Australian Open targets A$500m windfall for Victoria with ambitious renovations
Renovations to the Australian Open’s home in Melbourne could bring in a A$500-million ($389 million) economic benefit to the state of Victoria, according to the chief executive of the ‘grand slam’ tennis competition Craig Tiley.
The Australian Open unveiled plans to renovate and expand the tournament’s showpiece venue, the Rod Laver Arena, as part of a A$975 million development project at Melbourne Park, home to the Australian Open and the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The plans include three new dining outlets, upgraded bathroom facilities and improved disability access, which are all scheduled to be ready for next year’s tournament. The exterior of the arena will also be updated.
Tiley said: “This is just the beginning of a major refurbishment of Rod Laver Arena, which is already one of the premier sports and entertainment stadiums in the world. We look forward to its completion in 2019, when there will be brand new seating and a stunning new eastern entry.
“Creating a five-star service for our players is a priority for the Australian Open, and is a point of difference that makes us the favourite event for so many. New player services for 2018 include a fully underground drop-off area with two new entry points as well as all services centralised to make it even easier to cater for players’ needs.”
The latest stadium upgrades will be followed by stage three of the Melbourne Park Redevelopment project, which includes a new multi-purpose 5,000-seat show court, a new function centre and a media and broadcast centre.
Speaking to Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper, Tiley said he expects the upgrades to bring in a substantial economic windfall for Victoria over the next five years.
He explained: “We have an objective of delivering half a billion dollars of economic impact to the state and to the city. We’ve in essence become a music festival at the same time, and then of course there is food.”
It is estimated that last year’s Australian Open brought in A$287.1 million into the local economy, a significant increase on the A$245.5 million that was netted in 2014.
Meanwhile, Tennis Australia has announced that total prize money for the Australian Open is increasing 10 per cent to A$55 million in 2018.
The men’s and women’s singles champions will earn A$4 million each, up from A$3.7 million this year.