Melbourne Arena renaming an ode to John Cain


Melbourne Arena renaming Image: Melbourne Arena

The multi-use Melbourne Arena in Australia – underlined by its retractable roof – is all set to be renamed in the treasured memory and as a tribute to the Australian politician and the 41st Premier of Victoria, John Cain.

The present Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, made the announcement recently that the venue would be rebranded as John Cain Arena in memory of the former State Premier, who died in December 2019 at age 88.

The 10,500-seat Melbourne Arena is one of the main facilities which stage the signature tennis annual Grand Slam event – Australian Open. The venue also plays host to the games played by local basketball and netball teams.

Earlier, the stadium was known as Hisense Arena but it got the name Melbourne Arena in 2018 after Chinese multinational electronics manufacturer Hisense ended the naming rights deal that it had held since 2008.

Media reports quoted Andrews as saying, “John Cain made an enormous contribution to Victorian life and it’s particularly appropriate that we honor his legacy at Melbourne Park.”

He also informed that the venue will change its name to John Cain Arena in the coming months after an agreement with Tennis Australia – “People will see his name and know the story of a man who made our State a better place.”

Tennis Australia –the governing body for the sport of tennis in Australia – has agreed to relinquish the naming rights.

“I don’t think we would have the Australian Open anywhere near the major event it is now [without Mr Cain]. Perhaps it wouldn’t even be here. What is now Melbourne Arena will become John Cain Arena and I think that’s a fitting tribute to his passion for that precinct and a life that enriched all of us.”

Sports and Major Events Minister Martin Pakula said the honor bestowed on the Late Premier bears testimony to his vision. The Victorian Government has spent almost $1 billion on Melbourne Park since 2010 and the Australian Open will remain in Victoria until at least 2036.

“We’re seeing the benefits of that today with something like 800,000-plus people going through the gates over two weeks and the Australian Open being bigger and better than ever, and locked in here in Melbourne for many years to come. John Cain’s vision was to have a permanent home for the Australian Open right on the doorstep of the city and it’s now grown into one of the great sporting precincts of the world,” he added.

John Cain served as the Premier of Victoria from 1982 to 1990 and was instrumental in the Australian Open’s relocation from Melbourne’s Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club to the Melbourne Park complex in 1988 thus ensuring that the Grand Slam tournament remained in the State.

This year’s Australian Open concluded recently with numero uno Novak Djokovic walking away with the men’s singles title and American tennis sensation Sofia Kenin lifting the women’s singles title.

A total of 812,174 fans attended the Australian Open over 14 days, breaking 2019’s attendance record of 796,435.

The Melbourne Arena is high on the popularity chart as a sporting and entertainment venue.

Since moving to the complex from Kooyong, the Australian Open has emerged as Australia’s sporting spectacle with humongous crowd attending the event.

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