Melbourne: Spectator Sports
Australia's multicultural hub
Melburnians are sports enthusiasts and particularly passionate about Australian Rules football, a sport invented in Melbourne. In fact AFL is not so much a sport as a religion in Melbourne with 9 of the 10 Victorian teams being based in Melbourne, the only other being based in Geelong. As a guide, the entire national competition only has 16 teams, meaning over half the league is based in Melbourne. Horseracing is another passion, and the majority of the state has a public holiday on the first Tuesday of November for the racing of the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s famous horse races. Cricket is the big summer sport and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the 'MCG') is one of the world's leading grounds.
Each January, Melbourne hosts tennis' Australian Open, one of the world’s four Grand Slam championships. In March, Melbourne hosts the first race of the Formula One season, the Formula One Grand Prix. The race is held in Albert Park in South Melbourne. Melbournians have also taken football (soccer) to their hearts in recent times.
The Melbourne Victory, playing in Australia's premier competition, the A-League, enjoy enormous crowds and colourful, boistrous support at their home ground, Etihad Stadium (previously known as the Telstra Dome). Melbourne is the unquestioned sporting capital of Australia with the largest arenas and two of the major sporting administrations basing their operation in Melbourne: Cricket Australia is a stone's throw from the MCG, and the Australian Football League games are played at both the MCG and Etihad Stadium.