Two Suburban Grounds Could Re-Emerge As Australian Football League Venues
Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou confirmed that "two suburban grounds from a bygone era, Carlton's Visy Park and Richmond's Punt Road, could re-emerge as boutique venues," according to Jon Pierik of THE AGE. Whether this "is a ploy to put pressure on Etihad Stadium to sell the venue to the AFL earlier than the scheduled date -- March 8, 2025 -- thereby improving the financial distributions to struggling clubs, remains to be seen." However, Demetriou said that "the league had conducted a feasibility study on Carlton's home ground." He said, "Visy Park can work. But we've got a couple of other options. I think Punt Road has got some legs." A redevelopment of either ground could cost up to A$150M ($157M). AFL Chair Mike Fitzpatrick said last week that "the league had been unable to agree to a price with Melbourne Stadiums Ltd., acting on behalf of the five superannuation stakeholders in Etihad." He said that "time was running out for a deal to make financial sense to the AFL, for the league will automatically take ownership of the stadium" for A$1 in '25. Melbourne "has also investigated whether its training venue at Casey Fields could host home-and-away matches." The Blues "also want to ditch Etihad Stadium as their home ground from 2015 and shift eight home games to the MCG, where a better financial deal awaits." The economics of playing there "could also help smaller clubs such as the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne when hosting interstate teams." The break-even attendance "would be far lower than required at Etihad Stadium" (THE AGE, 3/26).