At a meeting with the Australian Football League (AFL) and AFL clubs last Friday, the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) – with the support of the MCG Trust - made an offer to Victorian-based clubs to increase their financial return from home matches staged at the MCG.
This offer comprised a package totalling more than $50 million (after indexation) over a 10-year period, effective from the opening round of the 2009 AFL season. The package involves an extra payment to the home club of $90,000 per match for matches at the MCG plus an incentive payment for season's attendances in excess of 2.1 million patrons.
As an example, Melbourne Football Club’s 10 home matches would earn an additional $900,000 in 2009 while Richmond’s eight matches would ensure it receives an extra $720,000 from its home matches this season.
“This is an extremely generous offer, considering we have a long-term contract with the AFL that was entered into to support the redevelopment of both the Great Southern Stand and the Northern Stand,” said MCC chief executive Stephen Gough. “That contract involved the MCC in 2001 taking on a massive $360 million debt obligation for the northern side of the MCG.”
A critical part of the MCC’s current offer to the AFL clubs is the requirement for an extension of time to pay off this debt burden as ground cash flows are reduced as a result of additional payments to clubs. The main contribution to servicing the ground's debt has come from MCC members, who are currently contributing $40 million per year.