Whilst many cricket lovers are looking forward to the opening of the 2015 World Cup the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), who will host the World Cup Final on the 29th March, is keen to show the World why it Is regarded as one of the best sporting venues around by further developing their wonderful, iconic stadium.
The MCG has already undergone numerous changes over the past few years, with new stands towering high above the ground and a recently newly laid playing surface in readiness for the World Cup tournament, to name just two.
However, it is in the technology field that the MCG is also looking to take the lead in the World of Sport.
The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) who own the MCG are teaming up with their sponsors and partners – IBM, Cisco and Cockram – to introduce a series of improvements that will hopefully ensure that the paying supporters, members and visiting media, enjoy the best experience possible on match days..
The MCC and MCG are looking to introduce improvements during 2015 such as:
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• A super-fast, secure, high-density WiFi network in and around the stadium, allowing fans to access real-time and interactive content and to engage with other fans.
• A state-of-the-art exterior LED lighting system that will enhance the visual appearance of the MCG and allow teams/clubs to personalise and theme the stadium for their fans.
• A best-of-breed Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) system to deliver digital content to high-definition displays throughout the MCG, displaying information as it happens.
• Best-in-class facilities for media and broadcasters that will enable faster supply of event content to fans around the world.
This new phase of investment, thought to be around $45m, has already enabled the ground to install two large high-definition scoreboards that will further improve the spectators and players experience.
Whilst not all the new technological facilities will be available for the World Cup there is no doubt that, possibly with the exception of Lords, the MCG will continue to be the best venue to host a Cricket World Cup Final.
Investment to benefit the wider world of sport
However, the MCG is not used solely for Cricket purposes so these improvements will help a multitude of sports fans who attend the ground throughout the year. It is thought that during a calendar year the ground attracts approximately four million paying spectators making it one of the most popular sporting arenas in World sport and certainly makes it a worthwhile investment.
Other sports, particularly football, could learn a lesson or two from the MCC as they are clearly putting the paying public at the top of their priority list and not just assuming that these supporters will continue to attend the stadium without reward. Watching sport live is not a cheap pastime so encouraging these supporters by developing their match-day experience seems sensible to me.
The MCG’s first game in the World Cup will be a mouth-watering tie between hosts and favourites Australia and their arch rivals England, which will take place on Saturday.