The State Government has confirmed Optus as the naming rights sponsor for the new Perth Stadium.
On the back of Fremantle and West Coast finally announcing their 2018 membership packages for home games at WA’s new home of football, Optus signed a 10-year deal to provide telecommunications and internet services across the stadium, as revealed by WAtoday last Friday.
While Optus will be the stadium’s naming rights sponsor for the next 10 years, Bankwest was on Sunday named the stadium’s official banking partner.
The 10-year Optus deal is expected to put $50 million back into state government coffers as WA households continue to bear the burden of a Budget repair on the back of the Barnett government blowing it out.
The deal with Optus – which will include 4G service at the ground and a unique app for fans there – comes as the telecommunications giant looks to expand and improve its network coverage across WA.
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said he wasn’t concerned about losing the marketing benefits of keeping Perth in the stadium’s name.
He said the ‘Perth Stadium’ name would be used by broadcasters of international cricket fixtures at the venue.
“The only regular international games that will be held at the stadium will be cricket, and international cricket matches,” he said.
“For the purposes of those games, it will be called Perth Stadium because Cricket have their own obligations that prevent stadium names, competitor names, being used.”
Broadcasters of other showcase events at the stadium such as the Bledisloe Cup rugby union and State of Origin rugby league would still promote Perth and WA, as would official merchandise available at these events.
Stadium CEO Mike McKenna said he was delighted to have secured Optus for the next 10 years.
“As a technologically-focused venue, Optus is the perfect partner,” he said.
Membership packages for the two AFL clubs and the naming rights sponsorship come on the back of Gage Roads being announced as the venue’s official beer provider and Mrs Macs its pie and sausage roll maker.
WAtoday was given a last-minute tour of the 60,000-seat venue late last month to see what AFL footy would look like for fans next season.
We were told there wouldn’t be a bad seat in the house… and the stadium has come good on its promise.
Under the new 10-year deal agreed to by the AFL, state government and WAFC, the latter will receive $10.3 million annually from stadium income to support grassroots football.
Construction at Perth Stadium is 97 per cent complete, with work currently happening on the stadium turf.
Seating allocated to Fremantle Dockers members for the 2018 season got ticked off on Monday, with members trying their luck swapping seats with others online.
Inside the stadium
There’s no doubt the new Optus Stadium is world-class in every aspect, but the biggest different fans will first notice when they take their seats next season is the stadium’s seating bowl, which brings them closer to the action and gives exceptional bird-eye views of how play is unfolding on the field.
From the very highest tiers, like level five, it feels like you’re sitting right on top of the ground, rather than away from it like at Subiaco Oval, with the atmosphere enhanced by the lower levels below being almost non-existent to the naked eye when seated this high.
Anyone who’s watched footy at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne will be familiar with this feeling, given the generous views from almost every seat at that venue, particularly high up.
In Perth, there are stairs, escalators and lifts to take footy fans of all ages to the higher tiers, where fans up there won’t miss the two massive, 340sqm TV screens at either end of the ground, some of the biggest in (let’s hope more replays of highlights are shown than what we saw at Subi).
Walking through the wide concourse behind the sectioned seating is like a postcard of our city, with fans treated to generous views of the CBD skyline and Swan River, after parts of the exterior panels were purposely left off the shell of the stadium.
Nearby is the premium Skyview Lounge, which shares a long balcony with a public area for members and fans who may require a breather from the action (or a phone call to a rival supporter).
While higher-priced member seats for Eagles (click here) and Dockers fans (click here) provide the best overall view and are positioned in the middle of the ground on the wing, there is exceptional value for those considering cheaper seats, particularly in the higher tiers in rows closer to the front.
For example, Fremantle fans interested in $599 memberships can choose from a variety of sections close to the wing and forward pockets on level five that seem to be the best value for money, the only downside the steep stairs for rows towards the back.
