Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust
|Fourth|| Former names:
Vodafone Arena (until 2008), Melbourne Multi-Purpose Venue
Construction of the arena, which has a maximum capacity of 11,000 people, commenced in the late 1990s, and was completed in 2000. It was originally called the Multi-Purpose Venue, until the naming rights were sold to Vodafone. 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 South Dragons NBL team had made the Venue its home court. Formerly, the Victoria Titans and Melbourne Tigers used it as their home, until high rental prices forced the teams to find other venues. Until this recent move the venue was largely empty outside of the two weeks of the Australian Open tennis tournament. The Dragons withdrew from the competition after winning the championship in 2009, leaving the arena and the NBL. For the 2012-13 NBL season, the Tigers will return to the venue, playing 7 of their 13 home games at the arena.
It has been used for netball since 1997 for Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne Kestrels games in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy. The Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne Kestrels played their last home game there before aligning to become the Melbourne Vixens. The Melbourne Vixens now use it for home games in the ANZ Championship.
The largest netball attendance at the arena was set on 20 November 2004 when 10,300 saw Australia defeat New Zealand 53-51. The largest basketball crowd was set on 18 October 2008 when 9,308 fans attended a local derby NBL game to see the Dragons defeat the Tigers 108-80.
Every year, the Multi Purpose Venue hosts many matches as part of the Australian Open tennis tournament. It is generally used only during the day, in the first week and a half of the tournament. However in 2012 the venue saw night matches in the first week of the tournament as well, running parallel to matches played on Centre Court. The first Australian Open match to be played in the Multi Purpose Venue, on 15 January 2001, lasted less than ten minutes, 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.
During the Commonwealth Games the stadium was used for basketball and other sports, its name changed to "Multi-Purpose Venue", with all Vodafone-related signs covered over with black shrouds because Telstra, a competitor of Vodafone, was a major sponsor of the Games.