With the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2015 finals being held at the renowned Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on March 24, 2015, the qualified teams are all gearing up to showcase their prowess in the city which is known as the sporting capital of Australia. ICC cherry-picked this cricket ground, which has been described as “the spiritual home of Australian sport” and “possibly one of the most versatile venues in the world.”
In a country that is often labelled ‘sports mad’, Melbourne has a reputation among Australians for being the national sporting capital. The city was named “World’s Ultimate Sports City” for the second time in a row, at the SportsBusiness Ultimate Sports City Awards.
As the capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne is a vibrant hub of style, sport, culture and dining. All of which come together for the city’s world famous events including the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Open Tennis and the Melbourne Cup. Intrinsic to the culture and vibe of the city, some of the most popular sports here include cricket, soccer, motorsports, tennis, basketball, soccer, Australians football and netball.
The home ground for several firsts, Melbourne continues its long time legacy of sporting traditions and recreation. The first Australian Grand Prix took place in 1928 at Phillip Island, Victoria. Melbourne is also home to the first Australian Open which took place in 1905. Victoria boasts of several world-class sports facilities such as MCG (cricket), Etihad Stadium (football), Flemington Racecourse (Horse racing), Albert Park (F1) and many more.
Sports and recreation play an important role for individual Victorians and helps shape community identities. The opportunities provide settings for social interaction, sharing common interests and enhancing a sense of community. Access to sport and recreation facilities at a community level as well as a professional level is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for all Victorians, both in urban and rural communities.
Victoria’s sports industries and institutes attract world’s leading researchers, producing ground-breaking research in the area of sports and physical activities. Boasting of a strong sporting culture, the State ensures that the value of sports is instilled right from the beginning by making it an integral part of the school curriculum. At a higher-education level, Victoria’s universities are paving the way for innovation in sports training and research. Sports centres further their expertise for a multi-disciplinary approach that can fulfil diverse research needs in clinical and sport practise.
Sports education at graduate and postgraduate levels is a relatively new concept but is gaining popularity among both local and international students. There are various collaborations taking place in the sports vertical between India and Victoria. Recently, Victoria University’s Institute of Sports Education worked with the Kerala government where they conducted sports workshops, equipping sports administrators ahead of the 35th National Games of India, held in Kerala
Popular Victorian universities like Deakin University partnered with Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rajasthan Royals in 2014 for a progarmme in sports research and mentoring. Similarly, Latrobe University also collaborated with IPL team Kings XI Punjab, working on mutually agreed topics like fan engagement, marketing and promotional practice.
Major events are important to Melbourne and the Victorian Government continues to secure new sporting events and invest in world class sporting venues and facilities, ensuring they remain the sports capital of Australia, and an important world leader.