ANZ Stadium, originally known as Stadium Australia, was the centrepiece of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. No other outdoor stadium used for the Olympics had been bigger than the stadium at the time of the games. Four Boeing 747s would fit side-by-side under the span of the main arches of the grandstands. The original capacity was 110,000, however post-games renovations has reduced this to 83,500.
Specially designed for the unique Australian environment, the stadium is one of the few in the world which effectively shades and protects most spectators, without the need for a claustrophobic and grass-killing fully enclosed dome. Suspended from a huge arch structure and three hectares in area, the roof is constructed from translucent polycarbonate to minimise the shadows and patches of direct sunlight on the playing area, creating ideal conditions for TV presentations and spectators.
The Olympic Stadium’s design includes state-of-the-art environmental features that make it a showcase of ecological responsibility. Its energy management strategy reduces the use of conventional electric power through measures such as natural lighting, two gas-fired co-generation engines, and energy-efficient lighting. All materials have been selected for their contribution to minimising pollution, conserving resources, and their durability. Significant waste management and water-saving measures are also in place.
ANZ Stadium has hosted many major sporting events since it opened in 1999. These include major football matches including the Socceroos vs. Brazil and Manchester United, A-League All Stars vs. Manchester United, major Rugby Union matches including the Wallabies vs. British & Irish Lions and the Bledisloe Cup vs. New Zealand, Rugby League fixtures including NRL double headers and Grand Finals, the first of which drew a record league crowd of 110,000, state or origin and international matches, as well as an American NFL pre-season game between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos. It also plays host to Australian Football with the Sydney Swans playing a few games at the venue each year and Cricket with some Australian matches as well as the Sydney Thunder in the Twenty20.