The MCG is likely to see major renovations to the Great Southern Stand in the next 10 years, according to outgoing MCC president Steven Smith.
Opened in 1992, the southern stand boasts a capacity of about 45,000 and while it has received some renovations over time, including a significant upgrade in 2013, it has largely become outdated when compared to the likes of Optus Stadium.
Smith said they would like to make some major changes to the stand, linking it to Brunton Avenue and Richmond Station, which there is potential for a boost in capacity.
“In the last four years, the extension of the AFL agreement that means the Grand Final is now guaranteed for 40 years at the MCG,” Smith told SEN Breakfast.
“What that means in 10 years when the Southern Stand is 35 years old, and it’s about the time you start thinking what you do with grand stands, we’ve got enough guaranteed content to borrow the billion dollars that we need to rebuild it.
“To connect it to Richmond Station, to connect it to AAMI Park and the tennis centre and it’ll retain being one of the greatest sporting grounds in the world, but also it would be one of the best sporting precincts in the world.
“35 years, it flies past, new stadiums coming through like Perth, Adelaide’s re-done, around the world it’s changing all the time so you’ve got to keep modernising.”
Smith doesn’t expect the renovations to boost the MCG’s 100,000-capacity significantly.
“We might be able to get an extra 5,000 possibly, depends on how high you go,” he said.
“It’s also very narrow the Southern Stand, it needs to be extended out across Brunton Avenue, it’ll sort of provide better facilities over there. There aren’t the restaurants and bars for the public we’d like to have.”
The outgoing president added it’s very unlikely the MCG will ever a have roof (as floated in 2016), in a similar vein to Marvel Stadium.
“Not at this point, it’s just not possible from an engineering point of view,” he said.
“I think the beauty about it would be trying to provide more coverage for spectators so they don’t get rained on.”
Meanwhile, the MCG has improved security around the stadium, with the installation of new 24-hour CCTV cameras and LED lighting in Yarra Park, to keep fans safe after dark. The technology has been developed by EnergyAustralia
$50 million will be spent on improvements at Australia’s largest stadium over the next year including a new PA system, progressing to LED sports lighting, and the upgrade of a number of public bars and catering facilities.