Arena during the 2016 Australian Open
|Former names||Melbourne Multi Purpose Venue (planning/construction) (2006)|
Vodafone Arena (2000-08)
Hisense Arena (2008-18)
|Address||2 Olympic Blvd|
Melbourne VIC 3000
|Owner||Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust|
|Opened||27 July 2000|
|Construction cost||A$65 million|
|General contractor||Theiss Construction|
Melbourne United (NBL) (2000-02, 2012-present)
South East Melbourne Phoenix (NBL) (2019-present)
South Dragons (NBL) (2006-09)
Victoria Giants (NBL) (2000-04)
Melbourne Vixens (ANZ/NNL) (2008-present)
Collingwood Magpies (NNL) (2017-present)
Australian Open (Tennis) (2001-present)
2004 UCI Track Cycling World Championships
2006 Commonwealth Games
2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships
During construction of the arena and throughout the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the arena was originally referred to as the Melbourne Park Multi-Purpose Venue. When it opened in 2000, a sponsor was immediately assigned naming rights and it became known as the Vodafone Arena. This arrangement lasted for eight years. On 12 May 2008, it was announced that its name would change to Hisense Arena in a multimillion-dollar six-year deal. In 2014 this was extended for a further three years. Despite the contract ending at the conclusion of 2017, the multinational Hisense retained naming rights for several more months.
Then in August 2018, Tennis Australia announced it had bought the naming rights and had elected to call the venue Melbourne Arena, saying it preferred a non-commercial title "iconic with the city". The non-corporate name is in effect for five years, though the State Government and Tennis Australia have not ruled out extending the arena's name beyond that period.
Construction of Melbourne Arena commenced in the late 1990s, and was completed in 2000. The arena features a cycling track, which is covered over with seating for court events. The tennis court is a Plexicushion surface and the roof is retractable, making it one of the few venues where tennis can be played during rain.
The venue is able to hold a maximum spectator capacity of 11,000 for events such as music concerts where general floor seating or standing room is available. For basketball, netball and tennis the capacity is 10,500. When the velodrome is in use the northern and southern banks of seats, which cover the turns of the velodrome, are raised to reveal the track while the floor seating is removed leaving a reduced capacity of 4,500.
The arena has been used for netball for Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne Kestrels games in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy. Melbourne Phoenix and the Melbourne Kestrels played their last home game there before merging to become the Melbourne Vixens who used it for home games in the ANZ Championship until 2016. Since 2017 the Vixens and new team the Magpies use the arena in the National Netball League.
Following the renovation of the Margaret Court Arena as part of a A$363 million upgrade to Melbourne Park in time for the 2015 Australian Open, which included a retractable roof and an increase in capacity from 6,000 to 7,500, both Melbourne United (formerly the Melbourne Tigers) and the Melbourne Vixens announced their intentions to move from the arena to the smaller capacity Margaret Court Arena from 2015. However, Melbourne United abandoned their move to MCA after the 2015-16 NBL season and continue to play the majority of their games at Melbourne Arena (United play some games at the State Netball and Hockey Centre when the Australian Open takes place each January), while the Vixens will continue to split their games between Melbourne and Margaret Court Arenas with Melbourne used for games expected to attract a larger crowd.
Every year, the venue hosts many matches as part of the Australian Open tennis tournament. It has usually only been used for day matches in the 10 days of the tournament. In 2012, however, the venue began having night matches in the first week of the tournament as well, running parallel to matches played on the centre court at Rod Laver Arena. The first Australian Open match to be played in the venue, on 15 January 2001, lasted less than ten minutes with Monica Seles advancing through the first round when Brie Rippner was injured in the second game of the match. The first match completed on the court was Tim Henman's first round win over Hicham Arazi.
Melbourne Arena is the main home court of National Basketball League (NBL) teams Melbourne United and South East Melbourne Phoenix. Formerly, the Victoria Titans and South Dragons used it as their home, until high rental prices forced the teams to find other venues. Until this move the venue was largely devoid of sporting events outside of the two weeks of the Australian Open tennis tournament held each January. The Dragons, founded in 2006 until they withdrew from the competition after winning the championship in 2009, played three seasons at the arena. For the 2012-13 NBL season, the Tigers (now renamed Melbourne United) returned to the venue, played 7 of their 13 home games at the arena. They have since shifted all home matches to the venue. The Phoenix, who will debut in the 2019-20 NBL season, will also play all home matches at Melbourne Arena.
The largest basketball crowd was on 4 December 2016 during the 2016-17 NBL season when 10,300 fans saw Melbourne United defeat the New Zealand Breakers 98-74. This broke the previous basketball attendance record of 9,308 set in 2008 in a local derby game between the South Dragons and Melbourne Tigers.
Netball is played regularly at the venue. It is the home court of the Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies in the Suncorp Super Netball competition. The Australian Diamonds sometime play home international fixtures at the venue. The venue also hosted the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Fast5 Netball World Series.
During the 2006 Commonwealth Games the stadium was used for basketball and other sports. Its name was changed to Multi-Purpose Venue with all Vodafone-related signage covered over with black shrouds because Telstra, a competitor of Vodafone, was a major sponsor of the games.
The arena hosts several musical and entertainment events each year, in concert with other venues in the precinct. On 26 February 26 2007, Irish boy band Westlife held a concert for The Love Tour supporting their LP The Love Album. On 18 September 2018, Taiwanese vocal pop band Mayday held a concert for Life Tour supporting their album History of Tomorrow. From 2011 to 2013 the venue hosted the Melbourne judges' audition stages of the Seven Network singer search program The X Factor.