This paper focuses on the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It looks at the facility audit and feasibility/design analysis of the stadium. The Melbourne cricket Ground (MCG) is arguably one of the greatest assets in Australia. It is the most fashionable stadium and it is a usually very busy venue.
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It is used to host international cricket, Australian football, dinners and other key events in its arena . The MCG usually has a very busy calendar throughout the year with approximately more that 80 days of sporting activities mainly cricket and football. The venue registers more than three million visitors every year.
The management of MCG is a subordinate of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC). The club has more and more opened up the roles of MCG from being purely entertainment to a global tourist attraction centre.
Nevertheless, the major point of focus in the management of the MCG is event days. The MCC ensures that the ever increasing public demand is met by the provision of state-of-the-art facilities.
Nature of the MCG Melbourne Cricket Ground
The MCG has great spectator facilities. It has a total capacity of 100,018 and this encompasses 95,000 seats and roughly 5000 spaces in standing rooms. Expansion of the stadium in anticipation of the 2006 Commonwealth games has led to the MCG being one of the most developed stadia in the world.
The Northern stand stands out as compared to the Great southern one. It has transparent walls through which patrons can see nice scenery as they enter the stadium.
The patrons are able to see the beautifully built stadium with colourful decorations and the magnificent atria installed with escalators for taking them to upper parts of the stadium.
The amenities and finishes are magnificent all through the stadium. The toilet facilities and seats are well build to serve the customers well. The gender ratio of toilets has improved over time. Initially, there were more toilets for men than for ladies.
In the seating area of the stadium, plastic bucket seats are bolted on wider plats. This reduces human traffic jam in the stadium. The seats are positioned in such a way that there is no obstruction throughout the game.
The new structure was designed in such a way that the stands are closer to the arena. This makes it more interesting for the spectators as they are nearer to the action. Additionally, the seats are bigger than before the 2002 to 2006 renovation and quite a good percentage of them are sheltered.
To meet the demands of the ever increasing population, the sizes of the dining rooms have also nearly been doubled. There are big accommodation rooms for accommodating up to 500 guests. This enhances tenant sporting activities. There are large new changing rooms that are used by the football and cricket players.
These, together with the coaches’ rooms ensure that the players’ facilities meet the required standards. There is as well an extensive underground car parking space that has two parking spaces for each table in the stadium.
This is a great facility for the patrons especially now that there is an increase in ownership of cars across the world. The aesthetic landscape and opened up access road also provides good scenery to the patrons and other visitors.
The aesthetic value and lighting in the seating area of the stadium has also been improved by a beautiful blend of metal and glass as the roofing materials.
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In accordance to the Equal Opportunity Act 1995, the MCC created the following special facilities for the physically challenged individuals; special parking, a stadium access entrance, seating facilities in the great southern stand, the Ponsford stand, the Olympic stand and the MCC members’ reserve.
Special toilets has also been built in the Ponsford stand wing, the Olympic stand wing, the MCC members reserve and corporate suites, food outlets.
For purposes of alerting people in the stadium in case of an emergency, there are several sirens installed in strategic places in the ground. The sirens are controlled from a central point in the stadium. They are operated by pushing on two red buttons at the same time.
The availability of an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) system ensures that the sirens are operated even when there is power failure.
The MCG arena is made of natural turf; that is, it is made of natural grass; couch and rye. Sand soil is used in the arena because it has better drainage characteristics and as well better load-bearing capacity.
The MCG arena is quite big with a total area of approximately 20,000 square metres. This ground has got capacity for 96 sprinklers and has got 1% gradient. Yarra Park is a significant natural phenomenon in the history of Australian sports.
After the establishment of the MCG, the park provided parking services for horses when people visited the MCG. It later became a parking place for motor cars .
The MCG has got state-of-the-art catering services. There are quite a number of dining rooms, cafes, food courts, bars and outlets for takeaway food. All these are at the disposal of the members and guests in the ground’s reserve. The cafes are categorized in terms of levels.
At level one there is an example of the Hugh Trumble Café where Bistro-style meals can be found. At level 2 there is like the Percy Beames Bar and Terrace Café where light snacks are offered.
The traditional carvery is also available in the Long room which is also an example of a level 2 café. Examples of level 3 and 4 cafes include the Frank Grey Smith bar and midfielders bar respectively .
