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SBD Global/May 2, 2014/Facilities

AFL Side Carlton Pushes League For New Melbourne Cricket Ground Deal

Australian Football League side Carlton is in negotiations with the AFL about making the Melbourne Cricket Ground its main home ground for '15 and beyond, "with the club board having decided that it wants to play as many as eight of its 11 home games at the bigger stadium," according to Jake Niall of THE AGE. Carlton, "which reluctantly signed on to play six home games at Etihad Stadium in 2004, is in the last year of that 10-year deal and will need to have a new arrangement bedded down soon, as clubs begin submitting their fixturing requests." Carlton CEO Greg Swann confirmed that "the club wants seven or eight games at the MCG, and the remainder at Etihad Stadium." Carlton has long been on record that it would prefer to play more games at the MCG, though it has never pushed to play all of them at the larger stadium; while it would "prefer an 8-3 MCG-Etihad split, seven games at the 'G and four at Etihad appears a better chance to win AFL backing" (THE AGE, 5/1). In Melbourne, Jon Ralph wrote Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stephen Gough said that food and drink prices at the MCG "will not drop any time soon." Gough met with new AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan recently "to discuss MCG prices," where hot chips cost A$5.60 ($5.20) and a mid-strength beer A$7.10. Gough said that "it was impossible to simply drop prices without increasing other costs for fans," as the MCC attempts to pay off a A$270M redevelopment debt. The league and clubs take the lion’s share of revenue from ticket sales, "with the 100,000-seat stadium depending on food and beverage costs for profitability." Gough said, “Someone can say it costs two bucks a kilo for potatoes, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Each decision has a cascading effect the economics of the code" (HERALD SUN, 5/1). THE AGE reported Brisbane "has dismissed claims it plans to play some home AFL matches at a new venue south of the city." A newspaper report on Monday claimed Lions Chair Bob Sharpless "was aiming to develop a stadium at the Lions' proposed training and administration venue in Springfield." Sharpless said that "he had no plans to take games away from the Gabba and that his comments had been misinterpreted" (THE AGE, 4/30).
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