Located in the heart of Melbourne, Marvel Stadium has welcomed more than 35 million fans since opening in 2000. Now, it reveals the plans for the redevelopment and aims to be more fan-friendly. Pending approvals, construction could start in the middle of 2021.
Based on government support
In April 2018, the Victorian Government (the executive administrative authority of the Australian state of Victoria) announced its state-wide sports infrastructure fund. The $225 million (US$164.1m) investment is part of a landmark agreement with the Australian Football League (AFL) and the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC).
Such cooperation guarantees the AFL Grand Final will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) until at least 2058. It is also about significant investments at the Marvel Stadium. The venue at Melbourne's Docklands will also act as the headquarters of the AFL and the home of Essendon, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne and Carlton games. As of August 2020 the AFL was still consulting on the scope of the project, though had confirmed it will proceed irrespective of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the plans, the stadium will undergo serious works, starting possibly in the middle of 2021. The schedule doesn't contain any changes in the stadium’s seating bowl. They mostly refer to the internal spaces, including new and upgraded bars and restaurants. Some internal walls will be removed to ensure better visibility up to the field of play.
Much of the works focus on the eastern and southern sides of the stadium’s exterior. Home clubs will be able to fully integrate their branding during events at Marvel Stadium. New video display boards, including LED lighting and screens and other technology upgrades will further enhance the stadium experience.
A new Town Square will be developed as an extension to the stadium, combining indoor and outdoor areas. Such spaces will be capable of hosting community markets and public events. Stadium sensory room, sport facilities (including both male and female changing rooms) and improved lighting all feature in the vision of the stadium architects. The redevelopment is aimed to breathe new life into the Docklands area, with first plans including a running track, ballroom and new waterside precinct. Bike parking will be created aiming at the promotion of sustainable transport.
“The Marvel Stadium precinct will be one of the best sports and entertainment destinations in the world, with its proximity to the city and a world class entertainment and food offering pre-and post-event.” explained the AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
The stadium in Melbourne was renamed Marvel Stadium, after the stadium operators negotiated a new sponsorship deal with the Walt Disney Company. The eight-year agreement, which took effect from 1 September 2018, included complete rebranding and launching premium Marvel retail stores.
The venue regularly stages AFL, A-League and Big Bash League (BBL) action under the famous retractable roof. It has also hosted some of the biggest international sport and entertainment events such as UFC193, Soccer World Cup Qualifiers and Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Andre Rieu and Eminem concerts.
Author: Karol Tatar