Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Adelaide Entertainment Centre (AEC) is an indoor arena located in the South Australian capital of Adelaide, and is used for sporting and entertainment events. It is the principal venue for concerts, events and attractions for audiences between 2,000 and 12,000. It is located on Port Road in the suburb of Hindmarsh, just north of the Adelaide city centre. With modern architecture and acoustics, function rooms and award winning catering, the Adelaide Entertainment Centre provides a live entertainment venue for hundreds of thousands of people each year. The 3,500 capacity Apollo Stadium, which had been Adelaide’s primary entertainment and indoor sports venue since 1969, was increasingly considered to be too small to meet this need. The AEC was built at a cost of $44 million, and was officially opened on 20 July 1991 by John Bannon, the then Premier of South Australia.
Before the AEC was built it was generally believed by the people of Adelaide that it would also be the new home of the Adelaide 36ers who played in the National Basketball League as they played their home games at Apollo and a move there when it opened seemed natural as ticket demand for the 36ers was more than twice what the old stadium could hold. This speculation was also fueled by the success of other teams in the NBL, namely the Brisbane Bullets, Perth Wildcats, and Sydney Kings who had moved all into their respective cities larger Entertainment Centres and were attracting record crowds. However, both Basketball SA and the 36ers wanted their own venue and thus the 8,000 seat Clipsal Powerhouse (now Adelaide Arena) was opened in 1992.
The South Australian Government assigned responsibility for the management of the AEC to the Grand Prix Board in 1989. In August 1998, the Government established the Adelaide Entertainments Corporation. The first Board of Directors for the AEC was formally appointed on 9 February 1999. The current Board consists of seven Directors.
In 2007, the Rann Government announced plans to renovate the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. The Government released the statement: "The State Government is committed to the vision of creating a vibrant entertainment and media precinct on the Adelaide Entertainment Centre Site". On 6 August 2007, the renovation plans were passed[by whom?] and construction began on the $52 million upgrade. Tourism Minister Jane Lomax Smith said: "the upgrade comes on the back of a record breaking last 12 months, with more than 370,000 passing through the centre’s doors, and record profits recorded."
The renovation included: major upgrades of the foyer, backstage area and corporate facilities; creation of additional car parking; new staging and curtains; renovation of administration areas; and restoration of the heritage listed Revelations Chapel for use as a wedding and function venue. In the main arena itself 8,000 new seats were also installed.
The centre not only holds music and cultural events, but hosts the occasional sporting event such as netball, as well as Professional Wrestling with the World Wrestling Entertainment using the venue for the Adelaide leg of their Australian tours.
On 7 November 2010, the centre played host to the ANZ Championship grand final between local team the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic team from New Zealand. The Thunderbirds won the grand final 52 42 in front of 9,300 fans. The Entertainment Centre was chosen over the Thunderbirds usual alternate venue, the Adelaide Arena, due to its ability to hold more spectators and because ticket demand was more than the Adelaide Arena’s 8,000 capacity.
The centre also hosted the opening two games of the 2012 Holden Netball Quad Series in a double header with Australia taking on England and New Zealand taking on South Africa.
On 14 July 2013, the AEC hosted its second ANZ Championship grand final when the Thunderbirds hosted the Queensland Firebirds. The T Birds kept their winning record at the venue when they defeated the Firebirds 50 48 in front of 9,000 fans.
Kylie Minogue performed here for the first time on 25 and 26 April 2001, during her On A Night Like This Tour. Minogue returned on 30 November and 1 December 2006 as part of her Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour. Kylie performed again 18 June 2011 as part of her Aphrodite: Les Folies Tour and returned on 17 March 2015 during her Kiss Me Once Tour. The arena is the largest auditorium in South Australia.
The centre it is capable of operating in several different modes, including an ‘intimate’ mode (2,000 4,500 patrons), end stage mode (4,500 7,500 patrons) and ‘360 degree’ mode. With a general admission floor and Corporate level seating, the maximum capacity of the AEC is 12,000 making it the sixth largest permanent indoor arena in Australia behind Sydney’s Allphones Arena (21,000) and Entertainment Centre (13,250), Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena (15,000) Perth’s Perth Arena (15,500) and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre (13,500).
The AEC has a complete in house catering operation that provides for audience food and beverage requirements, as well as banquet, function, seminar, tradeshow, corporate suites and backstage requirements. The AEC also provides corporate hospitality in the form of 31 suites that are leased on a 2 5 year basis.The Adelaide Entertainment Centre holds various functions throughout the year for corporate clients and private hirers including gala banquets, dinners, breakfasts, conferences, weddings and wedding ceremonies. The Arena can accommodate a banquet for up to 1000 guests.
The AEC is also home to the Revelations Chapel which is heritage listed and non denominational. This venue can host both wedding ceremonies and functions.
The Adelaide Entertainment Centre has more than 1,400 car park spaces available on site for concertgoers. Entry/Exit is via Mary Street, Manton Street or Adam Street only. $12 parking fee applies for event parking. Please allow for possible delays on exiting the car park after major events.
Note that Car Park access may be closed or restricted to Park ‘n’ Ride users during the staging of Adelaide Entertainment Centre events. Bus stops are located on Port Road and Manton Street (rear of the AEC) within close walking distance. The Bowden railway station is located within a minute’s walking distance from the main entrance of the AEC. The completion of the new tram extension, which stops at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre Station, allows further access to and from the City and Glenelg.