But it’s behind the scenes that the stadium scores the most points, with a concourse three times the width of Subiaco Oval giving fans plenty of room to wander and roam while gourging on the plethora of TVs and food and drink outlets close by.
There are also plenty of toilets just short relief away from each section, standing areas undercover with great views of the ground (like the MCG) and external resting areas if you need a breather from the thrills and spills.
Fremantle and West Coast memberships
Dockers memberships will be the cheapest in the AFL and $140 less than rivals West Coast.
Season memberships at Fremantle start from $249 for adults – $100 cheaper than 2017 memberships at Subiaco Oval, while at West Coast the cheapest are $390.
West Coast has also begun transitioning its 40,000 members to the new stadium, contacting members recently about the process.
Both WA clubs have had telephone lines open since Monday for membership queries, but WAtoday understands there has been long waits for Fremantle members at least getting through.
The stadium bowl will bring the atmosphere at Perth Stadium games to another level. Pic credit: Hassel Cox HKS.
Around 50,000 seats will be allocated to Fremantle and West Coast members, with 6,000 reserved for general admission, 1000 for tourism packages and 1400 for stadium memberships, which will cost around $6000 and allow a ticket holder to attend any event at the stadium throughout the year.
Fans will have 13 seating options including general admission and premium products such as the Victory Lounge and club lounges and terraces.
The ground itself has an east-west orientation like Subiaco Oval and the MCG, with the field-of-play dimensions aligned with the latter.
The atmosphere at respective home games will light up the eyes of fans, literally, with state-of-the-art LED in club colours illuminated through the roof. It should make the home-ground advantage both WA clubs enjoy even greater than what they experienced at Subi.
On the northern side of the stadium, either side of The Locker Room, fans can watch their team warm up and run onto the ground, with West Coast’s dedicated changing room on the north-east side and Fremantle’s on the north-west.
Coaches aren’t forgotten either, with access to a 60-person briefing room as well as the 30-person coaches’ box, medical rooms and recovery facilities that include hot and cold spas on level three,.
FAN-FIRST FEATURES: ??? 4G coverage across the stadium ??? 2 x 340sqm super screens at either end ??? 1000 other TV screens strategically placed throughout the stadium ??? 85% of seats are covered by the lightweight fabric roof ??? 70 food and beverage outlets, 50 of which have views of the ground ??? 50cm-wide seats that all include cup holders ??? 12 lifts, elevators, 3 adult change rooms, parents/baby room, bigger cubicles ??? 360-degree access at all GA levels ??? 60 universal toilets ??? 748 male bathrooms, 781 female bathrooms ??? 600 bike racks ??? 450 wheelchair positions and 327 seats for fans with other mobility requirements ??? 10,000 additional seats can be used if needed
A restaurant overlooking the Swan River will also be open pre and post???game and on non-event days.
The restaurant overlooking the city and Swan River at Perth Stadium. Pic credit: Hassel.
Facilities outside the stadium have been designed also with the fan forefront of mind, with a covered community arbour representing Noongar stories linking the six-platform Stadium Station to the Swan River.
The grounds west of the stadium house a boardwalk and amphitheatre, parkland, children’s playgrounds, BBQ and picnic areas while an oval on the north is available for public use on non-event days.
A network of walking and cycle tracks will come in handy on game day and beyond, while the transport strategy promises safe and efficient movement of 83 per cent of a capacity crowd within 30 minutes of a game finishing.
An overview of the parks and facilities surrounding Perth Stadium. Pic credit: Hassel.
Access to CBD car parks and areas not serviced by rail will be handled by special buses, while punters can wet the whistle on their way to the game (or during if things are going that bad) at a massive microbrewery just outside the main entrance.
Perth Stadium will officially open with a free Community Open Day on Sunday January 21. Fremantle play Collingwood in round 2 of the AFLW on Saturday February 10. These events will be followed by a series of additional world-class entertainment and sporting events before the 2018 AFL season begins.