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Eureka Stadium upgrades only the beginning for regional fans

with Matt Thompson (AFL Media)  December 6, 2016 6:00 AM

AFL 2015 NAB Challenge - Western Bulldogs v Melbourne

Caleb Daniel of the Bulldogs is tackled by Jordie McKenzie of the Demons during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 3 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons at Eureka Stadium, Ballarat on March 14, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

BALLARAT will double its number of AFL games in 2018 as the city works to create an elite sporting experience for fans and players alike.

A 50sqm video scoreboard will be the highlight of the fan experience when a freshly redeveloped Eureka Stadium hosts its first game for premiership points in round 22 next year.

The match between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide will only be the beginning for regional fans, with the Ballarat City Council confirming it will host two matches in 2018.

"The stadium will host two premiership games in 2018, we are all so looking at hosting pre-season games as well as the potential for AFLW games in the 2018 season," mayor Samantha McIntosh told AFL.com.au

Construction of a 5,000-seat undercover grandstand is due to be completed before the venue's AFL debut. 

The oval itself is ready to go, after a complete reconstruction and replacement of the turf, it has the same dimensions of the Bulldogs' regular home ground at Etihad Stadium.

"The Santa Ana couch is oversewn with winter ryegrass to allow for aesthetic appeal for presentation and deliver a playing surface that would rival any in Australia," mayor McIntosh said.  

"The cost of the video scoreboard has been met by the state government as part of its funding commitment to upgrade the ground to AFL standard, and the video scoreboard will be installed early next year," she added.

The mayor estimates bringing AFL games to her city will increase annual tourism spending by up to $3.6 million and lure 21,000 visitors a year.