The largest cricket stadium in the world has undergone a lot of renovations and redevelopments. It is very possible that another one is ahead. Where is this great venue located and when might it be expanded?
170 years of Melbourne Cricket Ground
The history of Melbourne Cricket Ground began with this very sport - cricket. Relatively early, in 1858, the facility was also home to Australian rules football, whose matches were played on the oval pitch. In addition to the national teams, over the years up to 10 clubs of these two sports have used the stadium simultaneously. The stadium has also hosted two cricket World Cups and fills up every year for the AFL league finals.
Back in the 19th century, the first brick stand was built here, and since 1900 the arena has been electrically lit. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the first stadiums in the world to have a scoreboard. Soccer games also came to the stadium, but this happened in 1956, with the Olympics. The Australian national team plays its matches here - friendly games or qualifiers for international tournaments. On top of that, Europe's biggest clubs come here for friendly matches on overseas tours. The events are very popular among people at a young age too, which is quite interesting: although they usually enjoy their time while playing online poker, or trying out the latest video game, they also find an interest in the variety of current sports events.
What could change at Melbourne Cricket Ground?
The MCG is our most iconic stadium and we are working with the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust to plan what is needed for the coming decades - said Minister of Victoria State, Martin Pakula. As reported by The Herald Sun, the government there has spent $2 million on a planning process that has produced renderings of the project.
First and foremost, the Shane Warne Stand is to be expanded, and the venue's capacity could then rise to 105,000. The stadium's floodlights could be built into the roofs, as is the case at Perth's Optus Stadium, meaning that floodlight towers will not be needed. They will, however, be retained due to their historic value. At this point, however, there are no set timelines for the work - it could start as early as around 2027.
© Tourism Victoria (cc: by)
This would not be the first modernization of Melbourne Cricket Ground
After a series of rebuilds at the beginning of the century, the capacity grew to 20,000 in 1912, and almost all the stands were built from scratch. Later, changes were somewhat slower, but the stadium continued to grow, with new stands being built in 1927, 1937 and 1956. The latter, called the Olympic Stand, was constructed for the 1956 Olympics, when the venue was equipped with an athletics track.
Crucial to the stadium's shape today was a 1988 study that showed the terrible condition of the southern part of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. So, by 1992, a new semicircular stand, the largest of its kind, was built, named the "Great Southern Stand." It was to cost $100 million, but absorbed half as much funding. Thanks to further changes in the early 21st century, the magic capacity - 100,000 - was crossed. Will more renovations take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and when?