Design & construction of the MCG
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is located on the junction between inner-city Melbourne suburbs of Richmond and East Melbourne. It is roughly 2.5 kilometers from Melbourne CBD. The MCG is situated in Yarra Park, bordered by Brunton Avenue, Jolimont Street and Jolimont Terrace .
The MCG management is keen on keeping in mind the needs of the society at large while designing and making improvements on the facility and its environs. The main environmental concerns here are water and energy management.
The management of the ground in collaboration with the local governments is committed to the implementation of the Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). This is geared towards ensuring constant water supply not only to the members but also the society at large.
The Yarra Park improvement is one of the major concerns of the management. The Park had deteriorated so much due to droughts. The MCC has embarked on an ambitious plan to improve the Park as part of its commitment to the implementation of WSUD.
This involves the development of non-potable water supply in the park and improvement of the trees, grass and soil conditions.
In 2006, the MCG underwent 60% renovation in three years. This work was done by a five architectural firms led by Populous, others were Daryl Jackson Architects, Hassell, Cox Architects, and TS&E. The stadium was to be designed to meet international standards; at the same time not losing its historical traditions.
Populous Architects while redesigning, fashioned three major access and meeting positions in the stadium to grant the stakeholders their own special privileges. The stakeholders are pulled from the following associations; AFL, Cricket, Rugby League and soccer .
The new renovated stadium has the following elements; seven new bars and restaurants with a seating capacity of 5,000 people. It was designed in a way that of the 5,000 seats 3,800 would view the pitch from where there were seated .
Ownership/Management of the MCG
MCG trust has vested administration mandate to the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) that is headed by the president Paul Sheehan. MCC main mandate is to make the MCG a leading sport centre in Australia.
The MCC have had the mandate to manage the stadium from September 23rd 1853 to 2042. It enjoys the service of 150 fulltime employees and around 1,000 more are used on every event’s day.
Strategy and Structure of the MCG
The main tenants of MCG are Australian Football and the cricket association. Other tenants are the soccer and rugby associations, and concerts, although their use of the venue depends on the absence of a cricket or AFL event.
Organizational structure/staffing/human resources
The management of the MCG is done through seven departments that report to the executive officer of the club. These departments are discussed below:
Member and Customer Service department
Its core mandate is to provide services to the club members, clubs’ 11 sporting sections, club functions, MCC cricket, special interest groups, and other stakeholders. The MCC communication team is the one mandated for publications, media liaison, and publicity, among many other roles, is a member of this department.
It is at the centre of planning and execution of all major activities in the MCG. It coordinates with event managers for a successful event day. It also cooperates with Ticketek, on the sale of tickets. Ticketek provides its own staff when selling tickets.
It is mandated with the general maintenance of the stadium and its surroundings. Some of the functions include turf management, repairs and maintenance, security and cleaning among other tasks.
Finance and Information Systems
It is concerned with all monetary and accounting tasks in the MCC foundation and the MCG trust and National Sport Museum.
It is involved in marketing and renting out of all MCC suites and dining rooms. Some of the other tasks include managing contracts, sponsorship, sourcing money-making opportunities, and providing club’s brand guidelines.
Heritage and Tourism
It is responsible for operating National Sports Museum, MCC Museum, and Library and MCG tours. It also manages the collections from the museums, the library, stadium, and public art.
People and Culture department
This department is involved in the enrollment of members, performance management, and growth, employee benefits, and remuneration, employee affairs and health and security management.
Marketing and Quality at MCG
Commercial Operations, is involved in marketing and selling of all MCC suites and dining rooms as the great number of members who pay subscription fees. Some of its other tasks are but not limited to; managing contracts, sponsorship, sourcing money-making opportunities, and providing club’s brand guidelines.
Quality Service Systems
The MCC is dedicated to offering quality services. It initially managed its clients using a customer-care platform based on Linux. This system had shortcomings when it came to customer satisfaction. Therefore, the club had to improve the system by adding the Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
This ensured streamlined service delivery to clients and proper management of member services. The system as well laid ground for alignment with the present requirements as well as for future growth.
The MCC targeted to get closer to the customers, develop their profile and make improvements where necessary by observing their likes and dislikes.
This would ensure that best services are delivered to the customers by the management. The CRM was settled on as the best system by the management after studying the systems applied in other clubs across the world.
It is a system developed by Microsoft. The management also got into partnership with Avanade, a technological services provider. This company is in charge of management of the computer and other technological systems at MCG.
