BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 25: Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs high fives fans after winning the round 23 AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Adelaide Crows at Mars Stadium on August 25, 2019 in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The Western Bulldogs have announced the continuation of their partnership with the City of Ballarat and the Victorian Government, with the club set to play selected games at Mars Stadium until at least 2024.

The Bulldogs have partnered with the city for the past six years, playing seven games at Mars Stadium over five seasons. The newest commitment will bring two home games a year to the region, while an AFLW home-and-away game will also be played in 2022.

While growing a loyal fanbase in the West, the Bulldogs have also committed to extending their off-field partnerships, such as the Bulldogs Read initiative, a literacy program in Ballarat schools encouraging students to get engaged with reading and writing workshops.

In a statement released by the Bulldogs following the announcement, CEO Ameet Bains reaffirmed the club's commitment to playing in Ballarat and developing their presence in the area.

“We’ve enjoyed an incredibly strong partnership with the Victorian Government and the City of Ballarat over the last six years,” Bains said.

“Ballarat (and the broader region) is our second home, and we are both proud and excited to extend our formal partnership for at least a further three years and honour our long-term commitment to the region.

“Not only has the partnership successfully brought official AFL games to Ballarat’s Mars Stadium, but it has also actively supported visitation to the region and assisted in the facilitation of the Bulldogs’ extensive range of community, school and junior football programs.

“We look forward to now hosting both AFL and AFLW home and away games at Mars Stadium in 2022 and beyond, which will reinforce our year-round presence in Ballarat.

“We would like to thank the State Government and the City of Ballarat for their continued support, and their investment in the sustainability of this long-term partnership.”

While the club plays most home games at Marvel Stadium, the Bulldogs have developed an impressive record at Mars Stadium so far. Of their seven games played at the stadium, the Bulldogs have won five, including a strong 49-point win over Adelaide in 2021.

The Mayor of Ballarat, Councilor Daniel Moloney, expressed his excitement at the club extending their commitment to the city, while also lauding the quality of the Mars Stadium surface.

“It’s because of this significant partnership with the Western Bulldogs that we can continue to deliver the excitement of AFL and AFLW matches in Ballarat, as well as the range of terrific programs like Sons and Daughters of the West and Bulldogs Read, which make a genuine positive impact on the people of Ballarat." Moloney said.

“We're proud that Mars Stadium’s playing surface has been rated one of the best in the country – a fact that's to the enormous credit of the City of Ballarat staff who carefully maintain this facility throughout the year and the ongoing support of the State Government.”

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