Etihad Stadium Changes Hands

Melbourne’s 53,359-capacity  changed hands for a reported A$200 million ($151.8 million) deal. It was owned by a group of major superannuation firms and managed by Melbourne Stadiums Limited (MSL).  

Photo: Melbourne Stadium Ltd.
When a massive storm hit Melbourne Feb. 28 forcing the cancellation or delays of many festivals and concerts, Foo Fighters managed to play the Australian city when the 53,359-capacity Etihad Stadium closed its retractable roof. The Foo Fighters visit was booked through Frontier Touring.

The 16-year-old venue’s new owner taking over in November is the Australian Football League, which in 2015 generated A$494 million ($374.9 million) drawing 6.7 million spectators to games by its 18 teams. The AFL was initially to acquire the stadium in March 2025 for a peppercorn A$30 ($22.75). However, the tough deals the venue placed on its five resident teams were financially stifling (they had to pay to play if they didn’t draw 28,000 to a match) saw the AFL move earlier to provide the teams with a stronger financial footing.

The league was at pains to stress that it was business as usual. The venue’s naming rights deal with Etihad Airways runs until 2019. AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said. “The AFL will continue to operate Etihad Stadium as a multi-purpose entertainment venue hosting AFL matches, other sports, concerts and a broad range of entertainment options.” However its future as a major music venue is under a cloud. U2, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, KISS, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band and Taylor Swift are just a few it has hosted.

The Herald-Sun reported Oct. 10 that after Justin Bieber’s March show, there’d be a curtailing of major music events.

The stadium’s operators have long complained that concerts wreak havoc with its playing surface. Although there is no official response from the AFL, the Herald-Sun claimed it’s inevitable that there would cease to be concerts during the pre-season and mid-season.