Melbourne Sports Events



Stylish and cosmopolitan, Melbourne is rightfully regarded as Australia’s cultural capital. Its cityscape is a blend of old and new, comprising elegant Victorian architecture and an array of modern skyscrapers—and with ever-present trams rattling through the streets it’s easy to see why Melbourne is called the country’s most European city.

Sport-mad Melbourne

Victorians and their sport… it’s kind of like a ‘kids in a candy shop’ scenario. And with something on seemingly every weekend, no matter the sport, the size of the ball or the surface on which it’s played, locals simply can’t get enough of the action.

What to watch

Australian Open

January in Melbourne is all about the tennis—over the course of two thrilling weeks, tensions and temperatures run high on court as players vie for the title of the year’s first grand slam tournament. Due largely to the sheer passion of the spectators, The Australian Open has been affectionately dubbed the Happy Slam. The atmosphere is electric, especially towards the tail-end of the tournament. There’s nothing quite like spending a warm summer’s evening inside a packed Rod Laver Arena cheering on your tennis idols. Live entertainment is also provided by a number of up-and-coming bands as they grace the ever-popular Heineken Live Stage.

Footy (AFL)

Melbourne is the birthplace of Australian rules football and is home to 9 of the 18 current clubs in the Australian Football League (AFL). Footy in this town is not merely a pastime—it’s a religion, a lifestyle, as much a part of Victorians as the blood running through their veins. To give you an idea of its popularity, it ranks fourth in the world with other sports in terms of average attendance per game. The primary venue for the AFL is the MCG—or Melbourne Cricket Ground—which swells to capacity (90,000+) for some games. The season culminates in the AFL Grand Final, traditionally held on the final Saturday in September or the first Saturday in October. The whole city comes together to celebrate the occasion, either with neighbourhood barbecues or drinks at the local pub—or of course at the G for those lucky enough to snag a ticket.

Melbourne Cup

Billed as the race that stops the nation, the Melbourne Cup is the biggest event on the Aussie horseracing calendar. Held at Flemington Race Course on the first Tuesday in November, the 3,200m race features 24 thoroughbreds aged three years and older—and what awaits at the finishing line is not only fame and glory but a total prize pool of over $6 million. The event is such a big deal in Victoria that the date is recognised as a public holiday for the state. Record crowds flock to Flemington in the hope of winning big—but as many would argue, it’s as much about the on-field fashion as it is about the race.

Motor racing

Right before the footy season kicks off, all sporting eyes turn to Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix. Originally run at Phillip Island in 1928, and having been held in every state in Australia, the event is now well and truly a Melbourne institution. Part of the Formula 1 World Championship, the event draws over a 100,000 spectators on race day. Off the track, there’s plenty of entertainment to keep crowds enthused, with live bands and of course the stunning aerial acrobatics performed by the Australian Air Force.