Etihad Stadium and the surrounding precinct will get a $225 million makeover in a landmark deal that also locks in the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne for 40 years.
The agreement between the AFL and Andrews Government will pave the way for Melbourne Cricket Club to embark on a $1 billion redevelopment of the MCG’s Great Southern Stand in about a decade, increasing the capacity above its current 100,024.
Etihad’s revamp will focus on improving fans’ viewing, with better seating for the footy and other major events on the bottom level.
The package includes $242 million to upgrade facilities at suburban grounds and local clubs — including making Ikon Park in Carlton the home of women’s football.
In return for the Etihad upgrade money, the AFL will frequently have to open the ground to other major events and sporting codes, including rugby and soccer.
Footy clubs hosting games at Etihad will get “fairer” deals. And women’s change rooms will be upgraded.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the funding was designed with supporters in mind.
Mr Andrews said: “This is for the fans, giving them the best venues, better access to the sports they love, and keeping the Grand Final where it belongs — at the MCG — for the next 40 years. This landmark deal will bring more footy to the regions, boost AFLW facilities, and make sure Victoria stays the sporting capital of Australia.”
The MCC is expected to be ready to start the Great Southern Stand redevelopment in 10 years, with the project spanning three years. It is anticipated the capacity will increase by at least a few thousand and as much as 10,000.
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