|Location||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Operator||Parramatta Stadium Trust|
|Capacity||21,487 (Venue capacity)
20,741 (Seating capacity)
|Field size||140 x 80 metres|
|Architect||Civil & Civic|
|Parramatta Eels (NRL) (1986–present)
Sydney Wave (ABL) (1991–1992)
Sydney Storm (ABL) (1993–1996)
Sydney Tigers (ARL) (1995–1996)
Parramatta Power (NSL) (1999–2004)
Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League) (2012–present)
Greater Sydney Rams (NRC) (2014–present)
Parramatta Stadium (known as Pirtek Stadium for sponsorship purposes) is an Australian sports stadium situated in Parramatta, Sydney, New South Wales. The stadium is used as the home ground of National Rugby League (NRL) club the Parramatta Eels, A-League club, the Western Sydney Wanderers & National Rugby Championship (NRC) club, the Greater Sydney Rams.
It has also hosted numerous other sporting and cultural events since its opening in 1986. Michael Jackson performed at the stadium during his Bad World Tour on 20–21 November 1987, and Paul McCartney concluded the Australian leg of The New World Tour with two shows there on 22–23 March 1993.
The precinct the stadium was built on is historically known as Cumberland Oval. The stadium is in the process of undergoing a refit and expansion, which will bring the capacity of the stadium to approximately 24,000 seats as well as improving facilities for players, the clubs, supporters and the media.
Parramatta Stadium is the second sports ground to occupy the site, the first being Cumberland Oval (now Old Kings Oval) which was the main sporting venue of the Parramatta District from the mid 19th Century through to the 1980s, hosting horse-racing, cricket, rugby union, athletics and speedway. Among the famous names who used the oval in their respective sports were English cricketer W. G. Grace, and Australia's triple Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham who raced Speedcars at the Cumberland Speedway in the 1940s.
While used since 1847 as a sportsground, the first stand at Cumberland Oval was built in 1850 and others followed at various times up to the final stand was built in 1936. The oval was surrounded by a post and two-rail fence that was constructed in the 1860s by players of the Central Cumberland Cricket Club.
Central Cumberland Cricket Club (formed in 1862) played at Cumberland Oval from 1863, and played famous England XI touring sides during the 1880s and 1890s. Now known as the Parramatta District Cricket Club, the Sydney grade cricket club still plays at the oval.
Rugby league was played at Cumberland Oval from as early as 1909 by local clubs such as Parramatta Iona, Endeavours and the Western Districts representative side. When the Parramatta District Rugby League Club (later known as the Parramatta Eels) was admitted into the NSWRL Premiership in 1947 Cumberland Oval became the club's home ground. The first match was played against Newtown (now Newtown Jets) on 12 April 1947, before a crowd of 6,000. The largest crowd to watch a rugby league match at Cumberland Oval was 22,470 when the Eels took on the South Sydney Rabbitohs on 26 April 1971. Cumberland Oval remained the home ground of the Parramatta Eels until 1981, playing their last match there against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in August in front of their seasons highest home attendance of 18,449 before going on to win their maiden NSWRL Premiership by defeating Newtown 20-11 in the Grand Final at the Sydney Cricket Ground. After losing the 1976 Grand Final 13-10 to Manly, and the 1977 Grand Final replay 22-0 to St George (the original Grand Final was drawn 9-9), 1981 was the first premiership success for the Eels.
As the Parramatta Eels secured their first-ever Premiership, defeating the Newtown Jets in the 1981 Grand Final, wildly jubilant scenes erupted in Parramatta, the Leagues club quickly overflowed with Eels fans celebrating with thousands rallying at nearby Cumberland Oval and, in a frenzy of excitement, burning the Oval's grandstand to the ground.
After the destruction of Cumberland Oval, a new stadium was to be built on the site, which was approved by the New South Wales Government for development in 1983 and the contract for the construction and design of the stadium was put up for tender. In November 1984 the construction company Civil & Civic won the contract to design and build a new stadium less than 100 meters from the site of Old Kings Oval (previously known as Cumberland Oval).
In November 1985 the stadium was complete and the grass was planted. On 5 March 1986, the Parramatta Stadium was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. On 16 March, the first NSWRL Premiership match was played at the ground with 26,870 in attendance. Parramatta's Steve Sharp scored the ground's first try in the Eels' 36 – 6 victory over the St. George Dragons. The only try for the Dragons came when centre Michael O'Connor fielded an infield kick from Eels front rower Paul Mares and raced 91 metres to score with a flying Eric Grothe only just failing to stop him as he came across in cover.
On 20 May 1990, the 1989–90 National Soccer League Grand Final between western Sydney based clubs Sydney Olympic and the Marconi Stallions was played at the venue. Olympic win the match 2–0 in what was the highest soccer attendance at Parramatta Stadium stands at 26,353.
On 19 June 1992, the Parramatta Eels versus Great Britain Lions game on the Lions 1992 tour of Australasia attracted a crowd of 18,220, the largest non-Test match crowd of the Lions tour, with Parramatta winning 22–16. Prior to the match, Parramatta and Great Britain winger's Lee Oudenryn and Martin Offiah, generally regarded at the time as the fastest player in rugby league, faced off in a Tooheys Blue Label challenge race over 100m (try line to try line). Oudenryn caused what many believed to be a huge upset by defeating Offiah by approximately half a metre.
In December 2002, work began on converting the formerly grassed hill areas (The Brett Kenny Hill and The Peter Sterling Hill) into seated terrace areas (holding 4,500 spectators). This redevelopment reduced the ground's capacity to 21,500, down from the previous capacity of 27,000.
On 23 March 2013, the third Sydney derby saw the highest A-League attendance at Parramatta Stadium, with 19,585 turning out for the occasion, which ended in a 1–1 draw.
Parramatta Stadium announced on 9 October 2013, that for the first time in the history of the stadium that it would take on a naming rights sponsor. Pirtek, a hydraulics company with origins in Western Sydney, are the sponsors of the stadium and the stadium will be known officially as "Pirtek Stadium".
Plans to further expand Parramatta Stadium were originally initiated in May 2007. The Parramatta Stadium Trust announced plans to build a new southern stand with room for 2,700 extra patrons as well as a players change room and gym. The plans were not followed through on and no construction was done.
In 2010, a commission was done to establish a "Master Plan" for the future development the stadium. The master plan, if completed, would have the stadium finish with a capacity of 31,300 seats as well as extensive redevelopment of the facilities at the stadium for players, corporate sponsors, the media and supporters.
On 2 July 2013, the Australian Federal Government, the New South Wales State Government and Parramatta Local Council announced an expansion for the stadium. An existing fund of $8 million for upgrading the stadium was combined with $20 million of new funding. The expansion will increase the capacity of the stadium to 24,700. It also contains refurbishment to the corporate hospitality facilities, food & drink outlets, bathrooms, extending the training field to full football size as well as upgrading gym facilities for the use of the Eels. It is expected to be complete in early 2015.
Western Sydney Wanderers along with Active support group the Red & Black Bloc have campaigned for the installation of German style rail seating to enable Safe standing in the Northern Terrace as part of the expansion and upgrade to be completed by 2015. The club imported 7 sets of rail seats and worked with Parramatta Stadium to perform a successful test installation. If the proposed installation is completed it would be the first safe seating installation in the country, in any sport.
When the Parramatta Eels are playing the ground's eastern grandstand is named the Mick Cronin Stand and the western grandstand, the Ken Thornett Stand in honour of two of the club's leading former players.
Between 1999 and 2004, the stadium was home to Parramatta Power, a National Soccer League (NSL) club owned and operated by the Parramatta Leagues Club (owner of the Parramatta Eels rugby league club). With the announcement of the demise of the NSL and the creation of the A-League, the club was wound-up at the end of the 2003–04 season. Parramatta Power contested the last ever NSL Grand Final against Perth Glory at the stadium. The ground hosted seven NSL Grand Final matches, in 1986 (second leg), 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 2001 and 2004. In April 2007, Sydney FC played one game in the AFC Champions League against Persik Kediri at Parramatta Stadium. In February 2010, during the 2009–10 A-League season, Sydney FC defeated Perth Glory 3–2. The game had been moved from the Sydney Football Stadium due to the Edinburgh Military tattoo. On 26 July 2012, new A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers announced a five-year deal with Parramatta Stadium, and made its debut with a crowd of 10,458. On 25 October 2014, the stadium hosted the first leg of the 2014 AFC Champions League Final between Western Sydney Wanderers and Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.
Parramatta Stadium has been used for various rugby league matches such as pre-season Sevens tournaments in 1989 and 1990, and a test match against France in 1994. Parramatta Eels is the main Rugby League team to use this stadium as their home-ground usage in the NRL premiership season. They have been here since 1986. In 1995 and 1996, the ground was also used for the short-lived Sydney Tigers, what became of Balmain Tigers. In 1997 the Sydney Tigers went back to being the Balmain Tigers and moved back to Leichhardt Oval. Also in 1995, the Canterbury Bulldogs team changed their name to 'Sydney Bulldogs', and played their home games at this ground. In 1996, they reverted to their original name and returned to Belmore Oval. Recently the stadium has been used as a host venue for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and the 2010 Four Nations. Two of Ireland's 2008 Rugby League World Cup Group C games were played at Parramatta Stadium: one against Tonga and the other against Samoa.
On 18 September 1997 two 1999 Rugby World Cup qualifiers – Western Samoa vs Tonga and Australia vs Fiji—were played at Parramatta Stadium. A number of NSW Rugby Union club matches were played at the ground between 2001 and 2002. Australia A also played a match against Canada in 2002 at Parramatta Stadium. During 2007, Parramatta Stadium was also the home ground for the Western Sydney Rams club side that participated in the now defunct Australian Rugby Championship.
Baseball has also been played at Parramatta Stadium with the Sydney Blues playing home matches there. The Sydney Blues entered the Australian Baseball League in 1992 and played out of Parramatta Stadium to much controversy of having such a short home run fence in right field. The Sydney Blues were later known as the Sydney Storm who also played some games at Parramatta, until the collapse of the Australian Baseball League in 1999.
Parramatta railway station and Parramatta ferry wharf are both approximately 2km from the stadium. The station is served by trains of the North Shore, Northern & Western Line and Blue Mountains Line. The Cumberland Line also calls at the station, though it only operates for limited hours and only on weekdays. The wharf is serviced by the Parramatta River ferry route. Westmead railway station is within a 30 minute walk through Parramatta Park.
There is a carpark at the stadium with approximately 300 parking spaces that are reserved for stadium staff, the media, match officials and players. On non-match days this parking is opened to the public. There are multiple public parking areas within walking distance of the stadium. These spaces include Parramatta Pool, several churches and schools in the area, as well as parking being available to members of the Parramatta Eels Leagues Club. In addition to these close parking areas, there are 1000's of spaces in the Parramatta area as a whole that are within walking distances or through shuttle buses from Parramatta railway station. Parking can also be found in Westmead near Parramatta Park.
For all major events at the stadium a free shuttle bus service runs from the Parramatta City Centre to Parramatta Stadium. In addition, the Parramatta Loop Shuttle Bus runs every 10 minutes, seven days a week on a continuous loop around the city centre connecting rail, bus and ferry transport interchanges with local clubs and shops, and other community hubs.
- The highest crowd to attend a match at Parramatta Stadium was for the rugby league Test match between Australia and France in 1994. This game attracted a crowd of 27,918 fans and was the first test played in Sydney since 1909 that was not played at either the Agricultural Oval (Sydney Showground), Sydney Cricket Ground or the Sydney Football Stadium.
- The highest crowd to attend a match at Parramatta Stadium for a club match was 27,243 (Parramatta Eels versus South Sydney Rabbitohs in round 24 of the 1986 NSWRL season.)
- The highest crowd to attend a match at Parramatta Stadium after the redevelopment of the hill areas is 21,141 (Parramatta Eels versus Wests Tigers in round 7 of the 2006 NRL season.)
- "Western Sydney Wanderers welcome extra seats as Parramatta Stadium gets upgrade". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "Parramatta Stadium". discoverparramatta.com. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "Steve Sharp". yesterdayshero.com.au. SmartPack International. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- Parramatta vs St George - Parramatta Stadium first game
- Parramatta vs Great Britain highlights 1992
- "Pirtek buys naming rights to Parramatta Stadium". smh.com.au. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Parramatta Stadium to build new Southern Grandstand, Parramatta Stadium Trust Retrieved on 18 September 2007
- "Master Plan". Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Parramatta Stadium Given $20 Million Funding Boost". Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Facelift for a famous arena: $29 million revamp for Parramatta Stadium". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "Western Sydney Wanderers want more seats at Parramatta Stadium before A-League season kickoff". adelaidenow.com.au. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Venues Confirmed for NSW National Competition Teams, NSW Rugby Retrieved on 27 February 2007
- "Free Parramatta Shuttle Bus". parracity.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 23 October 2014.