Stadium Australia, currently also known as ANZ Stadium due to naming rights, formerly known as Telstra Stadium, is a multi-purose stadium located in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct of Homebush Bay. The stadium, which in Australia is sometimes referred to simply as the "Olympic Stadium", was completed in March 1999 at a cost of A$690 million to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. The stadium has since hosted the 2003 Rugby World Cup finals, as well as annual centerpiece matches of the National Rugby League competition (e.g. NSW vs. QLD and finals) and Australian rugby (e.g. Bledisloe Cup and NSW vs.QLD ).
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 after 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. The stadium was also engineered along sustainable lines for example with the low use of steel in the roof structure in comparison to the Olympic stadiums of Athens and Beijing.
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 12 December 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 A$31.5 million over 7 years.This change took effect on 1 January 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.
The first sporting event held at the stadium was on 6 March 1999 when a then-record rugby league football crowd of 104,583 watched the NRL first round double-header, featuring Newcastle v Manly and Parramatta v St George Illawarra Dragons. The first musical act 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 stadium was not officially opened until June 1999 when the Australian National Soccer team played the FIFA All Stars. Australia won the match 3–2 in front of a crowd of 88,101. Stadium Australia also played host to the national side'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 Jonh 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 7 August 1999, a National Football League( American Football) exhibition game was played between the Denever Broncos and the San Diego Chargers, bringing home former Australian Football League player Darren Bennett, the Charager’s 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 Strom 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 sessions on day 11 attracted 112,524 spectators.Also during the Olympics, the Soccer final attracted 104,098 to witness Cameroom 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.
Australian rock band AC/DC played 3 shows in February 2010 (18th, 20th & 22nd) as part of their Black Ice World Tour, supported by Wolfmother. Respectively the shows had an attendance of 70,282, 75,867 and 66,896.
Irish rock band U2 performed at ANZ stadium on 13 and 14 December 2010 as part of their U2 360 tour. They may have set a new attendance record for the reconfigured stadium with over 90,000 people expected at each show. ANZ stadium claimed that it would be the biggest event since the 2000 Olympic Games.
ReconfigurationIn 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 construction work was carried out by Multiplex.
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 15 November 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 22 November, 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.
2 October 2005 saw 82,453 attend the NRL grand final in which the Wests Tigers defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 30–16.
16 November 2005 saw 82,698 attend the second leg of the Oceania-South America Qualification Playoff game for qualification to the 2006 FIFA World Cup 2006. 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.
In Feb-09, the stadium replaced its existing two television screens with new Panasonic HD LED video screens that measure 23x10m – 70% larger than the original screens, and 50% larger than the screens in the Beuing National Stadium, whilst consuming less power than the old screens, additionally, an led perimeter screen showcasing anz advertising has been installed on the second level from the 30m line to the 30m line.
4 October 2009 saw the largest ever rugby league crowd since reconfiguration when 82,538 attend the NRL grand final to see the Melbourne Storm defeat the Parramatta Eels 23–16. This number was nearly reached in the 2010 NRL Grand Final between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters, with 82,334 in attendance. On 13 and 14 December 2010, a U2 concert, one of the biggest in history, was held at the ANZ stadium.
Regular sporting events
The National Rugby League is the most regular tenant of the ground, while Rugby Union internationals, Soccer internationals and Australian Football are all played at the ground. ANZ Stadium hosts the following:
National Rugby League
- Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs home games (since 1999)
- South Sydney Rabbitohs home games (since 2006)
- Two Parramatta Eels home games (since 2008). The Eels play their remaining ten home games at Parramatta Stadium.
- Wests Tigers home games (2005–2008). The Tigers used ANZ Stadium as one of their three home grounds during this time, alongside Leichhardt Oval and Campbelltown Stadium.
- St George Illawarra Dragons home games (2008). The Dragons called the stadium home for the 2008 season while their regular Sydney-based home ground at Kogarah, WIN Jubilee Oval, was reconfigured.
- Rugby League State of Origin matches are played at the stadium each year (either two or one annually since 1999), and every NRL Grand Final has been held there since 1999.
- A large number of Australian national team games are staged at the ground.
- Proposed new A-league side from Western Sydney have expressed their desire to play most home matches at the ground. This is seen as a massive coup for the stadium, as currently no major summer tenants play out of the ground.
- Sydney FC played a one-off match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at this ground. Sydney FC won 5–3. They were also the only A-League team to ever be broadcast on free-to-air television (Network Ten broadcast this game with Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat providing commentary).
- Sydney FC played English Premier League side Everton FC at ANZ Stadium on 10 July 2010.
- The Sydney Swans play up to four "blockbuster" games at the venue each season, with their remaining home games played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In 2010, only three games will be played at ANZ Stadium by the Swans. All finals (except for one in 2005 due to the stadium being unavailable) are also played at this stadium.
International Rugby Union
- At least two Rugby Union tests a year are also played at the stadium – usually a Bledisloe Cup match, and a tour match.
- During the 2009 Super 14 season the New South Wales Waratahs played its first game at the venue against the Canterbury Crusaders. This tradition was continued in 2010 where they faced the ACT Brumies .
- The NSW Blues play some limited overs Ford Ranger Cup matches at the stadium.
- The same side also uses the stadium to host their home games in the domestic Twenty 20 Big Bash competition each summer.
- The Stadium has been approved as a ground for international cricket and could host a Twenty20 or One Day International, and has also been listed as a stadium in the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
- The Stadium will be home to the new Sydney Thunder franchise of the Big Bash League.