To most kids in Melbourne, AFL stars are already their superheroes, but this will have added meaning when Etihad Stadium is re-branded in September.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on May 24, 2018

Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, formerly known as the Telstra Dome and Colonial Stadium, is set for another re-brand.

The Walt Disney Company has agreed on an eight-year deal with Melbourne Stadiums Limited (MSL), and will rename the Docklands-located ground — Marvel Stadium — from 1 September.

That’s right the famous sporting patch will not only be home to AFL teams Carlton, Essendon, North Melbourne, St Kilda and Western Bulldogs, A-League club Melbourne Victory, and Big Bash franchise Melbourne Renegades; it will also be a base for the likes of Spiderman, Deadpool, Captain America and Iron Man.

A Marvel retail store and other “activations” will be implanted at the site as part of the agreement.

“Marvel is a powerhouse in the entertainment industry and one of the most recognised brand names in the world. It is a brand dedicated to audience experiences, which firmly aligns with our vision to create incredible experiences for fans,” Melbourne Stadiums Limited CEO Michael Green said on Thursday.

“Over 18 years, we have become the world’s busiest multi-purpose stadium. Now, we look forward to a new era of entertainment for the stadium where we will push the envelope and continue to deliver world-class events and fan engagement.

“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.”

Etihad Airways bought the stadium naming rights in 2009, and the deal expires in August this year.

It is understood Etihad was originally paying between A$5-8 million per year for the rights to the stadium before extending for a further five years.

It is unclear what figure Walt Disney Co and MSL have settled on.

“Over 40 million patrons have passed through the venue’s turnstiles since opening, 25 million under the Etihad name, and we thank Etihad Airways for helping the stadium become an iconic venue for Melbourne fans to enjoy world-class entertainment,” Green added.