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The Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the most important venues in the sport. The MCG had the honour of hosting the very first game of test cricket when Australia took on England back in 1877.
In the present day, it remains one of Australia’s primary grounds, and the majority of international touring sides will play here.
History of the Melbourne Cricket Ground
After playing at a number of venues around the city, the Melbourne Cricket Club identified the site for their current ground in 1853. The MCG as we know it today was opened in the same year, and Melbourne Cricket Club continued to play here.
When State cricket took over domestically, Melbourne Cricket Ground became home to Victoria, but the stadium’s biggest impact came at international level.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground made its indelible mark on the game’s history when it hosted the first ever official test match. In 1877, Australia took on England at the MCG with the home side winning by 45 runs.
To celebrate this landmark, Australia played England in a one-off, centenary test at the MCG in 1977. Remarkably, Australia won by that same margin of 45 runs.
These days, the Melbourne Cricket Ground regularly hosts international matches in all formats of the game.
Capacity and Dimensions
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the largest cricket stadium in the southern hemisphere, and the second largest in the world. Its current capacity is officially listed at 100,024.
There have been higher attendances at the ground from times when restrictions were not in place. Specifically, events such as concerts have attracted bigger crowds as the playing area can accommodate them. In fact, the biggest crowd ever seen at the MCG was in 1959, when 143,000 attended an event hosted by the preacher Billy Graham.
The MCG is also known for its long boundaries and wide playing areas. The current dimensions of the ground are 171 metres by 146 metres. The boundaries may be brought in for T20 and other limited overs games, but the MCG is still regarded as a huge playing surface.
How to find the MCG
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is located in Yarra Park, which is the sporting centre of the city. The overall complex features Melbourne’s main sporting locations which include the MCG and the Olympic Park.
Yarra Park itself is located in the suburb of East Melbourne and is close to the main city. There are excellent public transport links and it’s easy to commute to and from the MCG.
Tickets and Seating Plan
Because of the sheer size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, there are many seating areas to choose from. Some stands have three tiers in order to accommodate so many spectators.
While visitors will have their own preferences, many who visit here recommend to sit in the second tier. There is a feeling that the third tier is too far away from the action, while ground level seating doesn’t offer an overall view of the playing area.
There are four sides to the ground and the most popular areas are the Ponsford Stand, the Olympic Stand and the Great Southern Stand.
For ticketing, it’s recommended to buy in advance. Tickets can be purchased from certain online retailers, but the best option is to head straight for the MCG’s official website at https://www.mcg.org.au/the-stadium/visitor-information.
Owners, Operators, and Tenants
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is officially owned and operated by the Victorian Government on an arrangement with a company known as the MCG Trust. This helps to ensure that the stadium and its facilities will continue to be used for cricket and other sports for generations to come.
Australia’s national team will play a test match here every year. Traditionally, the Boxing Day test takes place at the MCG from December 26th as the hosts take on the current touring side.
At state level, Victoria play first class and List A matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. When the Big Bash T20 tournament is played in Australia from December onwards, the Melbourne Stars have the honour of playing at the MCG.
Other Sports Played at The Melbourne Cricket Ground
Like a lot of cricket grounds in Australia, the MCG is a multi-purpose facility, and other sports are played here. During the winter months, rugby league, Australian rules football and soccer take place on the turf.
Since 2000, the ground has been home to the Melbourne Storm who play in Australia’s National Rugby League competition. Several teams have played Aussie rules here, including Melbourne Football Club, Richmond Football Club and Essendon Football Club.
In soccer, no domestic teams currently play at the stadium, but the MCG has hosted international matches for both Australia’s men’s and women’s sides.
As we know, the first ever test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground took place in 1877 as Australia hosted England.
The MCG also holds a number of other all-time firsts and records in the cricket world. In 1971, the stadium had the honour of hosting the first ever official One Day International. Once again, Australia and England were the opponents in a One Day game, that was hastily arranged after a test match was badly affected by the weather.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground also saw the highest ever team score in a first class match. Victoria played New South Wales in a state game in 1926 and compiled a colossal total of 1107. Nearly 100 years later, that total has yet to be matched.