The announcement in April 2005 of Melbourne's first dedicated rectangular pitch stadium saw construction works begin on the Edwin Flack Field following the 2006 Commonwealth Games. More than excite soccer and the rugby fans who'd been waiting so long for a significant dedicated venue, AAMI Park's striking design generated great interest as the city's latest iconic landmark.
The first match at AAMI Park on 7 May 2010 was a rugby league international which generated a sellout crowd of 29,442, braving heavy drizzle to see the Kangaroos fend off the fast finishing Kiwis 12-8. Melbourne Storm christened their new home two days later and enjoyed solid crowds for the remainder of their dramatic season, which concluded as the nightly roof lighting displays commenced.
AAMI Park made a concert debut of sorts in October, when at short notice the venue hosted the AFL Grand Final Replay 'live site' and post match celebrations which featured Lionel Ritchie, and of course 15,000 delirious Collingwood supporters.
The much anticipated inaugural Melbourne A-League derby between Victory and new club Heart had to be postponed but the clash didn't disappoint, with a Victorian inter-club record of 25,887 fans witnessing Heart's 2-1 triumph.
After an earlier trial match between the Melbourne Rebels and Canterbury Crusaders, Super Rugby made its debut at AAMI Park on 18 February 2011 when the NSW Waratahs defeated the Rebels 43-0 in front of a crowd of 25,524. AAMI Park celebrated its first birthday when the Rebels took on the Reds in May 2011. Fireworks were jettisined from the roof and fans enjoyed post-match field access with players staying out to sign autographs. A total of 655,029 attended just over 50 events in 2010/11.
Other notable events in 2011 included the Glasgow Celtic FC v Melbourne Victory friendly and the Melbourne Storm v Warriors Preliminary Final which attracted 28,580 for a heart-stopping match. The venue's first concert was held on 2 December 2011 when one of the world's most popular rock bands, the Foo Fighters, attracted almost 30,000. The following night they again broke the stadium attendance record with 30,083.
Victory's signing of Harry Kewell for 2011/12 and Melbourne Heart's outstanding form culminated in the highest A-League attendance at AAMI Park - 26,581 for the derby rightly dubbed the 'Christmas Cracker' on 23 December. The following derby on 4 Feb was notable for marking the millionth sports fan to have attended the Stadium since its opening, the milestone celebrated with a 360 degree 10 billion pixel FanCam image taken at half time.
After a long lay off, international football returned to the precinct on 29 February when the Socceroos defeated Saudi Arabia in a World Cup Qualifier in front of 24,214. In wet conditions the Aussies were 2-1 down late in proceedings, only to raise the roof with three goals in quick succession.
In April 2012 the Stadium held it's 100th event. In the same month the Professional Footballers Association bestowed two honours upon the venue, that of the A-League's best pitch for 2011/12 and the best atmosphere (Melbourne Victory). PFA CEO Brendan Schwab, Melbourne Heart defender Simon Colosimo and Victory captain Adrian Leijer were on hand (right) to deliver the awards to the Stadium's horticulture team. By the time of the Stadium's third anniversary nearly 2 million patrons had attended 146 events at AAMI Park.
AAMI Park holds its own amongst famous neighbouring landmarks - the MCG, the Arts Centre, Government House, the Botanical Gardens and Rod Laver Arena. For the Stadium's short history it has won wide acclaim and awards locally and internationally for architecture, engineering, construction, atmosphere and viewing experience, and the pitch itself.