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AFL Agrees New MCG Deal

AFL Agrees New MCG Deal
September 7, 2009

The AFL hopes the new deal struck with MCG management to reap better match day returns for Victorian clubs might entice Etihad Stadium operators to come to the party.

Earlier this week the AFL announced a deal that would ensure Victorian clubs playing home matches at the MCG received a better financial deal on match days.

The new arrangement, brokered by the Victorian state government, means clubs hosting matches at the home of football will receive an additional $100,000 per game, while non-tenant clubs are also set to benefit.

AFL Chief Operating Officer Gillon McLachlan said the deal was a win for "Victorian clubs and football" and was likely to mean clubs would be even more determined to shift their matches from the Docklands venue, explaining "given there's $100,000 a game given directly into the match returns of the MCG tenant clubs, obviously it puts a lot of pressure on Etihad.

"I'm sure there'll be Etihad-based clubs wanting to go and play at the MCG.

"We need to contemplate that when we roll out our ASD (Annual Special Distribution) funding for next year but, in the end for all Victorian clubs to be prospering, we need an arrangement here (at Etihad Stadium).

"So we look forward to hopefully having further productive discussions. I know there is a deal on the table and we look forward to the board of MSL (Melbourne Stadium Limited) and the management team looking to support their tenants like the MCG Trust and the MCC have done."

McLachlan said this week's agreement was the culmination of extensive work between the AFL, the Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and the MCG Trust, adding "we thank the state government for their support as well as the MCC - Melbourne Cricket Club.

"I think they've got intentions to actually re-develop the whole of the Great Southern Stand.

"With the $30 million that'll be about creating better amenities for our AFL members, and they're ultimately, through club support, members of the clubs as well."

Several AFL clubs have lamented their current deals at Etihad Stadium, which sees many battling to finish in the black each season.

North Melbourne Chief Executive Eugene Arocca has been vocal in his disapproval of the match day returns from Melbourne's second stadium, claiming the Roos are likely to net just $77,000 from the club's 10 home games there.

McLachlan said the League was hoping to broker a deal with Etihad Stadium that, like the one achieved with the MCG this week, would alleviate clubs' financial battles on match day.

Arocca stated "there is a minimum commitment from the MCC every year for the next 10 years of around about $6 million..

"That money will go directly back to the tenant clubs, so it'll be $100,000 per game going into the match return for every club who plays [home games] at the MCG and there'll be a bonus pool of about $1.4 to $1.7 million going to all of the clubs that play there."

Part of the deal will see a re-development of the Great Southern Stand after the Victorian government agreed to contribute $30 million for the upgrade.
Ben Broad, www.afl.com.au


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