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New kid on the Dock

30 Aug 2018

New kid on the Dock Image

By David Schout

In a nod to its new owners, local resident and Thor impersonator Andrew Lutomski ushered in a new era for the Docklands Stadium.

If earlier statements prove to be true, from September 1, Etihad Stadium will be known as Marvel Stadium after the Disney-owned studio – which has produced movie franchises such as X-Men, Spider-Man and the hammer-wielding Thor – signed an eight-year naming rights deal in May.

Mr Lutomski even made an early pitch for his services as the superhero: “Marvel; hello, you’ve got my number,” he said, grinning.

Since 2009, the sports and entertainment stadium has been named after UAE-based airline Etihad, after the naming rights changed from Telstra Dome and before that, Colonial Stadium.

The new deal includes a complete rebranding and renaming of the stadium, as well as a Marvel retail store.

Match days and events at the stadium are also likely to include activities with the studio’s many superheroes.

Melbourne Stadiums Limited CEO Michael Green said at the time of the announcement that the match day experience, something the AFL is looking to improve in coming seasons, will change.

“This partnership will allow us to take the stadium atmosphere to the next level and create memorable experiences for a vast array of audiences and we look forward to delivering a truly game-changing experience,” he said.

The name shift from Etihad to Marvel is also a considerable signage exercise, with several thousand in-stadium, public transport and Melbourne City Council signs due to switch to the new branding.

Mr Lutomski, who is regularly employed as a Thor and (actor) Chris Hemsworth lookalike, said his first-hand experience of Marvel’s popularity meant he thought the change was exciting.

“I think the name change is nothing but a good thing,” he said.

“It’s going to potentially bring a lot of tourism to Docklands and impact positively on the economy. So that can only be great for the local community.”

“I’m excited because I hope to get a few jobs at Marvel Stadium as Thor. So fingers crossed.”

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