Hotel group Accor has become the naming-rights partner of Sydney’s 100,000-capacity Stadium Australia.

The seven-year deal will see the arena – built as the centrepiece of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the home of the NRL Grand Final – rebranded as Accor Stadium.

Accor becomes the third group to acquire naming rights to the Venues NSW-operated stadium, with past partners including telecoms company Telstra and ANZ Bank.

The first event at the renamed arena will be the Australian national women’s football team’s game against USA this weekend.

“New South Wales is open for business and we are thrilled our local fans, along with interstate and international visitors, will be able to experience fantastic sporting and entertainment venues like Accor Stadium,” said Natalie Ward, NSW’s Minister for Sport.

“Accor Stadium will have an important role to play in NSW in 2022 and beyond and I can’t wait to see the seats filled again by those enjoying the experience of a large-scale live event.”

The new partnership comes a year after plans for an Aus$800m (£434m/€484m/$539m) revamp of the stadium were scrapped with the NSW Government diverting funds to a job-creation fund in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans included reconfiguring the playing field from an oval to a rectangular shape and redeveloping the lower and middle seating to increase the steepness of the seating bowl to provide better views.

Accor Stadium is estimated to have welcomed 30 million visitors since it opened in the lead-up to the 2000 Olympic & Paralympic Games.

With a capacity to hold concerts for 100,000 spectators and over 80,000 people for seated sporting events, the stadium has hosted major sporting events as well as music artists such as U2 and Guns N Roses.

Accor Stadium will soon feature one of the world’s largest LED video screens at 1200sq metres.

“This screen is just one of many new enhancements that will improve the spectator and fan experience, and will be a unique signature of Accor Stadium,” said a spokesperson for Accor Stadium.

Accor opened a Novotel hotel in Sydney’s Darling Harbour 30 years ago and now has 395 hotels, resorts and apartments and 18,000 team members in the region.

“We are delighted to partner with Accor as we welcome people back to watch world-class sport and entertainment events,” said Daryl Kerry, chief executive of Stadium Australia.

“Accor Stadium will also play an important role in our community hosting a range of business, community and cultural events in the various function rooms and spaces inside the stadium.”

The stadium held its first event in March 1999 when it hosted the Bee Gees with a crowd of 66,000. Some 88,000 attended the first sports event later that year when Australia’s national football team played FIFA All Stars.

It was known as Telstra Stadium between 2002-2007, before a long association with ANZ Bank from 2007 until 2020.

Main image: Tommy Silver on Unsplash