Docklands Stadium: Wikis


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Docklands Stadium
Etihad Stadium
Etihad Stadium crop.jpg
Former names Victoria Stadium [1]
Colonial Stadium
Telstra Dome
Location Harbour Esplanade, Melbourne Docklands
Coordinates 37°48′59″S 144°56′51″E / 37.81639°S 144.9475°E / -37.81639; 144.9475Coordinates: 37°48′59″S 144°56′51″E / 37.81639°S 144.9475°E / -37.81639; 144.9475
Broke ground 1996
Opened 2000
Owner James Fielding Funds Management
Operator Melbourne Stadiums Limited
Access One
Surface Grass
Construction cost AUD $ 460 million
Architect Daryl Jackson Architects and Hok Sport Architecture[2]
General Contractor Baulderstone Hornibrook
Capacity 53,359 (Seating Capacity)
56,347 (Venue Capacity)
ACDC 61,000
Carlton Blues (AFL) (2005-present)
Essendon Bombers (AFL) (2000-present)
North Melbourne Kangaroos (AFL) (2002-present)
St Kilda Saints (AFL) (2000-present)
Western Bulldogs (AFL) (2000-present)
Melbourne Victory (A-League) (2006-present)
Melbourne Storm (NRL) (2001)

Docklands Stadium, currently also known by its sponsored name of Etihad Stadium, is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Construction started in October 1997 and was completed in 2000 at a cost of $460 million.

Originally built as a replacement for Waverley Park the stadium is primarily used for Australian Rules Football and is the headquarters of the Australian Football League who, as part of the construction deal, assume ownership of the ground in 2025. Also headquartered at the stadium is Seven Network's digital broadcast centre.

The stadium has been host to other sporting events, including regular football (soccer) matches (as home to the Melbourne Victory) as well as one-off matches for sports including cricket, rugby league and rugby union as well as several specialised events and concerts.

The stadium has been controversial since its first construction and there has been a significant amount of criticism directed toward the facility, particularly from its major tenant, the AFL. The AFL have increasingly regarded the stadium owner as a hostile landlord, engaging numerous litigations against the current owners[3] and threatened to build a rival stadium as close as a kilometre away in the short-term.[4]



The stadium was announced on October 31, 1996 as a replacement for the much larger Waverley Park as a headquarters for the AFL. [5] The opening match was played between Essendon and Port Adelaide before a crowd of 43,012. Essendon ended up victorious by 94 points, with full-foward Matthew Lloyd kicking seven goals.[6] Originally developed by Docklands Stadium Consortium and thereafter controlled by Seven Network the remaining leasehold interest in the stadium, on 21 June 2006, was sold to James Fielding Funds Management for AU$330 million.[7] In 2025 the AFL is expected to take over the ownership[8].

Like Waverley it was built for Australian Rules Football, unlike most grounds of a similar size in Australia which were originally designed for cricket.

In 2000, the first indoor One Day International was held when the Australian cricket team played South Africa in the "Super Challenge". It has been a venue for usually off season one day matches but it held VB Series One Day Internationals in 2006 due to the Melbourne Cricket Ground being unavalible due to preperations for it being the main stadium for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Despite the movable seating being a key feature of the stadium, it has rarely been used. The last time it was used was for an A-League game in 2008 (Melbourne Victory vs Gold Coast United) as part of a demonstration to visiting FIFA officials.

One-off events

Events that have been held at Docklands include concerts by (AC/DC, Robbie Williams, Kiss, Bon Jovi (twice), Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, U2 and Pearl Jam).

  • On 20 November 2009 the stadium will host the only concert by Pearl Jam as listed on their page for the Backspacer Tour.
  • Other events include wrestling (World Wrestling Entertainment Global Warning, 2002) and boxing (Kostya Tszyu vs Jesse James Leilya, 2003). Docklands Stadium is the only stadium in the world that has hosted One Day International cricket indoors as it is the only fully enclosed stadium in any major cricket playing country with a playing surface large enough to accommodate a conventional cricket match.

The ground hosted two quarter finals of the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the Rugby 7s at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.[9] The stadium was also used in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup for the Australia vs England game and is expected to be included in an Australian bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[10] In the summer months it is used as the home ground for Melbourne Victory games in the A-League and the AFC Champions League.

