- Owner: Northern Territory Government
- Operator: AFL Northern Territory
- Opened: 1991
- Capacity: 12,000
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Marrara Oval (also known as Football Park and currently as TIO Stadium due to naming rights) is a sports ground in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. The ground was built in 1991 and Australian rules football and Cricket are primarily played at the venue. The venue was officially opened to the public on 30 June 1991 and was conservatively estimated as costing $8 million. Events held at the stadium includes two Parramatta Eels National Rugby League matches (one trial and one premiership), Northern Territory Football League matches, pre-season Australian Football League matches, and also two AFL Premiership matches each year. The record crowd of 17,500 was set in 2003 for an AFL pre-season practice match between the Aboriginal All-Stars and Carlton Football Club which the All-Stars won.
The first game played under lights at Marrara was a match between Nightcliff and Southern Districts on 9 December 1994. Transport and Works Minister Daryl Manzie officially handed over the lights to the NTFL that day. Installing the lights cost $1.2 million. The light towers were constructed by Darwin firm Norbuilt.
In 2003 the Northern Territory Goverment began a $3 million redevelopment of Marrara Oval to enable the hosting of international cricket and AFL matches.
- resurfacing Marrara Oval including a new irrigation and drainage system;
- 1273 new grandstand seats
- upgrade of players dressing rooms and ablution blocks including installation of
- ice-baths to aid recovery and rehabilitation of athletes;
- first class player viewing areas that are air-conditioned and situated on the boundary of the field;
- upgrading of the umpires room;
- practice and drop-in pitch areas;
- new media area;
- upgrade of the public address system
- installation of three-phase power to cater for food stalls and outside broadcast areas;
- installation of additional turnstiles
- installation of a $200,000 scoreboard.
In 2009, the Government offered 2 million in upgrades to TIO Stadium and Traeger Park to attract regular AFL games. The deal included a new permanent toilet block, a new corporate area, office fit out and training lights on the second oval at TIO Stadium.
In 2014, AFL NT released its vision for major upgrades at the ground to bring the facility inline with other states. Estimates up to $80 million have been placed on infrastructure upgrades and work on both playing arenas at the ground.
Port Adelaide played the first AFL game for premiership points at Marrara in Round 20 of the 2004 season. However the crowd record is 17,000 for a preseason exhibition game between Carlton and the Aboriginal Allstars in 2002.
In 2009, the Northern Territory Government signed a deal for 10 AFL matches over 5 years. The matches in Darwin featured n Darwin, the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne Demons and Richmond Tigers will rotate as the home team from 2010-2012. Port Adelaide will be the away team in each of these years. Additional matches would include 2011 Indigenous and 2013 Indigenous All Star match in Alice Springs subject to facility upgrades, and an annual pre-season NAB Challenge matches to be continue to be played at Traeger Park.
In 2013, the Melbourne Football club announced that it would play a preseason game and 2 home and away season matches in the Northern Territory for 2014.
In 2o14, the Northern Territory Government announced it had signed a deal to have Melbourne play 4 premiership games through 2015 and 2016.
In 2016, the Northern Territory Government and the Melbourne Football Club came to an agreement to play 2 games a year in the NT – one at Marrara Oval, the other at Traeger Park – for 3.2 million over the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
|Best Crowds – Premiership Season|
|14100||Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2006|
|13271||Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2004|
|13037||Western Bulldogs v Carlton||Marrara Oval||2005|
|11873||Melbourne v West Coast||Marrara Oval||2015|
|11506||Richmond v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2011|
|11449||Western Bulldogs v Fremantle||Marrara Oval||2007|
|11373||Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2008|
|11306||Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2009|
|11080||Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2010|
|9290||Melbourne v Fremantle||Marrara Oval||2014|
|8848||Melbourne v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2010|
|8724||Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast||Marrara Oval||2012|
|8163||Melbourne v Fremantle||Marrara Oval||2016|
|7850||Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2013|
|7615||Melbourne v Brisbane Lions||Marrara Oval||2013|
|7255||Melbourne v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2011|
|6714||Melbourne v Port Adelaide||Marrara Oval||2012|