof To Be Built On Margaret Court
As Part Of Melbourne Park's $333M Renovation
Melbourne Park will get a "third weather-proof stadium under a multi-million [dollar] plan to ensure the Australian Open is retained after 2016," according to Robyn Grace of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Victoria Premier John Brumby this morning announced the US$333M redevelopment, which will see a "major facelift to the Margaret Court arena, which will include installation of a retractable roof and will boost capacity by 1500 to 7500." The publicly-funded renovation "will also see improvements to Rod Laver and Hisense arenas." Brumby: "This secures the Open here for decades to come" (SMH.com.au, 1/19). The PA notes 26 matches were "postponed on Monday as the weather wreaked havoc on the outside courts" at the Australian Open. Meanwhile, the "future of Melbourne as the home of the Australian Open has come under threat in recent years, with China in particular lobbying to host the grand slam of Asia/Pacific after the current contract expires in six years" (PA, 1/19). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Riseborough & Baynes note adding a roof to Margaret Court Arena, the venue's "third-largest showcourt," will give tournament organizers the "option of three undercover courts." Brumby indicated that work on the expansion "will begin after this year's tournament, which finishes Jan. 31," and the "first stage of the project is scheduled for completion in time for the 2015 edition." The Australian Open attracts "more than 600,000 spectators" annually to Melbourne, but Shanghai, Dubai and Sydney "have been linked in media reports with bids for the tournament" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/19). In Australia, Courtney Walsh notes the "potential threat posed by the growth of tennis in Asia was a motivating factor" in announcing the renovations (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/20). Brumby said, "Had we not made this investment ... we could have kept it (the Open), we could have lost it. That's the reality" (Melbourne AGE, 1/20). 

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