The ground was first built in 1908, at which point it was known as Mueller Park. In 1969 a three-tier stand was constructed at the western end of the stadium, and in 1981 a two-tier stand on the members' wing was completed. A further redevelopment came in 1995 with the opening of the new two-tier "ANZ Stand" (now NAB Stand) opposite the members' wing. In 1997, light towers were installed at the ground. The last redevelopment, which converted the stadium into an all-seat venue, was completed in 1999 at a cost of A$35 million.
Subiaco Oval from the three tier stand during a football game
The three-tier stand is named the Orr-Simmons-Hill stand, in honour of three leading figures in the history of WAFL (then known as WANFL). This was proudly and prominently displayed on the exterior western face of the stand right up until the early 1990s, when it was replaced with the logo of a commercial sponsor. There is a small plaque remembering the original naming of the stand, mounted in one of the stairwells, and each tier has a sign on the back interior wall; for example, the first (ground) tier is the R.W. Hill Tier, second is the W.R. Orr Tier. (W.R. Orr was Secretary of the WANFL in 1932, R.W. Hill was Captain of West Perth in 1940 and 1941, and Secretary of the WANFL in 1968).
Subiaco Oval's capacity is 43,500 fully seated. The ground is floodlit by four lighting towers. There was some initial concern vented surrounding the lack of aesthetic value of the proposed floodlights, but after their deployment these concerns quickly subdued although the local community still experiences a range of issues with events at the venue.
AFL Playing Surface:
Length: 175 m
Width: 122 wm
Goals run east to west
Fence to Fence
Subiaco Oval is the longest ground in the AFL competition, with visiting interstate teams often having to adjust their playing style accordingly. In the mid-2000s the ground was sometimes referred to as "The House of Pain", with many visiting teams losing by lopsided scores.
Ground naming rights
In 2003, the retail telecommunications company Crazy John's controversially attempted to buy the naming rights to the ground, but the bid was denied by the local Subiaco council, which refused planning permission for advertising signs on the stadium's exterior. More recently, in May 2005, a non-commercial name change was being considered; the proposal to rename to 'ANZAC Field' was put forward by the WA Football Commission, but rejected by the Minister for Veterans Affairs, De-Anne Kelly, as Anzac is a federally protected word. In October 2010, Perth-based stockbroker Patersons Securities bought the naming rights, and the name of the ground was changed to Patersons Stadium. The Western Australian Football Commission accepted it and said it would put money back into all levels of football.
As a music venue
Subiaco Oval has been the venue of major music concerts. These include:
Due to its large size and oval shape, the venue is not well suited to music concerts and is known to have very poor acoustics. It is often chosen for large concerts because there are no other venues of comparable capacity in Perth.
The oval is served by Subiaco and West Leederville train stations, which have been upgraded to handle more passengers. Special bus routes are run for football matches and other special events. In 2007(as well as 2008,2009 and 2010) tickets to AFL games included free travel on buses and trains for three hours before and after the game. This increased the proportion of football fans using public transport from 23.4% to 32.6%, with Dockers fans more likely to do so than Eagles fans. The completion of the southern suburbs railway is expected to increase patronage by replacing buses from south of the river with faster and larger trains.
Proposals for rebuilding or demolition
In 2005 the West Australian Football Commission released a $235 million plan (excluding transport infrastructure or land acquisitions) to increase the stadium to a 60,000 seat venue in a staged project. However, this proposal became a matter of significant debate in Western Australia. Although the demand for a larger stadium was undeniable (in 2005 the West Coast Eagles had 42,000 season ticket holders in a 43,500 seat stadium), the option of developing and expanding Subiaco in order to meet this higher demand was called into question. An alternative plan was tabled for the construction of a new stadium which would seat 70,000 and have retractable seating to cater for rectangular field codes, and appeared to be the lead candidate. Others argued that it may be more cost effective to re-develop Subiaco to 60,000 seats, and redevelop Perth Oval, a small rectangular stadium in Perth, to 35,000 seats to cater for rectangular field sports.
Subiaco Oval being configured for a Super 14 match in 2006.
The Government of Western Australia had already commenced development of a Major Stadia review project in late 2003 which led to much interest in the future of major sporting venues in Western Australia. A Major Stadia Taskforce was appointed in early 2005 and released the Perth Major Stadium Interim report in June 2006. The taskforce delivered its final report in May 2007, which recommended the construction of a new 60,000 seat stadium at either Kitchener Park (which adjoins Subiaco Oval) or in East Perth, suitable for Australian rules football, cricket and also rectangular-field sports such as rugby. It recommended against the further development of Subiaco Oval, which would be demolished.
In July 2007 the Government of Western Australia announced its preference to build a new 60,000-seat stadium rather than re-develop Subiaco Oval. Early the following year, the Government confirmed that Subiaco Oval would be demolished for the new Perth super-stadium to be built at the adjacent Kitchener Park. The new 60,000 seat stadium would be built between 2011 and 2016, with the majority of the stadium being completed in 2014. Subiaco Oval was set to be demolished between 2014–2016 to allow the end of construction on the new stadium.
Following the election of a new State Liberal party government, Premier Colin Barnett, announced in February 2009 that, in light of the State's deteriorating finances, his Government had scrapped plans for a new outdoor stadium. He stated that a new stadium, including an alternative proposal to redevelop Subiaco Oval, would not be considered for at least two years. However, in December 2009 he announced that he wanted to demolish Subiaco Oval and build a new stadium so Perth can host some soccer World Cup games in 2018 or 2022. He stated that this would involve a complete demolition of the old stadium and the building of an entirely new stadium on the site, and suggested this would likely cost well in excess of $450 million.
In June 2011 the Premier announced the Government's decision to proceed with development of a new major stadium on the Burswood Peninsula, known as Perth Stadium. This stadium will have a minimum capacity of 60,000 seats and a maximum of 70,000 seats.
The Government has made no specific announcement regarding what will happen to Subiaco Oval following the construction of the new stadium at Burswood.