Famous Australian Sports Stadium Guide – As Roosters vs Rabbitohs Prepares To Open New Allianz Stadium

Sydney might be the most populated city in Australia, but for a long time it has lacked an entertainment venue able to match those in multiple other states around the country. The SCG, of course, is an historic venue while Stadium Australia is big – albeit typically regarded as a little soulless – but these grounds aren’t generally viewed in the same league as the likes of the MCG, and more recently Domain Stadium. The opening of a new stadium in the city, however, may change that.

Allianz Stadium

Three years after the Sydney Football Stadium was knocked down 31 years after it originally opened, the highly anticipated Allianz Stadium is just about ready to open for business. The facility cost $830 million to build, and is set to be the jewel in Sydney’s sport and entertainment crown.

 The stadium will be able to squeeze 42,500 spectators into it; less than many other big stadiums across the country but still more than enough to host plenty of major events. And that’s exactly what it will do. The stadium will play host to its first sporting event on Friday the 2nd of September when the Roosters play host to the Rabbitohs, a game of massive significance in the NRL between two of the league’s oldest rivals, both of whom are heading towards the finals series riding huge waves of momentum. 

That will be preceded by a curtain-raiser between the Roosters and Dragons in the NRLW, while in the days following the stadium will be a hive of activity. The Saturday after those NRL matchups, international rugby union will take centre stage when the Wallabies face South Africa, while over the next week the Matildas will take on Canada before Sydney FC takes on the Melbourne Victory, all at the new venue.  

Evidently, sport will be a major part of Allianz Stadium’s hosting activities, with rugby and soccer the main codes to be played there. It will be the home ground for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL, the NSW Waratahs in Super Rugby and Sydney FC in the A-League, while various other teams will play there when needed, including major international teams like the Socceroos, Matildas, Wallabies and Kangaroos. 

 Sport, however, is not the only thing to which the stadium will play host. It will officially open on Friday the 26thof August when Guy Sebastian headlines a day of various community events, and as big a local act as he is, there are substantially bigger international names to come. On October 14 and 15, Bruno Mars will perform two concerts in as many nights in the first of what will no doubt be many major international acts to take place at the stadium.

The venue will seek to provide fans with an experience to rival the best arenas in the country, with a multitude of suites, private function rooms and boxes, while 64 food and beverage outlets will include a wide range of different food options for punters, from fan favourites like pies and hot dogs through to substantially more gourmet options.

 Australia is one of the most sports-mad countries in the world, and the sporting venues scattered across the nation are testament to this. The hope is that once it opens, Allianz Stadium will sit comfortably alongside the likes of the MCG and Optus Stadium, and be recognised as a world-class venue for both sport and other entertainment events. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what some of its counterparts across the country have to offer.


The MCG is the biggest stadium in the country and has, for a long time, been viewed as the best. It plays host to a multitude of AFL games throughout the year, is the home of the AFL Grand Final, and every year hosts the Boxing Day Test match. The list of memorable sporting events to have taken place here could fill a book, and the most attended matches here are among the most populated sporting events in the world. 

As of 2022, the official capacity of the stadium is listed just a tick over 100,000 – 100,024, to be exact. That number was virtually reached for the thrilling 2018 Grand Final between Collingwood and West Coast, when 100,022 fans made their way through the turnstiles, but there have been plenty of pre-renovation MCG hosted events, when regulations about how many people could squeeze inside were a little less strict – which well and truly exceeded that. The highest listed attendance in history at the ground came in the 1970 Grand Final – which was fought out between old rivals Carlton and Collingwood – when an incredible 121,696 watched on as the Blues won by ten points.

The “‘G”, as it’s affectionately known, has also hosted many major international sporting events since it was officially opened nearly 170 years ago. It hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1956 Olympic Games as well as various track and field events and more, while it also played a similar role in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. There have been major rugby union and rugby league games there, international soccer matches, and even cycling and tennis.

On top of that, many significant non-sporting events have taken place at the MCG. One of these was in 1959, when religious leader Billy Graham attracted an astonishing 143,000 people to the ground. On the music front, names like David Bowie, Paul McCartney, U2, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Elton John, Billy Joel, Guns n Roses and Eminem have played there, making this ground the pre-eminent location for the biggest music acts in the world when they come to Melbourne.

Clearly, this is a stadium worthy of a position among the best in the world, and it’s little surprise that it has long been viewed as the best arena in Australia. 


Optus Stadium

In recent years, a contender has emerged for the best ground in which to watch sport in Australia; Perth’s Optus Stadium. The stadium was officially opened in the early stages of 2018 following an extended construction which cost $820.7 million – incidentally a very similar figure to what was spent on Allianz Stadium. 

 The stadium’s hosting capacity for sports sits at 60,000, though this number can vary depending on what sort of event is being held there. Anything for which the staging area is rectangular – unlike the oval used for AFL games – has a capacity of 65,000, while for concerts 70,000 fans can squeeze in. 

 That capacity, however, has not yet been reached. The biggest individual attendance for a single-day event at the stadium occurred in 2019 when the Wallabies defeated the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup. For that game, 61,241 made it into the stadium – a little more than the official capacity for sporting events. The 2021 AFL Grand Final also exceeded that capacity, with 61,118 watching the Demons break their 58-year Premiership drought. 

 Optus Stadium is the home of the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers in the AFL, international cricket games have been played there, while the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League also play domestic T20 games at the ground. On top of that there have been rugby league games played there – notably the first ever State of Origin in Perth in 2019, and another State of Origin game in 2022 – while rugby union and soccer games have also been played.

 And, testament to the quality of the stadium, it also played host to the 2021 AFL Grand Final – an event typically reserved, of course, for the MCG. Courtesy of the varying COVID restrictions around the country, however, it had to be held outside of Victoria that year, and just a little over three years after it opened, Optus Stadium hosted perhaps the biggest sporting event in Australia.

 Like the MCG has – and like Allianz Stadium will – Optus Stadium has been the scene of many significant non-sporting events as well. Eminem, U2 and Guns n Roses, who have also played at the MCG, have played there, as have Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Queen and Adam Lambert, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone will join that list of names in 2023. 

 Though its capacity still pales in comparison to the MCG, the 60,000+ capacity of Optus Stadium makes it the second largest in Australia. It’s also been widely praised for the spectator experience, both in terms of the amenities on offer as well as the viewpoints of the ground from around the stadium.

Sport is as synonymous with the Australian lifestyle as in almost any other country in the world, and the best stadiums around the country are fittingly world-class. The MCG has long led this list, with its enormous capacity and the list of major events – both sporting and otherwise – major reasons why. In recent years, Optus Stadium has emerged as a contender for best stadium in Australia – something Melbournians would certainly take umbrage at this. Despite its status as Australia’s most populous city, however, Sydney has not had a stadium which can hold a candle to those two. With the opening of Allianz Stadium, however, that might just change.