The AFL is set to fork out thousands to bring in temporary lighting for next month’s twilight fixture between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide.
Unlike the previous two premiership matches which have been played at 1.45pm on a Saturday, Ballarat’s third fixture will kick off at 3.20pm on Sunday, July 29.
The Courier understands that while the ground’s lighting is considered adequate for play, additional lights are needed to assist the Channel Seven television broadcast.
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The broadcast is due to finish just before the 6pm news bulletin, however sunset is expected at 5.35pm.
In a statement, AFL media relations manager Patrick Keane confirmed additional lights would be needed, but did not specify the amount or the cost. He stressed “it will be the AFL meeting this cost, not the venue”.
The AFL was aware of the lighting capacity and this match is scheduled as a Seven game for national broadcast on free to air.Patrick Keane - AFL media relations manager
“The AFL was aware of the lighting capacity and this match is scheduled as a Seven game for national broadcast on free to air, to provide the widest possible coverage on our network partner for the venue and the game,” the statement read.
Representatives from Channel Seven and the AFL toured the facility earlier this month to inspect the lighting capability.
New lights capable of brightening the oval to 300-lux were installed at Mars Stadium in 2016 as part of the $30 million transformation of the facility. The oval’s former lights were transferred to North Ballarat’s number two oval.
City of Ballarat councillor Jim Rinaldi said “the intention was never to have televised night games here, and we knew the lights weren't strong enough”, but added the free-to-air broadcast was a huge win for the city.
The match will be the first fixture from Mars Stadium to be broadcast onto free-to-air television, after Fox Footy televised the first two games.
The AFL will be hoping for a boosted crowd at the next match after just 6833 spectators turned out for the Bulldogs Gold Coast game.