Melbourne, like the rest of Australia, loves sport. With its history of being the birthplace of Australian Rules Football, the recent host of the Commonwealth Games, home to the “Race that stops the Nation” (Melbourne Cup), and the annual venue of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament, many consider Melbourne to be the nation’s sporting capital.
Popular Sports and Local Teams
|SPORT||LEAGUE||LOCAL TEAM||HOME VENUE|
||A League, Football Federation Australia||Melbourne Victory||Etihad Stadium (Changing to AAMI Stadium in 2011)|
|Australian Rules Football||Australian Football League||Too many to list. As Melbourne is the birthplace of this sport, most teams hail from specific suburbs around the inner city.||Melbourne Cricket Ground, Etihad Stadium|
|Rugby||National Rugby League||Melbourne Storm||AAMI Stadium|
|Cricket||Many clubs / leagues||Melbourne Cricket Club||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Basketball||National Basketball League||Melbourne Tigers||State hockey and Netball Centre|
Major Non-Team Sporting Events
|EVENT||VENUE||SEASON / DATE|
|Formula 1 Melbourne Grand Prix||Albert Park Race Course||March-April 2011|
|Melbourne Cup||Flemington Race Course||Early November 2010|
|Australian Open Tennis Tournament||Melbourne Olympic Park / Rod Laver Arena||Late January 2011|
Major Sporting Venues
Albert Road, Albert Park
03 9695 9000
Located just outside the Central Business District, Albert Park is an idyllic and peaceful recreational hub. Home to Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, and an important sanctuary for wildlife and native vegetation, this park is a great place to walk, cycle, jog, row, sail, dine or just relax around the lake and enjoy the city’s magnificent skyline. Unless it’s racing season, that is, in which case the park is transformed into a track for the Australian Grand Prix (F1), with thousands of fans, and revving engines and squealing tires that can be heard across the whole city.
Epsom Road, Flemington
1300 727 575
Flemington Racecourse is one of the most beautiful racetracks in the world. It is the setting for Australia’s most famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup. Each year’s Spring Racing Carnival, which culminates in the Melbourne Cup Race, brings Australians of all lifestyles together to drink and bet and make merry in their finest dress.
Melbourne and Olympic Parks
Batman Avenue, Melbourne
03 9286 1600
Premier sports and entertainment precinct encompasses world class venues including Rod Laver Arena, Vodafone Arena, Olympic Park, Lexus Centre, and the recently opened AAMI Park rectangular pitch stadium soon underway. These facilities are used primarily for the Australian Open Tennis Tournament every year, but the addition of the new stadium is sure to bring more international Soccer and Rugby matches to this precinct.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
Brunton Avenue, Melbourne
03 9657 8888
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the most historical and famous sporting stadiums in the world. The birthplace of Australian Football, and a historic cricket pitch, this venue has hosted the annual Australian Rules Football Grand Final Match (which always fills to capacity) for the last 150 years. It has also hosted some of Australia’s largest sporting events over the years including the 1956 Olympics, and 2006 Commonwealth Games. To many Melbournians, this stadium is considered hallowed ground.
Bourke St W, Docklands
03 8625 7700
Etihad Stadium in Docklands hosts AFL games and is the home stadium of Melbourne Victory soccer team. It is among the most technologically advanced sports and entertainment venues in the world, with a massive retractable roof and close-to-the-action seats.
Where you buy your tickets will not depend on the venue, but on the event. As many venues are used for multiple sports, and entertainment events, tickets are sold through specific retailers by leagues or promoters (although due to league rules, AFL tickets will always be available from the venue itself on the day of a match). Tickets to almost every major event, sporting or otherwise, are sold by the two main ticketing mega-companies below. Both have several outlets around the city (locations depending on sports season), and allow you to book over the phone or online.