The stadium is used for Rugby League State of Origin matches when they are played in Melbourne.

The stadium has also hosted a match from the International Rules Series in 2005. Since 2003, it has been the venue for the E. J. Whitten Legends Game.

KISS had played at the stadium on February 28, 2003 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for their live CD and DVD Kiss Symphony: Alive IV.

Home Teams

Docklands Stadium is officially home ground to five AFL teams. Western Bulldogs, Carlton Blues, Essendon Bombers, St Kilda Saints and North Melbourne Kangaroos use the stadium as their primary home ground. The Collingwood Magpies and Richmond Tigers, also play home games there, but their official home ground is the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Geelong Cats also use it for some home games, but their official home ground is Skilled Stadium in Geelong. The AFL highest home and away attendance recorded at the Docklands Stadium was set the 5th of July, 2009 when 54,444 people came to see Geelong and St. Kilda play.

Melbourne Victory also call Docklands Stadium home. Playing all home games, except 3, since 2006. Melbourne Victory will continue to play all games at Docklands until the new Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is completed. Then the Victory will play blockbuster and finals games at Docklands, with all other games being played at the rectangular stadium. Melbourne Victory also set the second largest attendance record at Docklands Stadium, 55,436, set against Adelaide United for the A-League grand final in 2007.

In the 2001 NRL season it was the home ground for the Melbourne Storm. The stadium is also used as the Storm's home finals venue due to the low capacity of it normal home ground, Olympic Park Stadium.


Naming rights history

The stadium was constructed by Baulderstone Hornibrook and opened on 9 March 2000, as Colonial Stadium. Colonial State Bank paid $32.5 million for 10 years of naming rights. [4] In 2000, Commonwealth Bank took over Colonial State Bank and sold the naming rights to Telstra for about $50 million. The name was changed to Telstra Dome on 1 October 2002. During this time it was colloquially referred to as simply "The Dome", including by clubs who are sponsored by rival telecommunications companies. On 1 March 2009 the name was changed to Etihad Stadium, for an expected period of five years, when the naming rights transferred to Etihad Airways[12]. Etihad Airways are paying an estimated $5–$8 million a year for naming rights at the Docklands stadium.[13] Controversy surrounds the new name, with the AFL initially refusing to recognise it. AFL chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan confirmed the AFL would not recognise the new name due to a lucrative sponsorship deal between the AFL and Australia's largest airline, Qantas.[14] After negotiation between the two parties, AFL broadcasters and clubs are permitted by the governing body to use the stadium's sponsored name.

Stadium features

Movable seating in rectangular format for an Australia Asian Cup qualifier against Oman.
A section of the movable seating.
  • Retractable roof 38 metres (125 ft) above the playing surface, opens east-west, and takes eight minutes to fully open or close.[9]
  • Movable seating
  • 'Colosseum' arena structure
  • Two large internal replay screens which display scores and advertisements.
  • External super screen
  • 1,000 video seats
  • 13 function rooms
  • 66 corporate boxes
  • Premium Club membership area, The Medallion Club
  • 2,500 car parking spaces below the ground
  • Oval shaped, turf playing surface of 19,053 square metres (205,080 sq ft) or 170 by 140 m (560 by 460 ft)
  • Over 700 2000-watt lights for arena illumination
  • A varying capacity of between 12,000 and 74,000, depending on the event. For example seats can be laid on the ground.
  • An AFL capacity of 53,359
  • The ends of the ground, where the AFL goal posts are located, are named after VFL/AFL goal-kicking legends Tony 'Plugger' Lockett and Gordon Coventry. The northern end is the Lockett End, and the southern end, the Coventry End.


