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.
Construction on the venue 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.
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.
Largest attendance at Etihad Stadium
Single event – Jehovah’s Witness Convention (Day 3): 70,059 (October 19, 2014)
Biggest aggregate for one event at Etihad Stadium
Jehovah’s Witness Convention: 201,039 (October 17, 18 & 19, 2014).
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)