Visy Park


Visy Park

Infobox_Stadium
stadium_name = Visy Park
nickname =


location = Princes Park, Melbourne
broke_ground = 1892
opened = 1897
closed = 2005 (for AFL)
demolished = "incumbent"
owner = City of Melbourne
operator = Carlton Football Club
surface = Grass
construction_cost = "unknown"
architect = "various"
tenants =
Carlton Football Club (administration only)

Melbourne Storm (administration only)
| former_names =
Princes Park Stadium (1897-1994)
Optus Oval (1994-2006)

seating_capacity =
35,000

"Visy Park" or (Princes Park Football Ground) is an Australian rules football ground located at Princes Park in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton, Victoria. With an all-seated capacity of 35,000, it has been the home ground of the Carlton Football Club since the formation of the VFL/AFL in 1897 and is the single longest serving ground in the competition.

History

From the 1994 through to the 2005 Australian Football League seasons, the ground was known as Optus Oval in a naming rights deal with telecommunications company Optus. This deal lapsed at the end of the 2005 season, and Optus declined to renew, citing the ground's lower profile now that AFL matches were no longer played there. In April 2006, it was announced that the naming rights for the stadium had once again been awarded, this time for a two-year term, during which the stadium will be known as MC Labour Park.

In 2005, it was decided to discontinue the use of the ground for AFL home and away games. A farewell AFL game was played at Princes Park on Saturday May 21, 2005. The game was contested between Carlton and Melbourne. It was the last of the suburban grounds in Melbourne to be used in the AFL. The result was an 18 point win to Melbourne.

In January 2006, Graham Smorgon, ex-president of the Carlton Football Club, prepared a AUD $67 million redevelopment proposal involving the demolition of most of the stands, returning much of the ground to parkland and the establishment of club training facilities and community centre. [ [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21072069-11088,00.html Smorgon's dream vision] ] The proposal was controversial as it was presented to the media before local authorities and was made at a time when the club was struggling under the weight of heavy financial debt. Cynics branded it as an attempt by an arrogant Carlton board to rally member votes.

On June 7, 2006 it was announced that Visy Park would receive a AUD$15.7m redevelopment to provide the Carlton Football Club with elite training and administration facilities. The proposed redevelopment will provide state-of-the-art facilities exclusively for Carlton, including:
* Gymnasium, weights and stretch areas
* 4 lane, 25 metre indoor heated pool
* Medical offices and rehabilitation/treatment areas
* Football Administration offices
* Lecture theatre and meeting rooms
* Change room facilities

Tenants

Over the years, the Princes Park Football Ground has hosted several other Australian rules football teams, including Hawthorn, Fitzroy and the Western Bulldogs. It has also seen service in the final series of several seasons, notably in 1945, when the VFL Grand Final was played there, creating the record crowd for the ground of 62,986. The ground has also hosted most of the Victorian Football League Grand Finals in recent years and is the current Home Ground of the newly created VFL side of the Collingwood Football Club, (ironic considering in the AFL they are bitter rivals).

Other sports, including soccer, cricket, boxing and rugby, have also been played there. The ground was also host to a production of the opera "Aida".

The Carlton Football Club retains the use of the ground for training, administration and social club purposes, and in March 2006, the AFL touted the purchase of Princes Park from the Carlton Football Club to make a return as an AFL venue as an alternative to competitive balance fund payments to the club.

For the 2006 NRL season onwards, MC Labour Park is also the administrative headquarters for the Melbourne Storm rugby league club. The club relocated to the temporary home while plans were being made for the construction of a new purpose-built rectangular stadium next to the current Melbourne Storm home ground, Olympic Park Stadium.

The appointment of Richard Pratt as President has renewed speculation that it may again be used by the Carlton Football Club as a home ground in the future, although it remains unlikely.

References

External links

*Austadiums|84
* [http://www.aroundthegrounds.bellestorie.com/princes/princes.html "Around the Grounds" - Web Documentary - Princes Park]


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