Just imagine your ultimate wishlist for the perfect sporting stadium experience. Plus-sized mega screens? Tick. Unrivaled player access? Tick. How about behind-the-scenes experiences, views from every zone so you never have to take you eye off the ball, and really good seats? There, you’re starting to get a picture of the brand new Optus Stadium.
On arrival at the glassy, bronze-hued sporting arena, you can feel its buzz. Fitting up to 60,000 avid fans, the roof glows like a halo by sundown, illuminated by 15,000 lights in what is the world’s largest LED sports lighting installation. When a switch flicks and your team colours flash overhead, you might just lose your cool. Add in the roar of the crowd and the collective sense of anticipation shared by all present, and we’re betting there’s nowhere you’d rather be.
As the new home of the Australian Football League in WA, Optus Stadium has been designed to surpass sky-high expectations. Its two video screens are the largest in the southern hemisphere, measuring a whopping 340sqm, and there are 1000 smaller ones dotted around so no one misses a minute of play. The arena’s extra-wide seats means you’ll be comfortable all match, and the bowl design of the layout means the games seem closer, the live action more immediate. Leveraging the latest technologies and construction techniques allows this stadium to be sharper than any other in Australia.
But perhaps most exhilarating of all, is that fans can now get extraordinary insights into the workings of the games via behind-the-scenes access. With premium tickets to The Locker Room, you can watch your favourite players warm up and go through their pre-game rituals. After the match, you can return to see the cameras roll and journalists dissect play during the post-game media conference. Meanwhile, entry to The Coaches Room means you’ll be as close as physically possible to the coaches’ boxes. Sound can be projected out, allowing you to listen in to high-pressure conversations and gain a real sense of the rising tension felt by those at the top. You’ll feel like one of the inner circle. Then there’s the Sky View Lounge, which puts you right underneath one of the giant screens, granting mountaintop-style views of the oval and its rings of passionate supporters. A broad terrace with astonishing outlooks over the tranquil Swan River and the city skyline fans out on the same level.
You’ll want to arrive hungry. Within the stadium’s curated precinct, a huge buffet restaurant caters to those who want to refuel quickly, while an a la carte dining room dials the culinary experience up a notch (it’s a great spot for a post-match dinner-debrief). In all, there are some 70 food and beverage outlets – more than at any other stadia in Australia – meaning every whim and dietary requirement is catered to. Most have views, so you won’t have to sacrifice your spectating.
On the practical front, ducking out for a brief pit stop has also been streamlined, with no seat more than 40 metres away from a rest room. There are loads of toilets too: 781 for women, and 748 catering to men.
Getting to Optus Stadium is a cinch. It is only about 10mins drive from the airport, and the same again to the centre of the city, where bars, restaurants and cafes perch on every corner. For those who prefer to walk, there’s a new pedestrian bridge stretching across the Swan River, linking the eastern end of the CBD with the stadium precinct. Otherwise, the train line runs right alongside, with multiple stops just a few hundred metres from the arena’s entry points. There are also 22 bus stands, and 600 bike racks for supporters cycling in. The integrated design means that some 83 per cent of a capacity crowd can be transported out within an hour of a game finishing. So you can watch right until the end with no fear of being stuck in a bottleneck.
Then again, you might want an excuse to linger. Within the wider Stadium Park, there’s a microbrewery, an amphitheatre showing outdoor movies and hosting performances, nature play parks for kids, barbeque areas, picnic spots, Wi-Fi coverage and a community oval. A 200 metres boardwalk and various cycle tracks link the attractions, most of which are also open on non-game days. The parkland is inspired by the six seasons of the Indigenous calendar, and interpretive signage tells the stories of important cultural links to the stadium site.
It all comes together to make Optus Stadium more of a destination than an event space – one you might just be tempted to spend the entire day at (and hey, we wouldn’t blame you).
Thanks to Toursim WA for giving us the run down!