|Ikon Park | Austadiums|
Princes Park, officially known as Ikon Park, is the traditional home of the Carlton Football Club and was the last suburban ground to be used in the AFL. The ground played host to its final official AFL match in 2005 when the Blues played Melbourne in front of a sell-out crowd.
The Carlton venue was one of the first in Australia to enter into a naming rights agreement, when it became Optus Oval in late 1993. It was known as this until the end of the 2005 AFL season when life as an AFL venue came to an end. In 2006 it became MC Labour Park for two years and is now officially known as Visy Park.
Princes Park formerly had a seating capacity of 35,000 throughout six grandstands - the newest of which was the Legends Stand located at the eastern end of the ground. An additional surcharge on match days made this an unpopular grandstand to sit in and was often the least-filled stand during AFL matches. Following the construction of a training and administration building, the capacity of the ground is now about 22,000.
While the Carlton Football Club now play their home matches at Docklands Stadium, Princes Park is still the training and administration base of the AFL club. In 2008, the venue underwent an $18 million redevelopment with two grandstands at the western end making way for a new high performance training and administration centre which was completed in 2010. NRL club Melbourne Storm used the venue as their training base for a period of time and Super Rugby franchise Melbourne Rebels also use the venue as their base.
Carlton weren't the only AFL club to call Princes Park home. Hawthorn used the venue for 18 seasons after moving from Glenferie Oval and prior to moving to Waverley Park. The Western Bulldogs, Fitzroy Lions and South Melbourne also used the venue for shorter stints. In recent years, the ground has hosted many Victorian Football League matches including Grand Finals.
Princes Park played host to more sports than Australian Football. During the 1980's and 90's, the ground played host to a number of Rugby League games, Cricket and even Boxing. Former NSL club, Carlton Soccer Club - originally owned by the Football Club, played their home games at the ground from when they were established in 1997 until 1999 when they moved to Olympic Park.