Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia will host a one-day international cricket match between Australia and England on January 28, it has been announced today (Monday).
It will mark the first official sporting event to be held at the 60,000-seat stadium and is set to become one of the highest-attended sports matches in Western Australian history.
The date is about two months ahead of the originally targeted open date of the start of the 2018 AFL Aussie rules season.
The McGowan Government has reached an agreement with Cricket Australia and the Western Australian Cricket Association to stage all Test matches and limited overs matches featuring England, South Africa and India – as well as Big Bash League Twenty20 matches – at the venue from 2018. Remaining Perth international and domestic cricket matches will be played at the WACA Ground.
Earlier this month, telecommunications company Optus acquired naming rights for the venue in a deal reported to be worth more than Aus$50m (£28.5m/€32.1m/$37.8m) over the course of 10 years. However, due to Cricket Australia’s insistence on ‘clean venues’ for all international cricket matches, the facility will be referred to as Perth Stadium in all match-related coverage.
Tickets to the match will go on sale from this Friday.
Mick Murray, Western Australia’s Sport and Recreation Minister, said: “An international cricket match between Australia and the old enemy, England is the perfect opener for the world-class Optus Stadium.
“We will have a sell-out crowd in the stadium – while putting Perth on display to an international TV audience of millions. These kinds of events attract tourists to not only attend the event, but fill hotel rooms and provide more business for local restaurants, bars and tourism operators.
“This match adds to the growing list of exciting events already booked at the venue and the McGowan Government continues to work towards securing as much sport and entertainment content as possible.”
Optus Stadium will officially open on January 21 with a free public open day. Following the England-Australia ODI a week later, an AFL Women’s match featuring the Fremantle Dockers will be held on February 10.
The stadium is also said to be keen on hosting a football friendly featuring Australia before the team heads off to next year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia.
Australia secured qualification for the World Cup last week with a play-off win over Honduras and a high-profile friendly has been touted for next March. Italy and England are said to be two countries Football Federation Australia is considering for the game, according to the PerthNow news website.
FFA chief executive David Gallop said, according to PerthNow: “March is the next opportunity and off the back of this week it would make sense to look for a big opponent to be played in Australia. The chance is there for state governments and stadiums to put their best foot forward and bid for the game.
“The new stadium at Perth will be brilliant and the travel distance is advantageous for European nations and our own players who play there. Unashamedly we need a good financial result but pitch quality and travel are important too, and Perth is certainly expected to tick both those boxes.”
The World Cup will run from June 14 to July 15 next year.
Image: Perth Stadium