Ballarat is now AFL ready with its premiere sporting complex, Mars Stadium Ballarat officially opened today.
In an historic day for Ballarat, Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford and Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight marked the occasion in the lead up to the stadium’s first AFL match.
The opening coincides with a community event launched today that brought local sports enthusiasts and families together to experience the redeveloped stadium for the very first time.
The ‘Eureka Grandstand’ was also unveiled for the first time – named as a tribute to the history of Ballarat.
Mars Stadium Ballarat will enable the region to attract international events and become part of the regular AFL season thanks to a new ‘home ground’ relationship developed with the Western Bulldogs.
The history making match will be played in Round 22 on Saturday 19 August. The upgrade features:
- A better playing surface with same dimensions as Etihad Stadium
- Capacity for 11,000 spectators
- A new 5,000 seat undercover grandstand
- New 37 metre-tall light towers and a new 50 square-metre video scoreboard
- Comprehensive food and beverage services
Mars Stadium is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s $38.5 million investment in the Eureka Sports Precinct, which includes $9 million for extra courts at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre, $5 million for the Ballarat Showgrounds and $2.5 million for C E Brown Reserve.
Around 30 jobs have been created and $11 million injected into the regional economy. It’s expected to attract 21,000 more visitors to Ballarat each year by hosting events that would otherwise be in Melbourne or Geelong.
The redevelopment was backed by the Labor Government’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund that is supporting major projects and industries, and to date, has helped generate more than 4,600 regional jobs.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford
“We’re making history right here in Ballarat, bringing AFL to the heart of our great city and giving sports lovers across our region the chance to experience all it has to offer.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight
“We’re not just bringing AFL to Ballarat, we’re bringing footy fans and visitors from Victoria and interstate. It’s fantastic news for jobs, small businesses and our grassroots clubs.
Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard
“The stage is set for this historic clash – but it’s just the beginning of an exciting journey as Ballarat becomes home to the best elite sporting competitions and events at our new world-class stadium.”