Ikon Park, traditionally known as Princes Park, is the headquarters of the Carlton Football Club. It was the last suburban ground to be used in the AFL and now serves as the primary AFLW ground in Melbourne. Lights were installed at the ground in 2022 to allow for night matches.
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 was reduced to around 21,000, and an extension of the Carlton headquarters completed in 2022 has further reduced capacity to around 12,000.
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 - Carlton v Melbourne was the final game at the venue. In 2006 it became MC Labour Park for two years and is now officially known as Visy Park.
While the Carlton Football Club now play their home matches at Marvel Stadium and the MCG, Princes Park remains 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 and Super Rugby franchise Melbourne Rebels have also both previously used the venue as their training base for periods of time.
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 the VFL Grand Final, while Carlton's AFLW home games are played at the venue.
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.
Ikon Park Details
MC Labour Park