The Richmond Tigers AFL (Australian Football League) team has revealed proposals for a 40,000-seat stadium at the club’s Punt Road Oval headquarters. In a statement on the club’s website, Tigers CEO Brendon Gale outlined the reasons why the team has put the Punt Road playing plans back on the agenda after shelving the initial idea three years ago – a return to home matches at the famous ground, which were last played there in 1964, is a prominent part of Richmond’s planning.
“We wouldn’t expect to play all games here. Clearly, our home ground’s the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), just over the road, and our average crowd last year was just under 50,000. So, I’d anticipate we’d play a lot of games at the MCG,” Gale explained. “But there are some games where we draw less, so it’d be feasible.
“There’s a handful of clubs in Melbourne, and the expansion teams, that have lower-drawing games. A lower-capacity, low-cost stadium would make those sorts of fixtures much more viable.
“[Discussions about Punt Road Oval becoming a third AFL stadium in Melbourne] began in 2013, when there were concerns about the stadium deals that some clubs had that weren’t very productive. So, it was a means of trying to provide a low-capacity, low-cost stadium, to provide better returns for clubs. It was on that basis the AFL came to us.
“Punt Road was an attractive venue, so we were prepared to have a good, long, hard look at it. There was, however, no compelling reason for us to explore it because there was only an 18,000 capacity, which meant we wouldn’t play there at all.
“But (three years on) we’re still talking about the structural issues of stadium deals and how some clubs are hamstrung.
“In the context of discussion and debate around third venues, if the capacity was increased, we’d want it to be put back on the agenda.”
Gale stressed, however, that the plans were nothing more than an idea at this stage, and a long way from coming to fruition.
“It’s an idea, which we thought would be worthwhile re-presenting to consider in light of the current discussion around stadiums,” he said.
March 18, 2016