Etihad Stadium (Docklands Stadium)

Capacity56 347
1,649 (VIP seats)
Country Australia
CityMelbourne
ClubsMelbourne Victory
Other names Colonial Stadium (2000-2002), Telstra Dome (2002-2009)
Inauguration 09/03/2000
Construction 10/1997 - 03/2000
Cost A$ 460 million
Design Daryl Jackson, Bligh Lobb, Populous
WContractor Lend Lease Infrastructure
Address 740 Bourke St, Docklands, Melbourne, VIC 3008, Australia

Description: Etihad Stadium

Decision to build a new stadium in downtown docks of Melbourne was officially made in 1996. Contrary to most sports venues across Australia, this one was planned from the start with Australian rules football at its heart. This resulted in the field being as long as 160 meters.

Around the oval field three tiers of seating were built (over 50,000 capacity) with the lowest one being Australia’s first fully retractable system. This means the front rows can be moved towards the centre of the stadium by 18 meters on each side. However this solution is rarely used due to high cost and its influence on turf condition.

Even without the retractable seating grass quality was questioned on numerous occasions, owing in part to the stadium being Australia’s first one with opening roof limiting ventilation and sunlight access. On the other hand, the sliding roof (first across the southern hemisphere) made the stadium weather-proof, allowing it hold a wide variety of events without worrying about rainfall. Hovering 38m above the field, the roof takes only 8 minutes to open/close.

Construction of the arena took A$460 million ($270m) and 2.5 years to complete. Starting in 2000, the ground has been used by no less than 4 (!) AFL clubs every season, peaking at 6. Rugby and soccer also have their regular spot with Melbourne Victory playing no less than 5 games per season here. Since 2015 the stadium has also joined the Speedway Grand Prix series.

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