The Central Coast Stadium could be the first stadium owned by an A-League Club after the Central Coast Mariners approached Central Coast Council about purchasing the site or entering into a long term management agreement.
Mariners’ representatives met with Council about buying the stadium, the Mariners home ground, on October 4, and pledged to rebrand and revitalise the stadium, including a new roof, new paint and a retail precinct, if management changed hands. According to club owner, Mr Charlesworth, the Mariners pay a fee to Council to be the stadium’s sole tenant on match days, but do not have access to match day revenues from food and beverage outlets, and that he felt it was a given that the Mariners would be interested in the stadium’s management.
“We’re the only tenant at Central Coast Stadium, and they put on about 10 to 12 events a year there. “It’s nowhere near enough to justify its existence apart from for us. “So we just made the natural move, and said either give us the management rights, so we can drive new content and make the stadium our own, paint it yellow for example, or let us acquire the whole stadium,” Mr Charlesworth said. Mr Charlesworth also questioned Council’s ability to manage the stadium and revitalise the space while also attempting to revitalise the CBD. “One of the biggest problems in Australian sport is that clubs don’t typically own stadiums, the councils do. “That means you can’t invest in what is someone else’s product, and you can’t drive the revenues that such investment would subsequently reap,” Mr Charlesworth said.
“The council don’t have the resources to do much with the stadium. “We want to truly call it our home instead of lobbing in and out every couple of weeks,” he added. Council’s Chief Executive Offi cer, Mr Rob Noble, said there were a number of possible options for the use of the stadium should it remain in Council’s ownership. “We need to think about what maximum value we can deliver for the community and compare and contrast that with whatever offer might be received. “Legally we could make such a decision, but I have indicated to them that we do need to do some analysis to consider their proposal and we’re more than happy to discuss these options with the Mariners,” he said. “Whatever we do must be in the best interests of the community,” Mr Noble concluded.
Interview, Oct 4, 2016 Mike Charlesworth, Central Coast Mariners FC Media statement, Oct 5, 2016 Central Coast Council Media Dilon Luke, Journalist