Etihad Stadium Charts Growth

Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium unveiled a three-year plan to expand its entertainment programming under new CEO Paul Sergeant, who took over late last year.

The 13-year-old, 53,359-capacity venue is home to four Australian Football League (AFL) teams.

“For six months of a year, we have a very strong product called the AFL,” Sergeant says. “But for the other six months, we have to be flexible.”

The venue recently debuted its new indoor Arena mode, created by installing 180 metre-wide acoustic drapes from the ceiling that allow it to provide seating for anywhere from 5,200 to 24,000.

Mariah Carey, the first to play there Jan. 5, performed before a crowd of 13,000. KISS and Motley Crue play two shows March 5-6 to a total of 20,000.

In mid-January, Sergeant appointed former Brisbane Entertainment Centre events manager Glen Rainsbury as Etihad Stadium’s event sales manager to draw more non-sports events.

“The signs are definitely positive, that’s because of the reputation Glen has in the industry,” said Sergeant, whose previous roles include director of London’s Wembley Arena and Wembley Stadium and chief executive of Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. 

“Promoters don’t want challenges or issues,” Sergeant  said. “We have to make sure that when someone brings a show to us, they are 100-percent confident. Our reputation is everything.”

Chris Charleson, former chief financial officer at Ticketek, begins Feb. 20 as the venue’s CFO.