Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Naarm
AAMI Park
AAMI Park logo
View of AAMI Park from the tennis centre opposite
Map
Full nameMelbourne Rectangular Stadium
Former namesSwan St Stadium (2007–2010)
AddressOlympic Blvd
Melbourne VIC 3004
Australia
LocationOlympic Boulevard
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates37°49′31″S 144°59′2″E / 37.82528°S 144.98389°E / -37.82528; 144.98389
Public transitRichmond railway station
Tram route 70
ParkingParking available at John Cain Arena
OwnerGovernment of Victoria
OperatorMelbourne & Olympic Parks Trust
Seating typeAll-seater
Executive suites24
Capacity30,050(total)
29,500(rugby)
Record attendanceSporting Event: 29,871 (18/06/16: Wallabies v England)
Concert: 98,136 / 98,136 (over three nights) (10, 11 & 12 December 2015: Taylor Swift Concert)
Field size136 m × 85 m (446 ft × 279 ft)
Field shapeRectangular
SurfaceStaLok Turf
ScoreboardTwo curved scoreboards in opposite corners
Construction
Broke ground2007; 17 years ago (2007)
Built2010; 14 years ago (2010)
Opened7 May 2010; 13 years ago (2010-05-07)
Renovated2023
Years active2010–present
Construction costA$268 million
ArchitectCox Architecture
Structural engineerArup
Norman Disney & Young
General contractorGrocon
Tenants
Rugby League
Melbourne Storm
(NRL) (2010–present)
Rugby Union
Melbourne Rebels
(Super Rugby and Super W) (2011–present)
Soccer
Melbourne City FC
(A-League Men and Women) (2010–present)
Melbourne Victory
(A-League Men and Women) (2010–present)

Western United
(A-League Men and Women) (2019–present)

Socceroos and Matildas
(select international matches)

Australian rules football
Melbourne Football Club (AFL)
(administration and training, 2010–present)
Website
https://aamipark.com.au

The Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, referred to as AAMI Park due to a sponsorship arrangement, is an outdoor sports stadium situated on the grounds of Edwin Flack Field within the Sports and Entertainment Precinct in the heart of the Melbourne central business district.

Upon its completion in 2010, it became Melbourne's inaugural large, purpose-built rectangular stadium. Prior to this project, the primary venues were the oval-configured Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Docklands Stadium, primarily suited for Australian rules football and cricket. The city's former largest rectangular stadium, Olympic Park, had been repurposed from a track and field facility.

Notably, the stadium's main occupants include the National Rugby League squad, the Melbourne Storm; the Super Rugby contenders, the Melbourne Rebels; and two A-League Men contenders, namely Melbourne Victory FC and Melbourne City FC. Additionally, the venue was one of five chosen for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, responsible for hosting the inaugural match and six subsequent games, including a quarter-final match. Furthermore, it is designated to stage matches during the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. The stadium also hosted matches for the Four Nations in 2010 and 2014, along with serving as a venue for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

While known as the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium during its construction phase, the facility has been recognized as AAMI Park since its inauguration in March 2010, resulting from a sponsorship partnership with the insurance firm AAMI.

History

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium Eastern Stand
Melbourne Rectangular Stadium interior

Prior to construction

Until 2010, Olympic Park Stadium was Melbourne's main venue for soccer, rugby league and rugby union; not purpose-built, it was an athletics stadium with the rectangular grass field set inside the running track, and it could hold 18,500 spectators, but only 11,000 seated. It had been the home ground of the Melbourne Storm since they entered the National Rugby League in 1998. The A-League Men's Melbourne Victory FC also used Olympic Park Stadium from 2005 to 2007 when they switched permanently to Docklands Stadium.

In 2004, as part of Melbourne's bid for a Super Rugby team, the Victorian Government prepared an economic impact study on the development of a world class rectangular stadium in Melbourne. But in late 2004, the bid lost out to the Western Australian consortium, which would become the Western Force.

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 NRL team Melbourne Storm and A-League Men 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. The stadium began construction in late 2007.

In November 2009, when the Super Rugby competition expanded to 15 teams, the Melbourne consortium won the 15th Super Rugby licence, with the new franchise intending to play their games at the new stadium.

