AFL agrees to purchase Etihad Stadium

The AFL has agreed to purchase Etihad Stadium in a deal reported to be worth about $200 million.

The long-anticipated buyout, expected to be confirmed on Friday, is likely to result in major upgrades to the 54,000-capacity ground, which opened in 2000.

It is also expected to boost gate returns for the ground’s tenants clubs, including the Western Bulldogs, Carlton, St Kilda and North Melbourne.

The stadium was scheduled to be transferred to the AFL in 2025 under a deal with the ground’s consortium of owners, but AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has made clear his desire to bring the takeover forward.

“We think that there’s a whole series of aspects that need upgrading and we want to do deals with the tenant clubs so they can make more money,” he told 3AW radio last month.

“We’d like to work with the state government, in partnership, so the stadium works more seven days a week, 365 days a year and interacts with the precinct better.”

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has previously flagged the possibility of demolishing Etihad Stadium and building a $1 billion new AFL venue in the shadow of the MCG to take over the mantle of Melbourne’s second stadium.

But McLachlan believes the Docklands ground is still a strong asset which can be improved.

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