Melbourne Rectangular Stadium


Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
"AAMI Park" redirects here. For the stadium in Adelaide known as "AAMI Stadium," see Football Park.
AAMI Park
AAMI Park logo.svg
AAMIPARK.JPG
AAMI Park
Location Edwin Flack Field, Olympic Boulevard, inner Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates 37°49′31″S 144°59′2″E / 37.82528°S 144.98389°E / -37.82528; 144.98389Coordinates: 37°49′31″S 144°59′2″E / 37.82528°S 144.98389°E / -37.82528; 144.98389
Broke ground 2007
Built 2010
Opened 7 May 2010[1]
Owner Government of Victoria
Operator Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust
Surface StaLok Turf
Construction cost A$268 million
Architect Cox Architects and Planners
Capacity Total: 30,050[2]
Super Rugby: 29,500[3]
Field dimensions 136 x 85m[4]
Tenants
Melbourne Storm (NRL) (2010–present)
Melbourne Victory (A-League) (2010–present)
Melbourne Heart (A-League) (2010–present)
Melbourne Rebels (Super Rugby) (2011–present)

The Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (commercially known as AAMI Park[5]) is an outdoor sports stadium on the site of Edwin Flack Field on Olympic Boulevard in the Sports and Entertainment Precinct, in inner Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The stadium's major tenants are the Melbourne Storm (NRL), Melbourne Rebels (Super Rugby) and A-League teams Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart.[6]

AAMI Park became Melbourne's first large purpose built rectangular stadium. At the time of its conception the largest stadiums in use were the MCG, Docklands Stadium and Princes Park. These were all of oval configuration and best suited to Australian rules football or cricket. The largest rectangular stadium in the city, Olympic Park, was a repurposed track and field venue.

After being referred to as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium during its construction, the ground was officially named AAMI Park on 16 March 2010, in an eight year sponsorship deal with an insurance firm.[5]

Contents

History

Rugby League being played at AAMI Park

Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne's main "rectangular" venue, could hold 18,500 people, but with only 11,000 of them seated. When Melbourne Storm entered the National Rugby League, they played their home games at Olympic Park. Melbourne Victory moved a game to Docklands Stadium against rivals Sydney FC in September 2006. They then moved all their games except one from Olympic Park to Docklands mid way through the season.

In 2004, as part of Melbourne's bid for a Super 14 team, the Victorian Government prepared an economic impact study into the development of a world class rectangular stadium in Melbourne.[7] But in late 2004, the bid lost out to the Western Australian consortium, who later renamed themselves the Western Force. But in November 2009, when the competition expanded to 15 teams, the Melbourne consortium won the 15th Super Rugby licence, and the Melbourne Rebels will play their games at AAMI Park.

On 6 April 2006, the Victorian Government announced that a $190 million 20,000 seat rectangular stadium would be built on the site of Edwin Flack Field and would be home to Melbourne Storm and A-League team Melbourne Victory. The stadium's planned capacity was increased to 30,000, with foundations capable of expansion to a capacity of 50,000 if needed.

AAMI Park Western Stand

The stadium began construction in late 2007.

On 23 November 2009, it was announced that the stadium's first match would be the 2011 ANZAC Test between the Australian and New Zealand rugby league teams on 7 May 2010.[1]

The stadium was referred to as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Swan Street Stadium or the Bubble Dome[8][9] during its early construction. The stadium's commercial name was announced as AAMI Park on 16 March 2010 in an eight year deal.

The stadium held its first event, rugby league's 2010 ANZAC Test on 7 May 2010.[1] The opening ceremony featured retired player and the NRL's all-time highest point-scorer, Hazem El Masri, kicking a goal.[10] Australia then went on to defeat New Zealand 12-8 in front of a sell out crowd. Two days later the first National Rugby League match was played at the stadium when the Brisbane Broncos defeated the Melbourne Storm in front of a 20,042 crowd.

On 7 August 2010, the stadium played host to its first A-League match. It was also another first as Melbourne Heart FC played their first game in front of 11,050 fans against the Central Coast Mariners. The Heart lost 1-0, and Alex Wilkinson had the honour of scoring the first goal. The first Melbourne Victory match was played at AAMI Park v Perth Glory infront of 21,193 fans.

On 2 December 2011, AAMI Park will host its first concert when the Foo Fighters perform at AAMI Park as part of their Wasting Light World Tour.[11]

Stadium

Stadium from the south (Yarra River) end

The stadium features a "Bioframe" design, with a geodesic dome roof covering much of the seating area, while still allowing light through to the pitch. The northern and southern sides of the stadiums are called the Olympic Side and Yarra Side respectively.

The exterior of the stadium is also covered in thousands of LED lights, which can be programmed to display a variety of patterns and images.[12]

The stadium includes training facilities and office accommodation for Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Victory, Melbourne Football Club, the Victorian Rugby Union, the Victorian Olympic Council, Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre (OPSMC), Imaging@Olympic Park Radiology and Tennis Victoria. The stadium will be used by the Melbourne Demons as their administration headquarters. The team had wanted the stadium completed by 2008 to coincide with its 150th anniversary. It will also house public bars and cafes, 24 corporate boxes, a dining room with a capacity of 1000 people, a gym and lap pool.

