WACA Ground as boutique venue



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Australia WACA ground Image: WACA & Murchoch University

The Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) Ground in Australia which is all set to be reduced and repurposed into a boutique sporting venue will yet retain its flavor as an international cricket stadium that maintains the International Cricket Council (ICC) – the governing body for world cricket – accreditation. Work on Western Australia’s “home of cricket” is set to begin by the end of the year.

The WACA Ground Improvement Project envisages the transformation of this iconic stadium at East Perth, Australia, into a boutique sporting venue albeit seats will be reduced to permanent capacity of 10,000 with a temporary overlay of 15,000 if required. The venue presently boasts capacity of 20,000, and will harmonize with the premier Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia, which can pack in a crowd of 60,000.

The WACA, which takes its nomenclature from its owners and operators, Western Australia Cricket Association, has been Western Australia’s home of cricket since the early 1890s, with Test cricket being played at the stadium since the 1970-71 seasons. The WACA Ground opened in the early 1890s and has undergone several rehabilitations over the years.

Optus Stadium is a multipurpose world-class venue, hosting a year-round calendar of major national and international sporting and entertainment events. The reimagined WACA Ground would complement the much larger Optus Stadium, which is located across the Swan River and opened in January 2018. Optus Stadium has hosted high-profile Test matches and Big Bash League (BBL) fixtures since it went off the ground.

The project price tag has been pegged at $75 million and financing the same has not been a problem. In December 2019, the WACA marked a major step forward in achieving this vision. The State Government committed A$30m (£16.3m/€18.1m/$21.3m) as capital injection towards the transformation of the WACA Ground. Funds will also flow in from the Federal Government which has also promised an equivalent A$30m, while Cricket Australia will provide A$4m and the WACA will raise a further A$10m through the Western Australia Cricket Foundation.

The Association is confident that the WACA Ground Improvement Project will cater to the needs of the community and cricket now and in the long term.

The development will make room for the Ground to be used for multisport and event use and the design will showcase the heritage and history of the WACA Ground.

The reinvigorated museum will not only pay ode to the rich cricket, sporting and entertainment history of the Ground, it will also pay homage to the traditional owners of the land on which it is housed and will honor the rich tapestry of the Ground in the sports and entertainment industry as well as consolidate its place as a must-see tourist destination.

The WACA Ground Improvement Project will see the Inverarity and Prindiville stands removed and in lieu of it will come up one central structure and pavilion on the northern end of the Ground.

What will remain familiar to fans are the WACA scoreboard, Lillee-Marsh Stand, Players’ Pavilion and South West Pavilion until an opportunity to utilize that land as part of the activation of the East Perth precinct is agreed upon or for its remaining useful life.

Stated Mick Murray, Western Australia’s Minister for Sport and Recreation, “With a historic, reimagined WACA Ground sitting just across the river from the ultra-modern Optus Stadium, there will be no better set-up in the world for cricket. The Ground is a famous sporting icon that needs to be preserved and this commitment will help ensure its future and make it accessible for everyone in the community.”

WACA Chair Tuck Waldron added, “It’s a great day for cricket in Western Australia, and this funding will go a long way in helping us bring our vision for the iconic venue to life through the WACA Ground Improvement Project.”

Waldron continued, “We are now one step closer to transforming the much-loved WACA Ground into a high-quality venue not only for cricket and other sports, but entertainment and community events too, which will help energize the East Perth area. We are committed to raising the remaining A$10m through the Western Australia Cricket Foundation to ensure this development offers incredible experiences and creates long-lasting memories for the Western Australia community into the future.”
 

Project traits:

  • An activated piazza space that can be enjoyed by the community the whole year through;
  • A reduced capacity Ground, with innovative shade solutions;
  • Ten-lane indoor cricket facility to be used by the elite, pathway players, the cricket community and the broader community;
  • High performance facilities devoted to elite players, including gym, change rooms and recovery facilities;
  • A public fitness facility;
  • Reinvigorated museum that honors the rich history of the Ground in the sport and entertainment industry and secures the WACA Ground’s place as a must-see tourist destination;
  • Retention of the WACA scoreboard;
  • Provision of new Program Delivery Center for WACA employees;
  • Lecture theatre and multipurpose meeting rooms, that will be made available for community use;
  • Resizing of the oval to accommodate Australian rules football matches and other sports;
  • A sports lighting upgrade;
  • Provision of space to provide for medical and sports science services currently lacking in the East Perth precinct;
  • Café; and
  • A new pavilion, including food and beverage outlets and a multiuse function room.

 
The WACA informed that it is also mulling on teaming up with the City of Perth to incorporate an aquatic facility into the project, including a 50-meter pool, a learn-to-swim pool and a leisure slide.

The WACA Ground would also serve as a training base for the State’s BBL and women’s BBL teams and would also play host to State league Aussie rules football fixtures.

The Big Bash League (BBL) is an Australian professional franchise Twenty20 cricket league, which was established in 2011 by Cricket Australia.

Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, is a contact sport played between two teams of 18 players on an oval field, often a modified cricket ground.

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