AFL may build new stadium in Melbourne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL may build new stadium in Melbourne

By Robert Grant 01/08/2008 05:21:37 PM Comments (0)

The AFL is considering building a "boutique" stadium in Melbourne to cope with the overflow of matches from two extra teams in the competition.

The league says the extra games in Melbourne resulting from franchises on the Gold Coast and in western Sydney, introduced in 2011 and 2012 respectively, will put extra pressure on the MCG and Telstra Dome.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said a third stadium was a serious option which had already been discussed with the existing clubs.

He said the 17th and 18th teams would produce up to 24 rounds in the home and away season - up from 22 - which would create 40 extra games, of which 28 could be played in Melbourne.

"We're obviously looking at all options because that would mean if we maintain our present policy with stadia we would have a very crowded MCG and Telstra Dome," Demetriou told Fairfax Radio on Friday.

"We can't play any more games at Skilled Stadium so one option obviously is to play as many games at Telstra Dome and the MCG or to have a look at another option which could be a boutique stadium."

He said there was capacity for extra games at the two main stadia and also the possibility of playing on Monday nights, but a new stadium appeared the most viable option.

"Obviously one option is a boutique stadium that might hold 26 to 28 games (with a capacity of) 25,000 people," Demetriou said.

"We're just doing the work now. We discussed it with the (club) CEOs at a conference we had yesterday and the day before.

"We basically said to them that we understand that the stadium economics isn't working for the clubs in Melbourne, that we need to try and get a better return out of the MCG and Telstra Dome for them.

"And down the track, if and when we introduce the two teams (in) 2011 and 2012, there could be, if we go to 24 rounds, an extra 40 games and about 26 or 28 of those could be in Melbourne."

Demetriou said he did not yet know where any proposed stadium might be located, but said there was plenty of time to build it before the Gold Coast team came into operation in 2011.

Of the 176 home and away games in 2008, the MCG and Telstra Dome will both end up hosting 46, not including finals.

Meanwhile, the league has welcomed the news that Tasmania could gain a $4 million sponsorship from the Mars snackfood company.

Demetriou said Tasmania was not in the running for one of the two new licences - but would not rule out the state joining the competition at a later date.

"They certainly want to be there at the table if and when we decide we might go further or there might be a Victorian club that's interested (in relocating)," he said.

"We think it's terribly important that Tasmania puts their bid in.

"You can never say never. This industry's ever changing.

"I think Tasmania could play an integral role in our national competition and they've got a rich history of football, they're very decent people, they've served us very well with the relationship with Hawthorn, they've invested in York Park (in Launceston).

"At a point in time why not? What happens down the track with Tasmania, that's up for grabs and it's all the more reason why they should be getting their bid together."

Mars has committed the sponsorship to the Tasmanian franchise if it is successful in earning a team licence.

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