The stadium's first match was the 2010 Anzac Test between the Australian and New Zealand rugby league teams on 7 May 2010. The stadium was referred to as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Swan Street Stadium or the Bubble Dome during its early construction. The stadium's commercial name was announced as AAMI Park on 16 March 2010; initially an eight-year deal, it has been twice extended with the current AAMI sponsorship deal set to expire in 2026.

Notable events hosted: 2010s

Rugby league

The stadium held its first event, rugby league's 2010 Anzac Test, on 7 May 2010. The opening ceremony featured the NRL's all-time highest point-scorer, Hazem El Masri, who had retired the previous season, kicking a goal. The first points scored on the ground were from a Jamie Lyon penalty kick in the 32nd minute, and the first try was scored by Brett Morris in the 39th minute. Australia defeated New Zealand 12–8 in front of a sell-out crowd (near 30,000). 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 crowd of 20,042.

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium hosted international matches as part of the Rugby League Four Nations in 2010 and 2014, when Australia defeated England by 34–14 in front of 18,894 fans on 31 October 2010, and again when Australia defeated England by 16–12 on 2 November 2014 (attendance: 20,585).

Soccer

On 5 August 2010 the stadium played host to its first A-Leagues match. It was also another first, as the newly formed 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 won the honour of scoring the first goal. The first Melbourne Victory match was played at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium v Perth Glory on 14 August 2010 in front of 21,193 fans.

The venue hosted the 2015 AFC Asian Cup opening ceremony and seven international matches including the tournament opener between Australia and Kuwait on 9 January, and a quarter-final match South Korea and Uzbekistan on 22 January.

As of the 2020-21 A-League season, Western United FC began also playing home games out of the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, while they continued to wait for their own stadium to be built in West Melbourne. As of the 2022-23 A-League season, the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium remains their primary home venue.

AAMI Park played host to 6 Matches as part of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 under its non-commercial name of Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. It also acted as a secondary live site for the Australia vs England semi-final match, as well as the primary live site for the third-place match and the final when Federation Square decided to stop showing matches.

Rugby union

The Melbourne Rebels played their first Super Rugby match at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on 18 February 2011. The Melbourne Rising played their first National Rugby Championship match on 24 August 2014, defeating the North Harbour Rays by a resounding 55–34 score. The Rising played a semifinal at the stadium on 25 October 2014, but lost by 29–45 to the Perth Spirit.

Melbourne Football Club (AFL) training and administrative facilities

The Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL) moved its indoor training and administrative facilities to the park in 2010, and train at their nearby outdoor training ground at Gosch's Paddock.

Stadium design

Stadium from the north (Olympic Boulevard) end

Features

The COX Architecture designed 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 covered in thousands of LED lights which can be programmed to display a variety of patterns and images.

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 is 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 has planned to house public bars and cafes, 24 corporate boxes, a dining room with a capacity of 1000 people, a gym and lap pool.

Capacity

Australia v Kuwait during the 2015 AFC Asian Cup

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 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.

Alternative plans put forward by the Victorian Government proposed a capacity of 30,050, on the condition that the Victory sign on as a tenant. An agreement was reached and the stadium went ahead at this capacity. To assist with the extended capacity, temporary stands can be erected behind the goals during soccer matches and removed during rugby league and union games so as to allow space for the in-goal area (an international soccer pitch measures 105 metres in length, while including the in-goal areas, rugby league and rugby union have a minimum field length of 116 and 120 metres respectively). Although the stadium was built with foundations to allow for future expansion to 50,000, the roof was not designed with this in mind, and so the stadium cannot be expanded without major construction work. Construction of the stadium was featured during a 2010 episode of the TV show Build It Bigger.

Upgrades

Following the stadium's opening in 2010, the stadium's features were first upgraded in early 2023, ahead of its fixtures for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. The Victorian Government contributed $25 million to replace the old video screens with two new curved screens, install LED sports light technology in the light towers and under the roof canopy, and replace static advertising and wayfinding boards with LED. Player facilities, broadcasting and corporate facilities were also improved as a result of the upgrade.

