History of the venue
Since the opening of Etihad Stadium on March 9, 2000 more than 32 million patrons have witnessed an arena event.
At our very first arena event, the AFL took centre stage and Essendon led by Kevin Sheedy and James Hird defeated Port Adelaide 24.12.156 to 8.14.62.
Etihad Stadium now hosts in the vicinity of 50 AFL and NAB Cup Challenge matches a season. In summer, A-League club Melbourne Victory and T20 Big Bash League team the Melbourne Renegades become regular participants. Etihad Stadium also regularly stages international sporting events such as Rugby Union Tests, Asian Champions League games, soccer friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers.
The venue has also hosted many concert spectaculars featuring international acts such as Bon Jovi, Eminem, U2, Andre Rieu, Robbie Williams, Taylor Swift, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and many others.
Etihad Stadium has five AFL tenant clubs (Essendon, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, North Melbourne and Carlton), one Big Bash League club (Melbourne Renegades) and one A-League club (Melbourne Victory).
On March 1, 2009 the venue officially became known as Etihad Stadium.
Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. It commenced daily non-stop flights from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi and beyond from March 30, 2009.
From the Middle East, Etihad Airways now flies to 103 passenger and cargo destinations in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Americas as well as the Middle East. In 2013 the airline carried 11.5 million passengers.
Largest attendance at Etihad Stadium
Catholic Jubilee Mass: 70,000 (November 15, 2000)
Largest entertainment event attendance at Etihad Stadium
Robbie Williams: 64,619 (December 18, 2006)
Series of Concerts
AC/DC: 181,495 (February 11, 13 & 15 2010)
Largest sporting event attendance at Etihad Stadium
Wallabies v British & Irish Lions: 56,771 (June 29, 2013)
Largest AFL attendance at Etihad Stadium
St Kilda v Geelong, Round 14: 54,444 (July 5, 2009)
Largest soccer attendance at Etihad Stadium
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United Grand Final: 55,436 (February 18, 2007)
Largest cricket attendance at Etihad Stadium
BBL Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars: 42,837 (January 4, 2014)
History of Development
Construction began in October 1997 after the AFL agreed to enter into a ‘Build, Own, Operate and Transfer’ (Boot) agreement. Under this arrangement, the ownership of Etihad Stadium eventually passes to the AFL. This means the construction and operational risks are borne by private investors rather than the AFL, although the AFL will reap the benefits when it assumes full ownership and becomes responsible for the operation of the facility.
Previously a dormant wasteland of Melbourne, the Docklands was seen as the perfect location for Etihad Stadium, as the area presented ready-made access to existing public transport and roads, as well as significant space for car parking.
Etihad Stadium has the flexibility to cater for many sporting codes plus other entertainment events ranging from concerts to dining events and even religious services. Etihad Stadium generates a colosseum like effect for patrons and participants; when officially opened the state-of-the-art stadium also introduced a new level of comfort and facilities for Melbourne sports fans.
The venue is proud that it has become the flagship project for the vibrant Docklands development. The Victorian Government initially conveyed its support to the development of the new stadium by building bridges to the city and committing to the redevelopment of Spencer Street train station, now known as Southern Cross station. The Docklands continues to expand with the continued development of apartments, shopping centres, restaurants and bars, as well as tram and train access.
For more information about the history of Etihad Stadium, you can download the document here: Etihad Stadium Detailed History