Several issues with Docklands Stadium that have caused growing resentment with the AFL and prompted the league to publicly investigate an alternative third venue. At times this venue has been suggested as a redeveloped Princes Park Football Ground or a rival stadium in the Docklands area.[15][16]


Playing surface issues

A panoramic view of the interior of Docklands Stadium with the roof closed. Taken during a Collingwood vs Port Adelaide AFL Match. 1st July 2005

Since its inception, Docklands Stadium has endured criticism over the quality and suitability of its playing surface, in particular for AFL requirements. It has been criticised by players and coaches for its slipperiness, hardness and lack of grass coverage.[17] The turf has required regular expensive replacement since its inception due to a lack of sunlight inside the stadium. The turf itself is supplied under contract by HG Turf, whereas the responsibility of laying and managing the turf lies with Docklands Stadium management.[18]

Issues with the ground's ability to grow grass all year round can be attributed to the stadium's irregular North-South orientation which was a requirement due to its placement between the surrounding roads and Docklands body of water. In particular, the Northern end of the stadium only receives 6 weeks of sunlight a year. Concerts held at the stadium are also usually placed at the Southern end due to the ability for grass to recover faster in that section of the ground.[19]

In August 2007, Docklands Stadium chief executive Ian Collins confirmed talks were underway to purchase an elaborate lighting and heating system to allow grass to be grown by curators all year round. This followed extensive visits by Docklands Stadium officials to several FIFA World Cup venues in Germany, locations in the United States and Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium.[19]

Studies have also been conducted due to concerns that hard surfaces like Docklands Stadium increase the likelihood of player injury, in particular in contributing to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries (knee).[20]


Despite being a purpose built Australian rules venue, it rarely reaches a full capacity for AFL matches due to the positioning of the coaching boxes and LCD screens. From some areas high in the stands and even standing areas, viewing of the full oval is obscured. This, however does not affect sports which use a smaller rectangular section of the ground.

Additionally, spectators have objected to high food costs at the venue.[21]

Attendance records

2006-07 A-League Grand Final at Docklands Stadium
One of the Large LCD's at Docklands Stadium
A typical AFL match at Docklands Stadium

In popular culture

The venue appeared in the 2007 film "Ghost Rider". Its name, wherever visible, has been digitally changed to the SoBe Dome. It is also visible in the video for Jessica Mauboy's single Running Back, as well as some high rating television shows, such as the Seven Network's City Homicide and Network Ten's Rush.

External links


  1. ^ Linnell, Stephen; Shane Green (31 October 1996). "City to get $200m high-tech stadium". The Age. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  2. ^ Etihad Stadium Populous Architekten
  3. ^
  4. ^ ibid
  5. ^ "Victorian Venues". Australian Football League. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  6. ^ Main, p. 263.
  7. ^ "Seven sells Telstra Dome stake". News Limited. 2006-07-21. 
  8. ^ Australia's Telstra Dome Rights For Sale | Sports & Recreation > Sports & Recreation Facilities & Venues
  9. ^ a b "2006 Commonwealth Games venues - Docklands Stadium". 2006-02-28. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  10. ^ "SA venues fail World Cup test". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 2008-02-10.,22606,23188349-12428,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  11. ^ Etihad Stadium Sets AFL Crowd Record
  12. ^ "ETIHAD: New Naming Rights Partner". 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  13. ^ "Naming lights sponsor at MCG?". 2009-06-10.,27574,25613331-2862,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  14. ^ "AFL refuses to acknowledge Etihad Stadium". The Courier Mail. 2009-02-25.,27046,25107632-5016169,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  15. ^,21985,25406445-661,00.html
  16. ^,22049,25411495-5016140,00.html
  17. ^ "Surface Tension ends at Telstra Dome". 2007-06-24. 
  18. ^ "Turf Experiment for Dome". Australian Football Association of North America. 2006-08-27. 
  19. ^ a b "Turf's up at the Dome". Herald Sun. 2007-08-15.,21985,22246546-2862,00.html. 
  20. ^ "Dried out grounds bring hard times". The University of Melbourne Voice. 2007-04-30. 
  21. ^,21985,21536146-5000117,00.html
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ [3]
  25. ^ Holmesby, Luke (2009-07-05). "Saints edge Cats". Australian Football League. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ Australian Stadiums :: Telstra Dome Crowds
  28. ^ "Melbourne Storm to face Manly in NRL Grand Final". News Ltd (Herald Sun). 2007-09-13.,21985,22467010-14823,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 


  • Main, Jim (2007). Our Game. Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-670-07143-2. 

Simple English

Docklands Stadium, also known as Ethiad Stadium due to a sponsership agreement with Ethiad Airways, is a stadium in Melbourne, Australia. It used to be called the "Telstra Dome"


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