The Commercial Operations does all marketing communications, advertisement, and is involved in marketing and renting out of all MCC suites and dining rooms.
The MCC public relations team works in the Member and Customer Services (MACS) department. It’s in charge of all the interactions between MCC and the outside world.
Some of the tasks or roles include realizing all publications, doing media liaison during event times, publicizing events, updating, and maintaining the MCC website. Others include promoting MCC through email campaigns and providing in-house communication.
MCG is one of the most active sport grounds in the world. The venue hire fee only related to the venue access.
It does not cover other services like equipment for production (sound, lighting, broadcasting etc.), labor, security services, and any catering expenses as well as cleaning. These venue services are offered at the guests request and thus their pricing can be availed on request.
The management of the advertisement on the ground and scoreboard are under the control of the Stadia Management. The media plays a major role in this. Advertisement of the events and other commercial activities that are involved at the MCG go hand in hand.
Print media, radio and Television help advertise the corporate suites that are availed in the grounds as well as the tourism services that are available in Yarra Park, MCG museum and the National sports museum. The online services are also crucial especially in reaching out to the rest of the world.
The commercial Operations team offers assistance and services on merchandising and licensing. The media has to seek an okay from the MCC before taking any films or photos while in the venue. This has to be done at least a fortnight before the day for the shooting and photo taking.
MCG commercial fees vary depending on the following venue hire, cost-recovery, and commercial licensing. The venue has a set fee for hire. The Promotions Factory (TPF) is the official licensing and merchandising partner of the MCG.
The MCC has contracted the services of Ticketeck Company for selling tickets for attendance of all events at the MCG. The MCG has a total capacity of 100, 018, that include 95,000 seats and 5,000 standing spaces. Ticketek allows for pre-paid services.
The patrons who pre-pay have their seats reserved to give them assurance of attendance of the event. Seats that are not pre-paid for are usually sold at the public gates to spectators who could be coming to the event on the very day there is an event.
According to Ticketek, on some special events, all seats are sold prior to the event.
Information systems and market responsiveness have been improved by the adoption of the CRM system. The partnership with Avanade technologies assisted in the development of a system that was in agreement with the objectives of MCC.
It ensured proper marketing, profiling of customers, and easier information accessibility. This was a better system because it provided information based on user/customer analysis. This makes it easier for the MCC to assess the customer needs and promptly respond to the ever changing market requirements.
Programming at the MCG
The MCG is a hub of many of activities. The various events require thorough programming to ensure there is no clash during the calendar of the year. There is usually a calendar for activities annually. The calendar includes event days and non-event days.
During the event days is when the ground registers the highest number of visitors. The sport activities that are scheduled in the ground include the Australian football, cricket, baseball, golf, squash and many other field events.
The MCG thus receives several customers in any given year. Arrangement and running of events is a prerogative of the Events Department. This department works hand-in-hand with promoters at all stages of delivering an event. It acts as a link to the rest of the departments .
Apart from the resident members like the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Melbourne Football Club, there are the visiting clubs that sometimes hire the stadium for their activities. Schools and colleges also use the stadium for holding their competitions.
The highest number of visitors is the spectators. They can be considered as the passive customers. Apart from being spectators, some customers are tourists who visit the museums in the MCG. Most of the spectators and tourists visit the grounds as individuals unlike the active customers who come as teams.
The MCG has quite a big space for accommodating its customers. Apart from the MCG, the other venues under MCC management are; the Albert Ground, Swinburne Avenue bowls and Croquet complex. Management of these venues and the general built environment is under the Facilities Department.
The quality, number and sizes of these venues ensure there is sufficient space for the various activities. However, with the increasing trend of the number of visitors and activities, the management is apprehensive of the need for more expansion.
Plans are under way to achieve this. The MCC has invested 55 million USD in the renovation program since 2010 and the project earmarked to end this year; 2013.
The staff in charge of the each department in the MCC has been entrenched in the philosophy of each and every one being the face of MCC. Thus, everyone is required to conduct their duties as per the expectations of the club including observance of equity and social justice in the stadium.
The programming of the activities in the MCG puts into consideration the various activities required to take place in the various venues. It has to ensure there are the non-event days when tourism activities can take place.
Logistics at the MCG
The MCG is the largest stadium in Australia. It is the tenth largest in the world. The improvements on the stadium in preparation for the commonwealth events in 2006 enabled it to host quite a huge number of people as already discussed in this paper.
