Melburnians are known around the world for their love of sports, and every year millions of sports fans from around the world flock to the city to experience a live sporting occasion in the purpose-built, accessible and atmospheric venues that dot the city.
The famous MCG
The coliseum that is the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of Melbourne's most recognisable sights. The home of Aussie cricket and the Australian Football League and the site of the 1956 Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the MCG has a seating capacity of 100,000. The unified roar of a capacity crowd when a prized wicket is taken or a miraculous goal is kicked leaves a lasting impression. The MCG is a short walk from Flinders Street Station or Federation Square, and is accessible by train and tram.
A stone's throw from the MCG and comprising the Melbourne Sports Precinct is Melbourne Park, made up of Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena. The cutting-edge facilities at Rod Laver Arena, including a world-first retractable roof and the Rebound Ace courts, are home to the annual Australian Open tennis grand slam. Hisense Arena is a multi-purpose venue housing the Melbourne Tigers basketball team and the Melbourne Vixens netballers and regular big games for the Aussie Diamonds international netball team. In addition, Hisense Arena is the venue for major cycling events in Melbourne. Melbourne Park is also a short walk from Flinders Street Station or Federation Square over a series of footbridges, and is accessible by train and tram.
The distinctive AAMI Park stadium is adjacent to Melbourne Park and is the city's dedicated venue for soccer and rugby (league and union). Since its opening in 2010 the stadium quickly became an icon thanks to its bubble 'bioframe' design and geodesic-dome roof. The unique design ensures spectators enjoy unobstructed views as they watch the Melbourne Storm rugby league stars, the Melbourne Rebels rugby union team, and Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart in the A-League domestic football (soccer) competition. The Socceroos are also known to grace the turf of AAMI Park.
Melbourne's love for football surpasses just one venue, so a covered stadium with a smaller capacity in Docklands also hosts AFL matches during the winter months. Etihad Stadium also hosts cricket games, domestic and international soccer matches.
Another venue that's almost as famous as the events held within is Flemington Racecourse, home of the Melbourne Cup horse race. The historic grandstands and renowned rose gardens have hosted the most revered horses in racing history, and continue to attract hundreds of thousands of racegoers to the annual Spring Racing Carnival and the Christmas and New Year's races. Flemington is located six kilometres northwest of the CBD and trains run frequently to the Flemington Racecourse station on race days.
Other horse racing events are held throughout the year at Moonee Valley and Caulfield racecourses, while greyhounds compete at Sandown.
Sports with wheels, skates, and bats
Fans of sports with wheels can catch road racing, drag racing and speedway at Calder Park, Avalon Raceway and Sandown International Motor Raceway.
Less mainstream sports are also catered for at designated venues in Melbourne, like the domestic ice hockey competition at Icehouse at Docklands, and baseball and roller derby at the Melbourne Showgrounds.