Ballarat is now AFL ready, with its first football game set to be played on newly launched Mars Stadium in Creswick Rd, Ballarat.
Featuring the Eureka grandstand designed by Peddle Thorp, Mars Stadium will now see its biggest AFL crowd when the Western Bulldogs take Port Adelaide on 19 August 2017.
The stadium was formally launched in June when global chocolate bar company Mars was declared the official naming rights sponsor of the redeveloped stadium.
With a capacity of more than 11,000, the redeveloped stadium will ensure AFL games can continue to come to Ballarat.
It is now a proud part of Peddle Thorp’s tradition of sports architecture.
The AFL game is creating some excitement in the regional capital with the free City of Ballarat Footy Live Site at the Ballarat Showgrounds being set up next to the stadium so more fans can watch the game on big screens.
The ground has witnessed a few AFL games over the years, but it now could become part of the regular AFL season thanks to a new home ground relationship developed with the Western Bulldogs.
The upgrade features a better playing surface with the same dimensions as Etihad Stadium, capacity for 11,000 spectators, a 5000 seat undercover grandstand, 37 metre-tall light towers and a 50 square-metre video scoreboard.
The stadium can draw 21,000 visitors to Ballarat each year and increase annual tourism spending in the city by up to $3.6 million.
The State Government had provided $31.5 million towards the Eureka precinct redevelopment, which includes upgrading Eureka Stadium, the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre, the C.E. Brown Reserve and the Ballarat Showgrounds.
Mars Stadium will also enable the region to attract international events.
Quick grandstand tour. Video: Lachlan Bence / The Courier