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Stadium Australia – Our History

IT’S 20 years this September since Stadium Australia hosted the 2000 Sydney Olympic & Paralympic Games, described by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch as the “best ever” Games. The Stadium has been the home of major events in NSW ever since. Read about the venue’s storied history here:

Purpose-built as the main Stadium and centrepiece for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Stadium Australia was the jewel in a major urban renewal project unveiled in what is now known as Sydney Olympic Park.

Today, Stadium Australia stands as an icon of the new millennium and an enduring symbol of Sydney’s coming of age as a global city.  The 2000 Olympic Games were transformational for Sydney, and Stadium Australia is the primary bearer of the legacy. Sydney will celebrate 20 years since the Games this September.

As a grand stage for Sydney’s major sports and entertainment calendar, the Stadium has attracted world and Australian record attendances for rugby league, rugby union, AFL, football and entertainment events since opening on 6 March 1999.

Unforgettable moments staged at the Stadium have become part of Australia’s sport and entertainment folklore – Cathy Freeman’s dash that unified the nation, the John Aloisi penalty shootout heart-stopper that broke the Socceroos’ 32-year World Cup hoodoo, the exhilaration and despair of the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, the Rabbitohs winning their first NRL title in 43 years, and so many legends created in the heat of battle in Grand Finals, Origin showdowns, Bledisloe Cup Test matches and football blockbusters.

International sporting superstars such as David Beckham, Alessandro Del Piero, Ryan Giggs and Jonny Wilkinson have graced the hallowed turf at major events, including the Rugby World Cup, British and Irish Lions Test, and visits by Football super clubs Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Liverpool and Juventus.  
Stadium Australia has also been Sydney’s first-choice venue for some of the world’s biggest entertainment acts such as AC/DC, Adele, The Rolling Stones, U2, Justin Bieber, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Taylor Swift, Queen & Adam Lambert, and Eminem.

Stadium Australia has become part of the social fabric of NSW and plays a significant role in the community

In February 2020, a Fire Fight Australia concert ran for 10 hours, featured 23 acts, attracted 75,000 fans at the Stadium and a TV audience of millions as $10.7 million was raised for the national bushfire appeals.

During the COVID public health crisis of 2020, the VenuesLive Catering team utilised the Stadium’s large commercial kitchens to produce tens of thousands of meals for isolated international travellers at Sydney hotels.

The success of Stadium Australia in its 21 years of operation has helped Sydney emphatically establish its status as a major event city. The Stadium brings people together, creating social inclusion and a sense of connection throughout Greater Sydney.

The general public has enjoyed great event experiences in a world-class venue while the State of NSW, sporting codes and clubs, and promoters, have reaped significant commercial dividends.

Originally built to host more than 110,000 spectators, a reconfiguration of the Stadium in 2003 reduced capacity to 83,500 but also gave the Stadium the ability to host six professional sporting codes over the past 21 years – Rugby League, Rugby Union, Football, AFL, American Football and Cricket.

Stadium Australia has welcomed almost 29 million spectators through the turnstiles to share in the passion, excitement and drama of some of Australia’s greatest events and most iconic sporting moments.

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