Crowd records

Concerts

Event Description Event Date Attendance Gross Reference
Concert Taylor Swift The 1989 World Tour 10, 11 & 12 December 2015 98,136 / 98,136 (over three nights) $10,421,553
Concert Ed Sheeran x Tour 5 & 6 December 2015 66,918 / 66,918 (over two nights) N/A
Concert Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band High Hopes Tour 15 & 16 February 2014 62,950 / 62,950 (over two nights) $9,185,208
Concert Foo Fighters Wasting Light Tour 2 & 3 December 2011 60,083 (over two nights) N/A
Concert Paul McCartney One On One Tour 5 & 6 December 2017 59,002 / 59,002 (over two nights) $9,623,682
Concert Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band The River Tour 2 & 4 February 2017 51,192 / 54,000 (over two nights) $7,384,735

Sporting events

Sport Description Event Date Attendance Reference
Rugby union (International) Australia vs England 2016 England rugby union tour of Australia, Second Test 18 June 2016 29,871
Association football (Finals) Melbourne Victory FC vs Sydney FC 2015 A-League Grand Final 17 May 2015 29,843
Rugby league (International) Australia vs New Zealand 2010 Anzac Test 7 May 2010 29,442
Rugby league (Finals) Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys 2015 NRL Preliminary Final 26 September 2015 29,315
Rugby league (Home & Away) Melbourne Storm vs New Zealand Warriors 2014 NRL season 25 April 2014 28,716
Rugby union (Friendly) Melbourne Rebels vs British & Irish Lions 2013 British & Irish Lions tour 26 June 2013 28,658
Association football (International) Australia vs Vietnam 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – AFC third round 27 January 2022 27,740
Association football (Home & Away) Melbourne Victory FC vs Sydney FC 2012–13 A-League 26 January 2013 26,882
Rugby Union (Home & Away) Melbourne Rebels vs New South Wales Waratahs 2011 Super Rugby season 18 February 2011 25,524

Rugby league test matches

The stadium has hosted six rugby league internationals. The results were as follows;

Test no. Date Winner Result Runner-up Attendance Part of
1 7 May 2010  Australia 12–8  New Zealand 29,442 2010 Anzac Test
2 31 October 2010  Australia 34–14  England 18,894 2010 Four Nations
3 2 November 2014  Australia 16–12  England 20,585 2014 Four Nations
4 27 October 2017  Australia 18–4  England 22,274 2017 Rugby League World Cup
5 19 November 2017  England 36–6  Papua New Guinea 10,563
6 28 October 2023  Australia 36–18  New Zealand 20,584 2023 Pacific Cup

2015 AFC Asian Cup

Iran v Bahrain during the 2015 AFC Asian Cup
Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Stage Attendance
9 January 2015  Australia 4–1  Kuwait Group A 25,231
11 January 2015  Iran 2–0  Bahrain Group C 17,712
14 January 2015  North Korea 1–4  Saudi Arabia Group B 12,349
16 January 2015  Palestine 1–5  Jordan Group D 10,808
18 January 2015  Uzbekistan 3–1  Saudi Arabia Group B 10,871
20 January 2015  Japan 2–0  Jordan Group D 25,016
22 January 2015  South Korea 2–0  Uzbekistan Quarter-finals 23,381

2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

Jamaica versus Brazil during the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

The venue hosted six matches of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup – four group games and two knockout ones. Seating capacity for the matches was reduced to 27,706 due to media requirements.

Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Stage Attendance
21 July 2023 Nigeria Nigeria 0–0 Canada Canada Group B 21,410
24 July 2023 Germany Germany 6–0 Morocco Morocco Group H 27,256
31 July 2023 Canada Canada 0–4 Australia Australia Group B 27,706
2 August 2023 Jamaica Jamaica 0–0 Brazil Brazil Group F 27,638
6 August 2023 Sweden Sweden 0–0 (5–4 pen.) United States USA Round of 16 27,706
8 August 2023 Colombia Colombia 1–0 Jamaica Jamaica Round of 16 27,706

Awards

In 2011 the stadium project was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter) Melbourne Prize for contribution to the civic and public life of Melbourne.

In June 2012 the stadium won the award for the most iconic and culturally significant stadium at the 2012 World Stadium Awards, held in Doha, Qatar.

Panoramic view of the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium viewed from a city building.
Panorama of Melbourne Rectangular Stadium during the 2015 A-League Grand Final between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.

This page was last updated at 2024-01-23 12:12 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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