The AFL was entitled to acquire the stadium land for just $30 in 2025 but has for months been pushing for an early release. The deal is said to be valued at $200m, a report from The Age
“We are delighted to have assisted our client on the sale of this landmark asset. The sale process involved complex commercial and legal issues which concerned a range of stakeholders,” said Evie Bruce, KWM M&A partner.
“Throughout the process we were able to leverage our market-leading capabilities and experience across a range of practice groups to help execute the transaction and deliver a positive outcome for our client and the future of the stadium,” the KWM team leader added.
Bruce was supported by Special Counsel Andrew Phillipson and Solicitors Luke Mulcahy and John Arthur, with Partner Claire Rogers and Senior Associate Chris Allfrey advising on financing arrangements, Partner Simone Menz and Senior Associate Kate George advising on real estate issues and Partner Darren McClafferty and Senior Associate Greg Protektor advising on tax.
Management rights and freehold ownership will transfer to the AFL which will formally take over the stadium in early November.
The transaction gives AFL ownership of the stadium nine years early and provides a significant financial boost to tenant clubs which have voiced dismay over unfavourable deals.
In a statement, the AFL said that owning the stadium enables it to continue to strengthen the financial health of several Victorian Clubs, develop an asset for the whole industry and commit to being a serious stakeholder in the future of the Docklands precinct.
“The AFL will continue to operate Etihad Stadium as a multi-purpose entertainment venue hosting AFL matches, other sports, concerts and a broad range of entertainment options,” it added.
King & Wood Mallesons advised Melbourne Stadiums Group, owners and operators of the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, on the sale of the stadium to the AFL.