Wednesday 22 April 2015

What QVM Can Learn From A Sporting Icon

The QVM and MCG are two of Melbourne's icons.  The MCG has undergone substantial renewal in recent years, and while quite different in its purpose and relevance to its customers, the process that was undertaken could provide a very useful template for QVM's renewal.

The MCG is steeped in tradition much like our market with the world's first cricket test taking place in 1877, just a year before the QVM was officially opened. When the MCC proposed the dismantlement of the members stand as part of a major renewal in the early 2000's there was an outcry. How could they contemplate dismantling this iconic structure and all the tradition that went with it? A short time later, we marvel at the facilities on offer and the retention of many original features. It could be said that tradition simply has a new look.

Fans who visited the ground during those renewal years were greeted with large areas
under construction but that didn't stop the main game from continuing. Construction and normal stadium operation were carefully scheduled to ensure that both continued, a bit like the assurances we have been given for the QVM renewal. It is true that QVM probably has to function more often through the week than a sports stadium but presumably the same methods could be used to minimise disruption.

The MCG has continued to thrive and prosper as a sports stadium despite a radical transformation. It has retained its core focus of providing entertainment for fans and in the eyes of many it is doing a better job than ever. It has upgraded, introduced new technology, and changed the face of sport. The efficiency of its operation, the staggering way that it converts from one sporting code to another and its ability to remain at the forefront of sporting entertainment is a tribute to meticulous planning, and a well held vision for constant improvement and assessment.

We have written on many occasions about the neglect of QVM over the last 20 years or so. If the rigorous standards adopted at the MCG had been applied to our own market, we probably wouldn't be in quite the same predicament we are now. Fortunately, QVM renewal now has the intent and the financing to correct the situation. Can we learn from our iconic city neighbour?

It is time for another Melbourne icon to get the transformation treatment. Studying the MCG experience may make it a little easier for traders to overcome the fear and uncertainty of transforming our market into a truly relevant shopping experience going forward. It is probably no coincidence that the immediate past president of the MCC is also on the Board of QVM.

The MCG is not a shopping destination but the relevance of its successful transformation should not be lost on all those who love QVM and particularly those who earn a living from it. The MCG renewal shows us that transforming our market in a significant way, and meeting the modern needs of our customers, whilst enhancing traditional relevance, is achievable.