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Dramatic decline in visitation at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre

Dramatic decline in visitation at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre
June 5, 2018

The number of people visiting Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) has plunged over recent years, from more than 2.26 million visits in 2012/13 to 1.8 million visits just four years later.

As reported by Melbourne newspaper The Age, the Victorian Government has confirmed funding for MSAC was increased from $9.6 million last year to $13.7 million in the coming budget.

Often seen as Australia’s flagship aquatic, receation and sport facility, the Albert Park facility comes under the management of Victoria’s State Sports Centre Trust, which oversees several other venues including Lakeside Stadium and the State Netball Hockey Centre.

Responding to questions about MSAC’s falling patronage, a spokesperson for Victorian Sport Minister John Eren said the Victorian Government was investing to encourage more people to play and watch sport.

The spokesperson advised “support for the Trust has not only focused on attracting more events but improving access for people with a disability, delivering female-friendly facilities and boosting participation for women and girls.”

While the MSAC’s attendance figures lag behind their recent peak five years ago, the Victorian Government estimated they have improved slightly to 1.9 million in 2017/18.

Visitation for Lakeside Stadium and the State Netball Hockey Centre have fluctuated since 2012/13 but increased to 110,000 and 512,124 respectively in 2016/17.

Southern Metropolitan State MP Margaret Fitzherbert said the Trust needed to regain the support of locals.

Fitzherbert told The Age “this is a staggering drop in patronage, when most local sports clubs are under huge pressure to cope with growing demand.

“We need locals back as members of the sports centre trust, as they were by right up until 2012 to better balance the needs of locals and elite athletes”.

The Victorian Government cited the closure of MSAC’s wave pool, waterslide and leisure area for refurbishment for the decrease in visitor numbers.

It added that MSAC had come under increased competition from other venues where basketball and table tennis competitions are now being held.

Former staff also point to a high turnover of staff members.

The falling attendances coincide with plans to update Albert Park, which may include new paths and entrances, new wetlands and a shared pedestrian cycling bridge over Albert Park Lake. 

Images: Swimming carnival at MSAC (top) and the facility's main pool (below).

20th February 2018 - 18-HOLE GOLF COURSE TO BE RETAINED AT MELBOURNE’S ALBERT PARK 

24th January 2018 - 200,000 WATER BOTTLES REFILLED IN MSAC WATER CONSERVATION INITIATIVE‚Äč

8th November 2017 - MELBOURNE SPORTS AND AQUATIC CENTRE EXPANDS HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS

25th October 2017 - MSAC ACHIEVES PLATINUM POOL STATUS 

12th January 2017 - AUSTRALIAN POOL LIFE SAVING CHAMPIONSHIPS COMMENCE AT MSAC 

3rd December 2016 - CUSTOMER SURVEY DRIVES CHANGES AT MSAC FITNESS CENTRE

31st March 2016 - PHIL MEGGS ANNOUNCED AS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE MELBOURNE SPORTS HUB 

27th November 2015 - SIMON WEATHERILL TO LEAVE MELBOURNE SPORTS HUB AFTER 20 YEARS

13th October 2014 - MSAC STAFF RECEIVE AMBULANCE VICTORIA COMMENDATION

9th October 2014 - PERFORMANCE CENTRE OPENS AT MELBOURNE SPORTS AND AQUATIC CENTRE 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

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