Capacity

Stadium viewed from a city building.

The stadium was initially proposed to have a seating capacity of 20,000, upgradeable to 25,000. This was due to both expected demand, as well as a state government agreement with Docklands Stadium that no stadiums with a capacity greater than 30,000 would be constructed in Melbourne before 2010. These plans were revised after the Melbourne Victory refused to commit to playing at a stadium of such small capacity, having achieved an average attendance of over 27,000 since their move to the Docklands Stadium in the 2006–07 A-League Season. Under the new plans put forward by the Victorian Government, a capacity of 30,050 was proposed, on the condition that the Victory sign on as a tenant. An agreement has since been reached between the two parties for the stadium to have a capacity of 30,050.[13] To assist with the extended capacity, temporary stands will be erected behind the goals during soccer matches and removed during rugby league games so as to allow space for the in-goal area. Although the stadium will be built with foundations to allow for future expansion to 50,000,[14] the roof was not designed with this in mind and so the stadium cannot be expanded without major construction work.[15]

Crowds

The largest crowd at the stadium is also its first, the 2010 Rugby League ANZAC Test which drew 29,442 spectators.[16] The next highest attendance was the 2011 NRL Preliminary Final loss by the Melbourne Storm to the New Zealand Warriors in front of a 28,580 crowd.[17]

The largest Soccer crowd and third largest attendance at the venue was the inaugural Melbourne Derby in the 2010-11 A-League season between Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory, which drew 25,897 spectators.[18] The debut match of the Melbourne Rebels holds fourth place, with their Round 1 2011 Super Rugby match against the NSW Waratahs drawing 25,524 fans.[19] The fifth largest crowd saw Melbourne Storm defeat St. George Illawarra Dragons in front of 24,081.[20]

Every team that uses the venue as a home ground (Storm, Heart, Victory and Rebels) has lost its debut match there.

References

  1. ^ a b c Gough, Paul (26 November 2009). "Anzac Test to open new stadium". Sportal (Australia: Sportal). http://sportal.com.au/league-news-display/anzac-test-opener-81759. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Reed, Ron (8 May 2010). "Bubbling with excitement on opening night". Herald Sun. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/bubbling-with-excitement-on-opening-night/story-e6frf9if-1225863869762. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Capacity crowd tipped for opening Melbourne Rebels game". heraldsun. 16 February 2011. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/rugby-union/capacity-crowd-tipped-for-opening-melbourne-rebels-game/story-e6frfgkf-1226006544197. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  4. ^ "Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (AAMI Park)". Major Projects Victoria. http://www.majorprojects.vic.gov.au/our-projects/our-current-projects/melbourne-rectangular-stadium. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b McMahon, Stephen (16 March 2010). "Lucky new stadium's called AAMI". Herald Sun. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/lucky-new-stadiums-called-aami/story-e6frf7jo-1225841104384. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE 2010/11 SEASON DRAW". A-League. http://www.a-league.com.au/site/_content/document/00001665-source.pdf. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  7. ^ "AAMI Park". austadiums.com. http://www.austadiums.com/stadiums/stadiums.php?id=279. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  8. ^ "Video: Melbourne’s field of dreams". Moreland Leader (News Limited). 201004-26. http://moreland-leader.whereilive.com.au/sport/story/field-of-dreams4/. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Ormond, Aidan (201004-19). "Heart: Deal Or No Deal?". Four Four Two (Australia: Haymarket Media.). http://au.fourfourtwo.com/news/126918,heart-deal-or-no-deal.aspx. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  10. ^ Read, Brent (8 May 2010). "Kangaroos shine brightest against New Zealand". Australian (News Limited). http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sport/kangaroos-shine-brightest-against-new-zealand/story-e6frg7mf-1225863842447. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  11. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/music/aami-park-gets-first-rock-concert-when-foo-fighters-tour-in-december/story-e6frf9hf-1226089885037
  12. ^ "Stadium of light". Herald Sun (News Limited). http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25868561-2862,00.html. Retrieved 2 August 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Melbourne to get 30,050-seat stadium". Australia: ABC. 2007-05-23. http://www.abc.net.au/sport/content/200705/s1931002.htm. 
  14. ^ Rolfe, Peter (3 February 2008). "New ground may hold 50,000". Herald Sun (News Limited). http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23148333-2862,00.html. Retrieved 24 February 2008. 
  15. ^ "Grounds for concern". Age (Melbourne: Fairfax). 16 September 2009. http://www.theage.com.au/news/sport/soccer/grounds-for-concern/2009/09/16/1252780357089.html. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  16. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/crowd-roars-for-new-star/story-e6frf7jo-1225863845069
  17. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/live-warriors-v-storm/story-e6frf9if-1226145402828
  18. ^ http://www.a-league.com.au/Scoreboard_HAL/0000470229/scoreboard.html
  19. ^ http://www.melbournerebels.com.au/News/ArticleDetails/tabid/270/ArticleID/1477/Default.aspx
  20. ^ http://stats.rleague.com/rl/crowds/mrs_vn.html#hi

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