History

John Cain Arena has long been the home of the most iconic and world-class event experiences Australia has to offer.

The venue is notably acclaimed for hosting the Australian Open, as well as Melbourne's most celebrated sport and entertainment events.

John Cain Arena is home to a range of professional sporting teams, including Melbourne United & South East Melbourne Phoenix (Basketball) and the Melbourne Vixens & Collingwood Magpies (Netball).

With the largest floor space at Melbourne & Olympic Parks, this venue can be configured in almost any format.

This incredibly versatile venue boasts an ICU internationally accredited 250 metre cycling track, a Plexicushion tennis court used predominantly for the Australian Open, concert quality acoustics and an innovative seating design that ensures spectators are close to the action at all times.

FAST FACTS

  • Opened: 2000
  • Seated-capacity: 10,500
  • Area Size: 13,100 square metres in total, with 2,760 square metres of floor space.
  • Record crowd (sport): 10,300 - Melbourne United v Brisbane Bullets (Basketball), December 26, 2016.
  • Record crowd (concert): 11,293 - RNB Fridays Live,  November 15, 2016.
  • Tenant clubs: Melbourne United, South East Melbourne Phoenix, Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies.

Early Days

The land on which John Cain Arena is built was once part of Yarra Park.

The main playing field located here was established along with a pavillion in 1868 for the Civil Service Cricket Club.

When the club struck serious financial problems it transferred their lease to Scotch College in 1879 for 1000 pounds.

When the College moved to Hawthorn and no longer required the field, the occupancy was sold to the Melbourne Cricket Club.

However, Old Scotch Collegians Football Club(est 1921) continued to utilise this fenced oval until 1992 when the field was essentially shifted to the current location ('The Oval') adjacent to Rod Laver Arena.

 

Old Scotch Oval captured in the 1930s.

Multi Purpose Arena

Built by Theiss Constructions at a cost of $65 million, the venue was completed in 2000.

Overseen by the Victorian Government Office of Major Projects, the Arena was designed by Peddle Thorp Architects.

The cycling track was designed by world-renowned track builder Ron Webb, an Australian and one of only two such experts in the world.

During construction (and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games), the Arena was simply known as Multi Purpose Venue and it opened as Vodafone Arena, before Hisense took over the naming rights.

In August 2018, the venue was renamed as Melbourne Arena and in December, 2020, the venue memorialised John Cain with the establishment of John Cain Arena.