Australia: Etihad Stadium Renamed, NSW Govt. Lifts Club License Freeze, Phil Emmanuel Dies

Etihad Stadium Renamed Marvel Stadium

A partnership between Disney and Melbourne Stadiums Limited (MSL) will see Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium become Marvel Stadium Sept. 1. It will also have a dedicated interactive store for merchandise from Marvel superheroes.

Etihad Stadium
– Etihad Stadium
UFC 193

Discussions have begun for Marvel to hold a world premiere of a future Marvel movie at the 56,347-capacity stadium.  The Marvel franchise has a huge following in Australia, with the latest, “Avengers: Infinity War,” securing the second-highest opening weekend in Australian box office history in April with A$21.2 million ($16 million).

The new naming rights deal reportedly came from Kylie Watson-Wheeler, senior vice president and managing director of The Walt Disney Company Australia. She is also a board member of the Australian Football League team Western Bulldogs, a stadium tenant.

Watson-Wheeler said of the new signing, “Australian fans are among the most passionate in the world and through our partnership with MSL, we hope to bring people together, and provide them with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the Marvel brand.”

MSL CEO Michael Green added: “Marvel is a powerhouse in the entertainment industry and one of the most recognised brand names in the world. It is a brand dedicated to audience experiences, which firmly aligns with our vision to create incredible experiences for fans.”

The multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium opened in 2000 costing $460 million ($348.5 million) as Dockland Stadium. It became Colonial Stadium after Colonial State Bank paid $32.5 million ($24.6 million) in a 10-year naming rights deal. When Colonial was taken over by the Commonwealth Bank, it sold the remaining rights to telecommunications giant Telstra for $50 million ($37.8 million). The venue became Telstra Dome Oct. 1, 2002. The name changed March 1, 2009 to Etihad Stadium when Etihad Airways bought the rights in a reported $4.5 million to $6 million ($3.4 million to $4.5 million) -a-year deal. The stadium this year celebrated its 40-millionth visitor.

 NSW Government Lifts Freeze On New Sydney Club Licenses

The New South Wales (NSW) government will June 1 lift the freeze on new liquor licenses for music-showcasing venues in Sydney’s Kings Cross precinct and the central business district.

The freeze was initiated in 2014 as part of a clamp-down on alcohol-fueled aggression in and near venues. According to an estimate by politician and live music activist John Graham, 176 venues have shuttered since then.

However, the live music industry has lobbied heavily to show that music venues are low-risk. The government believes the un-freeze will create a boom in music clubs, similar to a doubling of numbers that followed a 2016 extension trading hour in small bars from midnight to 2 a.m., and increased patron limit from 60 to 100.

The freeze on new licenses still applies to higher-risk venues as hotels, clubs, bars and traditional nightclubs. 

Guitarist Phil Emmanuel Dies

Phil Emmanuel, regarded as one of Australia’s best electric guitarists, died after an asthma attack May 24. He was 65.

The multi-award winner was elder brother to Tommy Emmanuel, the globally acclaimed Nashville based axe man.  The two were music prodigies, starting at a young age in the family band in New South Wales.

Phil’s shows and albums as Kakadu Sunset, Electric Guitar Player and The Miracle showed influences ranging from Chet Atkins to Bach to bird noises to the “Get Smart” TV show theme. In a farewell post, Tommy said that aside from teaching him the fundamentals of creating music, “he taught me about kindness, giving, listening, how to love people as they are.” 

New Zealand 

Live Nation Plans To Build Auckland Arena

Live Nation New Zealand is looking at the possibility of being part of a consortium building a new 65,000-capacity entertainment and sports stadium in downtown Auckland. It would cost up to NZ$1.5 billion ($1 billion) and be completed by 2025.

Spark Arena Interior
– Spark Arena Interior

LN already operates the 12,000-capacity Spark Arena in the city, and its chairman, Stuart Clumpas, told the New Zealand Herald that while a location is yet to be finalised, he favoured land next to Spark Arena to create an entertainment precinct and was close to public transport.

Clumpas has also indicated that Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines, the country’s largest music festival whose attendance has reached 25,000, could be expanded to other locations. LN recently bought into the festival, which still retains in its management ranks co-founder Hamish Pinkham and CEO Kieran Spillane.

LN already stages Auckland City Limits in partnership with TX-based C3 Presents.