The Western Bulldogs will remain a strong presence in the Ballarat region for at least the next three years, after agreeing to extend its partnership with the Victorian Government and the City of Ballarat.
The Bulldogs have been committed to Ballarat at many levels for the last six years, with five of those seasons bringing a total of seven AFL games to Mars Stadium so far.
The Club’s partnership extension with the government and City of Ballarat will bring a further two home games per season to the region, until the end of the 2024 season.
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And for the first time, the Club will host an AFLW home-and-away game at Mars Stadium in 2022 as part of a separate arrangement with the City of Ballarat.
Details of that game will be revealed when the League unveils its fixture for the upcoming season.
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The Bulldogs’ presence in Ballarat has been as much about bringing elite sport to the region, as it has been about ensuring the Club makes a tangible impact in the community.
Since the beginning of the partnership the Bulldogs have been embedded in Ballarat schools with the Bulldogs Read program proving to be a resounding success, and it has extended its renowned Sons of the West and Daughters of the West programs, and the Youth Leadership Project, into the region.
“We’ve enjoyed an incredibly strong partnership with the Victorian Government and the City of Ballarat over the last six years,” said Bulldogs’ CEO Ameet Bains.
“Ballarat (and the broader region) is our second home, and we are both proud and excited to extend our formal partnership for at least a further three years and honour our long-term commitment to the region.
“Not only has the partnership successfully brought official AFL games to Ballarat’s Mars Stadium, but it has also actively supported visitation to the region and assisted in the facilitation of the Bulldogs’ extensive range of community, school and junior football programs.
“We look forward to now hosting both AFL and AFLW home and away games at Mars Stadium in 2022 and beyond, which will reinforce our year-round presence in Ballarat.
“We would like to thank the State Government and the City of Ballarat for their continued support, and their investment in the sustainability of this long-term partnership.”
State Government Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison, said: "We’re really excited about this new partnership with the Western Bulldogs – it’s a fantastic result for the Ballarat community and a big win for regional Victoria.
“These games are set to attract thousands of Doggie fans to Mars Stadium and will help to support local jobs and the economy.”
City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said: “It’s because of this significant partnership with the Western Bulldogs that we can continue to deliver the excitement of AFL and AFLW matches in Ballarat, as well as the range of terrific programs like Sons and Daughters of the West and Bulldogs Read, which make a genuine positive impact on the people of Ballarat.
“We're proud that Mars Stadium’s playing surface has been rated one of the best in the country – a fact that's to the enormous credit of the City of Ballarat staff who carefully maintain this facility throughout the year and the ongoing support of the State Government.”