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Etihad Stadium gets a facelift

05 May 2017

Etihad Stadium gets a facelift Image

By Sunny Liu

Ever since the Australian Football League (AFL) took ownership of Etihad Stadium last October, changes have been taking place at this 17-year-old stadium.

The AFL last month commissioned Docklands-based street artist group Blender Studios to create a 30-metre long and eight-metre high mural on the stadium’s external wall near the corner of LaTrobe St and Wurundjeri Way.

The mural features Socceroos player Archie Thompson, St Kilda player Nick Riewoldt and rock band AC/DC’s guitarist Angus Young. Four artists completed the large-scale mural in six days.

Blender Studios founder Adrian Doyle said the artwork could give the stadium a facelift, which had been troubled by illegal graffiti.

“This mural is very relevant to sports and the stadium. They are very happy with the work and I’m in talks with Etihad Stadium to do more stuff,” he said.

Mr Doyle also said more artwork could not only improve the external look of Etihad Stadium, but also add to Docklands’ culture.

“Docklands is this interesting place that has a lot of culture that slowly reveals itself,” he said. “Docklands has really got on board. People realise that we are here and they are starting to give us walls. Let’s keep it in the Docklands and let’s make this place great.”

Apart from the new mural on the external wall, Etihad Stadium is undergoing a gradual transition to give the visitors a better experience, with a variety of food trucks, improved lighting inside the stadium and more benches.

AFL spokesperson Patrick Keane said the AFL was dedicated to create a stadium for the future.

“A lot of changes are happening at Etihad Stadium since the AFL took over. Our primary focus is to create a home-game feel for the viewers,” he said.

“For the past few months we have been working on the internal and external look of the stadium. We have commissioned some artwork on the external wall. We are brightening up the colour inside the stadium. We have also brought in some food trucks and diversified the food we are offering.”

“Our primary goal is just to improve the viewer experience and make sure they enjoy their visit. We want the audience to feel that Etihad Stadium is their home venue,” Mr Keane said.

As revealed in the media last year, the AFL has proposed a $300 million revamp for Etihad Stadium in a bid to compete against a potential new stadium in Richmond.

The plan submitted to the State Government included a waterfront entertainment zone facing Harbour Esplanade and upgrade to the facade and stands.

However, an AFL spokesperson said there were no structural changes happening at the stadium at the moment.

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