The famous Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) Ground is to be reshaped as a 10,000-seat “boutique venue” as part of a development project that confirms Perth’s Optus Stadium as the state’s premier international cricket venue.
The state government has committed A$30m (£16.3m/€18.1m/$21.3m) in funding towards the transformation of the WACA Ground, which currently has a capacity of 20,000 and has long been referred to Western Australia’s “home of cricket”.
The federal government has also committed A$30m towards the project, while Cricket Australia will provide A$4m and the WACA will raise a further A$10m through the WA Cricket Foundation.
The project is designed to “revitalise” the iconic stadium, honour its history and ensure it can continue to provide cricket services and support other sports such as Aussie rules football.
High-performance, training and administration facilities will form part of the project, along with a 10-lane indoor cricket facility, reinvigorated museum and year-round access for locals. The WACA said it is also exploring an opportunity to partner with the City of Perth to incorporate an aquatic facility into the project, including a 50-metre pool, a learn-to-swim pool and a leisure slide.
The reimagined WACA Ground would complement the much larger Optus Stadium, which is located across the Swan River and opened in January 2018. Optus Stadium can seat over 60,000 fans and has hosted high-profile Test matches and Big Bash League fixtures since opening.
The WACA Ground would serve as a training base for the state’s BBL and Women’s BBL teams and would also host state league Aussie rules football matches. Work on the development is set to begin by the end of the year.
Mick Murray, Western Australia’s Minister for Sport and Recreation, said: “With an historic, reimagined WACA Ground sitting just across the river from the ultra-modern Optus Stadium, there will be no better setup in the world for cricket. The Ground is a famous sporting icon that needs to be preserved and this commitment will help ensure its future and make it accessible for everyone in the community.”
WACA chair Tuck Waldron added: “It’s a great day for cricket in WA, and this funding will go a long way in helping us bring our vision for the iconic venue to life through the WACA Ground Improvement Project.
“We are now one step closer to transforming the much-loved WACA Ground into a high-quality venue not only for cricket and other sports, but entertainment and community events too, which will help energise the East Perth area. We are committed to raising the remaining A$10m through the WA Cricket Foundation to ensure this development offers incredible experiences and creates long-lasting memories for the WA community into the future.”
The WACA Ground opened in the early 1890s and has undergone a number of redevelopment projects over the years.