As part of Disney's continued campaign to have Marvel dominate the world, an Australian sports arena is set to be renamed Marvel Stadium. Disney is of course basically the biggest entertainment company in the world at this point, being behind not only Marvel Studios' blockbusting MCU franchise, but also the Star Wars juggernaut, and that's not to mention all the huge films Disney makes that aren't from either of those universes. Disney will likely soon get even bigger, assuming Fox decides to stick to its sale deal with Mickey and reject new offers from Comcast.
It's really a perfect time for Marvel to get its own sports venue, as in many ways, it's never been more popular or important. Following the release of Avengers: Infinity War, just about all anyone can talk about is what comes next in 2019's still untitled Avengers 4, or how interstitial films Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel will serve to set up the ultimate culmination of the MCU's first decade-plus of films.
Now, The Age (via CBR) reports that Melbourne, Australia’s Etihad Stadium is set to be rebranded into Marvel Stadium. The change will take effect on September 1. The 56,000 seat stadium is used to house multiple sports, but is best known as the headquarters of the Australian Football League. The kind of football the AFL plays is quite different from that found in the U.S, but is quite the popular pastime in its native land. Additionally, soccer, rugby and cricket are also routinely played in the venue.
For those Aussie football fans worried that a Disney/Marvel rebranding will lead to the stadium experience becoming too Americanized, Melbourne Stadiums boss Michael Green promised that the changes wouldn't be overwhelming "We think there's no downside to having a more immersive experience ... we are not going to shove things down people's throat. What happens on the ground is still the star of every event, we are trying to enhance the experience, not take it over."
Still, Disney didn't pay for the branding rights to a stadium without plans to use it to promote Marvel. A Marvel store will be featured inside the building, offering fans a chance to purchase Marvel-branded merchandise of various flavors. Other "activations" will also be installed, which are designed to bring the MCU's popular characters to life in person. In other words, if for whatever reason someone has an abiding hatred of Marvel Studios, they're probably going to be annoyed at the visibility of the company's presence.
The most famous arena-set scene in the MCU to date is of course the one-on-one brawl between Thor and the Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok, which saw the two bruisers battle it out under the watchful eye of Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster. While one assumes that fight is unlikely to be restaged in Marvel Stadium, it wouldn't be too surprising if one of the "activiations" allows fans to experience the showdown between Thor and his "friend from work" in some type of interactive way.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019