Sydney’s ANZ Stadium has been shortlisted for this year’s TheStadiumBusiness Awards in the ‘Event of the Year’ category after it successfully hosted two Arsenal pre-season matches last summer.

The English Premier League football club faced off against Sydney FC on July 13 and Western Sydney Wanderers on July 15 – with both matches attracting over 80,000 fans.

The ‘Arsenal in Sydney Week’ also saw some 20,000 fans turn out to watch an open training session on the Friday between the two matches.

The hugely successful mini-tour has seen ANZ Stadium nominated for the Event of the Year at the 2018 Awards, which take place on June 12 at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.

The event was a joint venture between Arsenal, ANZ Stadium operator VenuesLive, and Destination NSW, the lead government agency for tourism in the state of New South Wales. The event attracted more than 38,000 interstate and regional visitors, 2,600 international visitors, and injected A$24m into the NSW economy.

A range of fan engagement initiatives were launched as part of the event, including kids training clinics, special appearances, a joint kit launch with Sydney FC and an official Arsenal fan party.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said at the time: “I must say after two nights here, we had over 160,000 people at the games and I am just absolutely bewildered.

“I am a long time in the game and it was amazing. We are very, very happy to have so many fans here. The people here in Australia are wonderful, they are very respectful, very nice, they love the Premier League and overall Sydney is absolutely beautiful so it was a dream to stay here.”

Two other Australian venues have been nominated in the category – Adelaide Oval for the first Day-Night Ashes Test, and Suncorp Stadium for the WBO Title Fight boxing match. The other three nominees are Wrestlemania at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, US; #Game4Grenfell at Loftus Road in London, England; and NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England.

A full list of the nominees can be found here.

Image: Adam.J.W.C.