The Australian Open will run from 16 to 29 January 2017. Get tips for buying Australian Open tickets and find out what’s new at the tournament for 2017.
What’s New for 2017
The Entertainment Precinct
The Australian Open team continually strive to improve and expand the reach of the tournament. In 2016 they introduced an AO Live Site at Birrrung Marr which had a massive screen for watching matches, sponsors activities plus loads of pop up bars and food trucks. Birraung Marr is located on the banks of the Yarra River between Fed Square and the home of the Aus Open, Melbourne Park. It’s a short 5 to 10 minute walk from either location and proved to be a nice place to stop and relax while walking back to the CBD to get a tram or train home. It also created a place where people could enjoy the atmosphere of the Australian Open without paying for a ticket.
In 2017 the Birrarung Marr area will step up another notch, with the entertainment area being moved there from Grand Slam Oval.
Grand Slam Oval was previously the main area inside the grounds where sponsor activities were located, along with food, merchandise, big screens and a Heineken/Jacob’s Creek bar areas next to a stage that offered live music every night. This area being inside the grounds was a key reason many non hard core tennis fan bought After 5 ground passes and visited the grounds in order to enjoy the entertainment.
While the bands will be moved to a music zone accessible only to Australian Open ticket holders, the rest of the entertainment in Birrarung Marr will be accessible for free.
And there will be a free music festival held the weekend before AO starts.
The New Grand Slam Oval
The new Grand Slam Oval will be split into four areas which will be themed in relation to the other grand slams; Paris, London and New York. Each area will have relevant food and drink options, plus activities and styling. Sponsor activities will continue to be held in Grand Slam Oval.
New Main Entrance
For many years the main entrance to the Australian Open has been in front of the steps that lead up to Rod Laver Arena. There were also entry areas from the tram stops near Garden Square and Hisense Arena.
In 2017 the main entrance will face the CBD and be accessed from a new footbridge.
I’m going to go to the grounds in the next few days so stay tuned for another update on how it all looks.
Kids Tickets for $5
As shown below in the screen shot of Ground Pass prices, ground passes for kids aged 3 to 14 years, will only cost $5 each (pre-purchase). I think this is great move in terms of making the tournament more accessible to families. There is so much value in a Ground Pass, including access to the Practice Courts. In 2017 Ground Pass holders will also have access to a new area called The Ballpark.
Super Row Tickets in Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena
Front row tickets at the ends of the court can now purchased as Super Row tickets.
If you’re looking for an incredible Aus Open experience with excellent seats, have a look at the Australian Open ticket packages available from Grand Slam Tennis Tours.
Reserved seats in Hisense Arena (HA)
Years ago, back when Hisense Arena was known as Vodafone Arena, the majority of seats were accessible via a ground pass, while the front sections behind the baseline at both ends were reserved seats. (This was my preferred ticket for many years. Then for the last year or two HA all seats were accessible via a ground pass.
In 2017 there will again be reserved seating available in HA, located at the southern end of Hisense Arena, in sections 11-16 and 35-42.
What tickets should you buy?
The Australian Open has three main courts
Rod Laver Arena (RLA)
This is Centre Court, is fully ticketed and has a roof. Day and evening sessions are played in RLA for the first 11 days. On day 12, 13 and 14 the men’s semifinals, women’s final and men’s final are played.
Note – you need a separate ticket for the day and evening sessions.
Margaret Court Arena (MCA)
Eight day and six night sessions are played in MCA during days one to eight.
MCA is the No.2 court, has a roof and is also fully ticketed. Day and night sessions also need separate tickets.
Hisense Arena (HA)
Matches are played in Hisense Arena for the first eight days of the tournament.
HA is the No.3 court, also has a roof (yep, that’s 3 courts with roofs to ensure that play will go on despite bad weather!) is accessible with a ground pass and will have some reserved seating in 2017 as mentioned in the ‘what’s new’ section.
- If you’re definitely planning to attend AO with a Ground Pass on a certain day, buy your tickets in advance as the price goes up by $5 per ticket from midnight on the first day.
- Ground Passes can be upgraded to RLA or MCA tickets. To check availability and pricing once you’re on the grounds, go to the ticket booths located at the edge of RLA and Hisense Arenas.
A few more thoughts
While it’s impossible to predict the AO schedule, Australian players are likely to be scheduled on Rod Laver Arena, particularly during the night session, to suit the local TV audience. Also be aware that free-to-air TV is likely to cover the match that includes an Australian. This can mean that the high-ish ranked player who you anticipated to be scheduled on RLA plays on Margaret Court Arena, and you won’t get to see the match live on free-to-air TV.
The top seeds are also likely to be scheduled to play on Rod Laver Arena, which is great if you have tickets and one of your goals is to see those players live. Often in the early rounds the matches played by top seeds can be one sided and over quite quickly (depending upon the draw of course). Then again, the unexpected upsets and big fiver setters can happen too.
Added to Aussies getting scheduled on RLA at night, they will often be scheduled on Hisense Arena to draw a big crowd and create value for Ground Pass holders. This can create big queues to get a seat so if an Australian is playing don’t expect to turn up at match time and be able to get a seat easily.
Seat Selection Tip
It can get really hot during the Australian Open. When buying tickets for both RLA and Hisense Arenas you can select Best Available or Best Available in Sun or Shade. Shade is a good option, however these tickets are popular so can sell out quickly, and shaded areas are subject to the weather conditions on the day.
Be prepared for hot weather
Although it can get extremely hot, the Australian Open organisers do everything they can to help spectators stay cool. There are covered areas around the grounds where you can take a break from the heat, along with big cooling fans and free water stations where you can refill your water bottles.
Whatever ticket you buy, be prepared for the Australian sun. Wear long clothes, sunglasses and a hat, apply sunscreen and keep it handy and have a water bottle that you can refill as needed.
Bring supplies with you
The Australian Open allows you to bring food and drinks in to the grounds. It can be a long day when play goes late into the night so come prepared with enough supplies, or money to buy them from the food and drink vendors located around the grounds.
For good spectator etiquette your bag should be able to fit neatly under your seat so that it’s easy for people to get past when moving to and from their seats.
Note that alcohol, glass, containers larger than 1.5 litres and the other items listed below will not be allowed in to the grounds. Read more about what you can bring to the Australian Open.
Tip About Leaving the Grounds
The Australian Open allows pass outs so if you need to leave the grounds and want to come back in later, just make sure you scan your ticket out when you leave.
Whatever ticket you decide to buy, the Australian Open offers a wonderful fan experience. Enjoy!
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal