Margaret Court Arena
Arena in use during the 2017 Australian Open
|Full name||Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park|
|Former names||Show Court 1 (1988–2003)|
|Location||Melbourne Park, MSEP |
|Owner||Melbourne & Olympic Parks|
|Operator||Melbourne & Olympic Parks|
Hardwood (Basketball / Netball)
|Construction cost||A$ 180 million|
|Architect||NH Architecture and Populous|
Australian Open (1988–present)
Davis Cup (Australian national team)
Melbourne United (NBL) (2014–2015)
Melbourne Vixens (ANZ/NNL) (2015–present)
Collingwood Magpies (NNL) (2017–18)
Margaret Court Arena is an Australian tennis and multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue located in Melbourne, Victoria. The arena, which was built in 1987, has a capacity of 7,500. The venue is part of the National Tennis Centre at Melbourne Park, which is part of the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct (MSEP).
Originally named Show Court One, the venue was opened in 1988, the year the Australian Open tennis championships moved from Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club to Melbourne Park. The show court had a capacity of 6,000 people and was renamed to Margaret Court Arena in early 2003, as a tribute to Australia’s most successful female tennis player.
In response to the issue of recurring heatwaves at the Australian Open, as well as a demand for a smaller multi-purpose stadium in the city, the Victorian Government announced in January 2010 a redevelopment plan for Margaret Court Arena, to occur in tandem with a broader upgrade to the Melbourne Park precinct, at a total cost of $363 million. Lend Lease Group was awarded the tender in October 2011, at which point the Government announced the cost of the upgrade to the arena exclusively; $180 million. Construction of the arena began in March 2012 and was undertaken by NH Architecture and Populous.
The redevelopment made the arena the third in the precinct to have a retractable roof and increased the stadium capacity from 6,000 to 7,500 seats. The redevelopment was completed in January 2015, prior to that month's Australian Open. The arena is the third largest capacity venue at the Australian Open tournament, behind the 15,000 capacity Rod Laver Arena (centre court) and the 10,500 seat Melbourne Arena.
Sports and events
The arena has hosted tennis matches at the Australian Open every year since 1988. Since the redevelopment in 2014, the arena has increasingly been used for sports such as basketball and netball, as well as musical concerts.
Professional netball clubs the Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies play some home matches at Margaret Court Arena, typically when the adjacent Melbourne Arena is unavailable. The Vixens announced their intention to move home games to the venue in March 2013, stating that the "redeveloped venue is going to be fantastic for us for at least the next five years." In netball mode, the venue can be configured to hold either 5000 people in its bottom tier or 7500 when both sections are open. The Australia national netball team have also hosted test matches at the venue.
National Basketball League club Melbourne United played some of their home matches at Margaret Court Arena. The club announced it had signed a "multi-year deal" in August 2014 to split 12 of its 14 home matches at Margaret Court Arena and Hisense Arena. United played their first home game at the arena on 12 November 2014 and they defeated the Cairns Taipans 91-76 before a crowd of 3,393 fans.
In addition to being able to host various sporting events, Margaret Court Arena also hosts a number of concerts, ensuring Melbourne has a third indoor entertainment venue, all of which are located within Melbourne Park and feature retractable roofing. The arena has played host to artists such as Bob Dylan, Cloud Control, The Black Keys, Delta Goodrem, Demi Lovato, Hilltop Hoods, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Selena Gomez, Imagine Dragons, 5 Seconds of Summer, Angus & Julia Stone, Little Mix, The B-52s and many more. The venue has a capacity of 6,500 for concerts though has the flexibility to downsize for smaller events.
In May 2017, an open letter by Margaret Court was published in The West Australian, addressed to the board of Qantas and its CEO Alan Joyce. In it, Court declared her intention to boycott the airline (where possible) over it having "become an active promoter for same-sex marriage." Joyce has advocated for same-sex marriage, writing that "[s]ame-sex marriage isn't a niche issue. It's about basic rights and equality – the 'fair go' that's such a fundamental Australian value." Court has been a critic of homosexuality for several decades. A social media campaign was instigated to boycott events at the venue until it received a change of name. The venue responded on Twitter stating that it did not support Court's comments and "embraced equality, diversity and inclusion."
- Public Architecture Award (Alterations and Additions) — 2015 Australian Institute of Architecture Victorian Awards
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- Joyce, Alan (15 September 2017). "The marriage equality plebiscite message: our parliament can't do its job". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Margaret Court vows to stop flying Qantas over marriage equality stance". The Guardian. 25 May 2017. Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017 – via AAP.
- Schow, Ashe. "A tennis arena was named after a woman because of diversity". The Daily Wire. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
- "It's Time For Promoters To Boycott Margaret Court Arena - Noise11.com". www.noise11.com. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- FitzSimons, Peter (25 May 2017). "Margaret Court's anti-gay rights stance deserves a boycott of its own". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- MCA – Margaret Court Arena [@MCourtArena] (25 May 2017). "Melbourne & Olympic Parks does not support Margaret Court's comments" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 26 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017 – via Twitter.
- "Margaret Court Arena". NH Architecture. 1 January 2016.