The anticipation of more customers in the future has made the MCC come up with innovative strategies for improving the quality of services as well as the capacity of the MCG and other venues under its management. Since 2010, it has embarked on renovation project of all the facilities in the stadium as mentioned earlier.
The MCC liaises with several other companies for supply and procurement of goods and services. For instance, the technology services are rendered through the Avanade technology company.
It also solicits the extension services of the City West Water Engineers in the provision of contingency measures during highly attended matches and other events. This is discussed later in this paper.
Procurement of goods and services within the MCG is under the Procurement/Tendering coordinator. He is in charge of organizing the allocation of tenders and contracts, and management of facilities.
The MCC has an E-tendering website that provides an easier way of carrying out the tendering processes. This makes the process very efficient and transparent.
The MCC acknowledges the importance of media in the dissemination of information to the stakeholders. When no event is going on in the stadium, the media has to seek the approval of club’s personnel in charge of communication to gain entry into the grounds or to carry out an interview.
On event days, media accesses the venue using approved media pass obtained from the promoters of the event. Requests for filming are acted upon by the communications department. The MCG has well established media services for hosting quite a range of media workforce.
The central point for media activities is found on level 3 at the Ron Casey Media Centre. The grounds have provisions for written press, a state of the art press conference room, eight radio commentary booths, photographers work room and a TV studio.
This greatly enhances the advertisement and marketing of the activities that go on at the stadium and its environs.
The MCG has a perfect queue and human flow traffic control system. There are spacious entry points into the stadium ensuring there is no jam at all. The seats are fixed on wide plats and are well spaced so as to reduce jam within the stadium.
Queue management systems are used at the catering and bar services. There are specific pathways created so as to have people access the services in an orderly manner.
Serious contingency planning had to be put in place during events that attract large crowds. Events like the Commonwealth games that were held in Melbourne city in 2006 required proper planning on the usage of the resources.
The engineers used the InfoWorks CS to predict the hydraulic behaviour of the sewer system when subjected to different usage patterns due to the highly attended events. Some of the events attract as many as more than 100,000 people.
The City West Water Engineers employed InfoWorks CS for contingency planning. The planning department relayed information to the operations, requiring them to respond promptly to any case of increase in demand.
During contingency planning, the MCC sought extension services of the City West Water planning group. The group used InfoWorks in developing the contingency plan.
Since Melbourne’s main sewer had capacity to take flows from more than 100,000 people, the focus was on developing the contingency plan rather than improving the system.
The team had to do tests to get a range of information concerning the behavior of the sewer hydraulic system; the peak conditions involving how and when the pumps fail.
This would assist the team in coming up with a model that would be used to come up with a contingency plan in case of sewer system failure. The model had to be prepared early in advance so as to be able to implement it immediately .
Pipes were calibrated and configured so as to record the peak flows and the critical stages in the pump functioning; especially during outages. The engineers had to know specifically the flow characteristics from the MCG.
It is definitely dynamic and there are no clear statistics recorded anywhere; not even in the design manual of the sewer. The data had to be gotten from flow monitoring during major events like the 2005 Australian Football league finals.
The three main concerns of collecting the information were; to get estimates of peak flows, time for pump station to overflow, and positioning of manholes for waste disposal from make-shift toilets. By-passes were also created and as well standby pumps.
By-passes would come in handy in case of blockage along the main sewer line. Standby pumps were meant to be used in case of a pump failure due to the overloading during peak times.
The MCG has got an elaborate security detail. The security officers are well equipped to manage security issues in the stadium. There are surveillance cameras to monitor any suspicious occurrences in the stadium.
MCC collaborates with St. John Ambulance to provide First Aid services in the stadium. First Aid can be located anywhere in the stadium by consulting with the event staff or security guards.
The first aid team makes all required records to all the people it attends to and can always make an arrangement when further medication is needed.
The audit of the great facilities of the Melbourne Cricket Ground has been done to a great detail. The paper has also highlighted some of the ongoing improvements on the facility as well as the future plans concerning the various aspects of the management of the stadium.
The details of the various activities that go on in the MCG have been looked at. It has been established that the stadium does not only host sport events.
In conclusion, the MCG is a well managed sports facility, with customer requirements well taken care of. The management of the MCG has, however, to keep strategizing on how to improve the systems given the ever increasing number of customers.
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