Stadium Australia

Stadium Australia

stadium_name = Stadium Australia
(ANZ Stadium)
nickname = Olympic Stadium

location = Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney
broke_ground = Sept 1996
opened = Mar 1999
closed =
demolished = |
owner = Stadium Australia Group
operator = Stadium Australia Group
surface = Grass
architect = Bligh Lobb Sports Architects
construction_cost = $690 millioncite web|url=|title=Media Watch transcript 21/6/1999|date=1999-06-21|accessdate=2008-06-14|publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation]
former_names = Telstra Stadium, Stadium Australia
tenants =Bulldogs (NRL) (1999-present)
South Sydney Rabbitohs (NRL) (2006-present)
Wests Tigers (NRL) (2007-present)
St George Illawarra Dragons (NRL) (2008)
Parramatta Eels (NRL) (2008)
Sydney Swans (AFL) (2001-present)
2000 Summer Olympics
New South Wales Blues (KFC Twenty20 Big Bash) (2008-present)
seating_capacity = 83,500 (rectangular)
81,500 (oval)

Stadium Australia, presently known as ANZ Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium located in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct of Homebush, Sydney, Australia. The stadium was completed in March 1999 at a cost of A$690 million to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. The stadium held the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final.

The stadium was originally built to temporarily hold 110,000 spectators, making it the largest Olympic Stadium ever built as well as the largest stadium in Australia. In 2003 reconfiguration work was completed to shorten the north and south wings, and install movable seating. These changes reduced the capacity to 83,500 for a rectangular field and 81,500 for an oval field (making it the second largest stadium in Australia to the Melbourne Cricket Ground). Awnings were also added over the North and South stands, which means that now most of the seating is under cover.

Naming rights history

The stadium lacked a naming rights sponsor in its formative years, bearing the name Stadium Australia between its opening in 1999 and 2002. In 2002, telecommunications company Telstra acquired the naming rights, resulting in the stadium being known as Telstra Stadium. On December 12 2007 it was announced by the Stadium Australia Group (SAG) that the stadium's name was to be changed to ANZ Stadium after concluding a deal with ANZ Bank worth around AU$31.5 Million over 7 years. [Cite news |url= |title=Stadium Australia Group confirms name change|publisher=Stadium Australia Group ( ) |date=2007-12-12] This change took effect on January 1, 2008.

Confusion with the Stadium's current naming rights relates to the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in Brisbane, which was also formerly known as ANZ Stadium. Prior to Telstra's naming rights agreement in 2002, the venue being named as Stadium Australia had led to confusion by many with the Sydney Football Stadium, which was formerly known as "Aussie Stadium".

Event history

Large crowds

The first musical act to have been held at the newly built stadium was the Bee Gees consisting of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb in March 1999. The band had embarked on what would be their final world tour as a group before the death of Maurice, the culmination of the tour ending in the newly built Olympic Stadium. The turnout crowd was 105,000+. The first sporting event held at the stadium was on March 6, 1999 when a then-record rugby league crowd of 104,583 watched the NRL first round double-header, featuring Newcastle v Manly and Parramatta v St George Illawarra Dragons.

The stadium was not officially opened until June 1999 when Australia played the FIFA All Stars. Australia won the match 3-2 in front of a crowd of 88,101. ANZ Stadium also played host to Australia's historic playoff win over Uruguay in November 2005, a victory which granted Australia FIFA World Cup qualification for only the second time in the country's history. The event attracted a virtual capacity crowd of 82,698.

The 1999 Bledisloe Cup rugby union match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks attracted a then-world record rugby union crowd of 107,042. In 2000 this was bettered when a crowd of 109,874 witnessed the "Greatest ever Rugby Match" when a Jonah Lomu try sealed an All Blacks win over the Wallabies 39-35. The All Blacks had led 24-nil after 11 minutes only to see Australia draw level at 24-all by halftime.

On August 7, 1999, a National Football League (American Football) exhibition game was played between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers, bringing home former AFL player Darren Bennett, the Chargers' punter. The Broncos won the game 20-17. This was Australia's first, and currently only, American Bowl game.

