Etihad Stadium is managed by Melbourne Stadiums Ltd (MSL), and is owned by a number of investors, mainly comprising Australian superannuation funds, representing more than two million members. This means that many Australian superannuants own a stake in Etihad Stadium through their fund investments.
Under the terms of an initial agreement with the AFL, ownership of Etihad Stadium will transfer to the AFL in 2025, but until then MSL is required to meet loan repayments, interest costs and provide a return to investors. Stadium revenues are underpinned by contracts with the AFL and other major stadium hirers. The stadium must operate commercially in order to ensure the facility remains well maintained and that its facilities keep up with the demands and expectations of patrons.
Current investors in the stadium are:
- Retail Employees Superannuation Trust
- JF Infrastructure Yield Fund
- National Australia Bank Group Superannuation Fund
- Statewide Superannuation Trust
The proportionate ownership of each investor can be seen below in the Etihad Stadium ownership chart.
Etihad Stadium Ownership Chart
The stadium’s management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Paul Sergeant OBE, reports to a Board of Directors that represents the stadium investors.
The Board of Directors comprise:
- Alan Freer, Chairman
- Dennis Phillips
- Anthony Hallam
- Jonathan Hannam
- Greg Boulton AM
- Warran Brown
MSL currently employs 80 full-time staff and Etihad Stadium’s catering partner Delaware North Group of Companies also employs 38 full-time staff at the venue. In addition, the following companies have tenancy arrangements at Etihad Stadium:
Benefits of the Ground
- Sports Chaplaincy Australia
- AFL Shared Services
- Audio Visual Dynamics
- The Shane Warne Foundation
- Brisbane Lions (Melbourne Office)
Etihad Stadium is ideally located on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD, and is surrounded by entertainment facilities such as restaurants, cafes and bars for use by patrons before and after events. Apart from providing excellent seating, amenities and retail food outlets for more than 52,000 fans, the stadium also comprises its own restaurants, function rooms and bars for patrons to enjoy on both event and non event days. The venue hosts as many as 600 functions annually in its 15 different function spaces.
Etihad Stadium is serviced by an excellent transport network and a unique underground carpark, which provides up to 2,500 parking positions in a secured, undercover facility.
For patrons, after an event, the city or Docklands beckons!
Etihad Stadium’s famous retractable roof ensures that events proceed in perfect conditions, no matter what the weather conditions outside. The underground car park enables a patron to drive inside the venue, take a lift to their seat unhindered by the weather.
The roof, the largest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere, can open or close in eight minutes.
Etihad Stadium was designed to bring sports fans as close as possible to the action. When its retractable roof is closed, the roar of the crowd can be deafening.
At a corporate level, the stadium offers many superb facilities, including tastefully outfitted corporate suites, restaurants ranging from fine dining to a more informal atmosphere. In recent years, the venue has become the first sports stadium in Australia to introduce Healthier Foods outlets, offering food choices accompanied by the Heart Foundation’s Heart Tick.
The venue also has retractable seating, enabling a modification of the stadium’s seating configuration for certain events, to bring the fans even closer to the action.
The management team at Etihad Stadium also understands its social responsibilities providing what it believes to be some of Australia’s best stadium facilities in terms of access and viewing facilities for the disabled.
The stadium has been a catalyst for the development of the Docklands precinct and remains a major contributor to the viability of many small businesses because of the customer traffic it brings to the area.
Home of Football
The AFL has its headquarters at the stadium and uses facilities such as the sophisticated video interactive Media Centre to hold its Tribunal hearings during the season.
Each year Etihad Stadium hosts on average 50-55 games of AFL, including NAB pre-season matches and the occasional final. On average, annually around 1.8 million patrons attend games played at the stadium.
The venue believes it complements rather than competes with Melbourne’s other great sports stadium, the MCG, which has hosted major Australian sporting events for well over a century.
The AFL derives significant revenue from the Etihad Stadium through sharing in match returns, equalisation and all arena advertising, in addition to access to a number of corporate boxes.
Etihad Stadium is currently home ground for the following AFL clubs:
- St Kilda
- North Melbourne
- Western Bulldogs
In 2010 Etihad Stadium celebrated its first 10 years of operation.
The team that runs the stadium is confident it will continue to reach new heights in terms of its capacity to deliver great events, further ensuring the venue rightfully earns its position as a truly iconic Australian landmark.
Designed as a multipurpose stadium and always destined to be Australia’s most unique ‘home of football’, Etihad Stadium has now hosted more than 500 AFL games since the venue officially opened in March 2000.
Etihad Stadium officially recognized its 25 millionth patron during the 2011 AFL season.
The 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.
Construction began in October 1997 after the AFL, entered into a ‘Build, Own, Operate and Transfer’ (Boot) agreement. Under this arrangement, the ownership of the 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 operating 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.
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.
In March 2009, the venue was officially renamed Etihad Stadium as part of a five year agreement between the international airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways and the stadium operator.