The 1999 National Rugby League Grand Final, played on 26 September between the Melbourne Storm and the St George Illawarra Dragons, broke the rugby league world-record crowd previously set earlier in the season when 107,999 came to watch the Storm defeat the Dragons 20-18.

During the 2000 Olympics, the evening track and field session on day 11 attracted 112,524 spectators. [Cite web |url= |title=2005 Fast Facts about Sydney Olympic Park |publisher=Sydney Olympic Park website] Also during the Olympics, the association football (soccer) final attracted 104,098 to witness Cameroon defeat Spain for its first-ever Olympic gold medal.

The opening ceremony for the 2000 Olympics at the stadium completely sold out all 110,000 seats, while the highest attendance ever recorded was 114,714 during the closing ceremony of the same Games.


In October 2001, major reconfiguration work on the stadium was commenced to allow for sports that require an oval field, such as cricket and Australian rules football, to be played at the ground. The two wing stands were removed as well as the athletics track and a movable seating section was introduced in its place. New roofs were built over the two ends and seats that had a poor view of the field were removed. The reconfiguration reduced the capacity to 83,500 for the rectangular field and 81,500 for the oval field at a total cost of $80 million.

The reconfiguration work was completed in October 2003 in time for the 2003 Rugby World Cup where the then Telstra Stadium hosted the opening game, two other groups games, both Semi-Finals, the third-place play-off and final matches of the competition. In the first semi-final on November 15, 2003, Australia beat New Zealand 22-10 and then in the second semi-final the following day England beat France 24-7. In the final, on November 22, England beat Australia 20-17 in extra time.

The Sydney Swans v Collingwood AFL match at the Stadium on Saturday 23 August 2003 set an attendance record for the largest crowd to watch an AFL game outside of Victoria with 72,393 spectators (near capacity) attending and was the largest home-and-away AFL crowd at any Australian stadium for 2003.

October 2, 2005 saw 82,453 attend the NRL grand final in which the Wests Tigers defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 30-16.

November 16, 2005 saw 82,698 attend the second leg of the Oceania-South America Qualification Playoff game for qualification to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Australia defeated Uruguay 1-0, which led to a penalty shootout as Uruguay had won the first leg of the playoff 1-0. Australia won this shootout 4-2, and the penalty spot where John Aloisi's spot kick secured victory has been permanently preserved and is on public display at the stadium. [Cite news |url= |title=Aloisi's penalty spot to be preserved |publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald |date=2005-11-29]

Regular sporting events

The National Rugby League (NRL) holds its Grand Final at the stadium. Premiership games are also played throughout the regular season. The ground is the home ground for the Bulldogs and since 2006 the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Wests Tigers have used the venue as one of their home grounds since 2005 while the St George Illawarra Dragons will play some home games there during the upcoming 2008 season, due to re-developments at OKI Jubilee Stadium. The stadium is also one of the hosts for the annual rugby league State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland. The stadium hosts one State of Origin match in odd-numbered years and two in even-numbered years, although in 2006, a NSW allocated "home game" was taken to Melbourne's Telstra Dome, as part of National Rugby League initiatives to make inroads into the state of Victoria.The Sydney Swans Australian Football League side plays several games at the venue each season, as well as the Sydney Cricket Ground. At least two Rugby Union tests a year are also played at the stadium - usually a Bledisloe Cup match, and a tour match. In the near future the New South Wales Waratahs will play some of their home fixtures at the stadium. The NSW Blues also play limited Ford Ranger Cup matches at the stadium. The stadium has also hosted Speedway Grand Prix of Australia on one occasion in 2002. Also, the AFL is planning to introduce the Western Sydney Football Club which will play all of its home games at the stadium. Whether the Swans will still play some of their games their has not yet been announced. Their regular home stadium is the Sydney Cricket Ground.

eating capacity and other records

Notes and references

External links

* [ ANZ Stadium official website]

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