McDonald Jones Stadium, formerly known as Hunter Stadium, is the centrepiece of the Hunter Venues sports precinct. Originally known as the International Sports Centre, it was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on April 10 1970.
This rectangular multi-purpose outdoor stadium with a capacity of up to 30,000 is home ground to the Newcastle's two flagship sporting franchises, the Newcastle Knights and the Newcastle Jets. The Newcastle Knights have claimed the NRL Premiership on two occasions in 1997 and 2001, while the Newcastle Jets were victors in the 2008 Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
The venue was managed by the Newcastle Knights from 1988 until 2011 when the NSW Government took ownership. McDonald Jones Stadium is part Venues NSW’s portfolio which includes ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium in the Greater Sydney region, WIN Sports and Entertainment Centres in Wollongong and the Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground in the Hunter region.
The venue has undergone a large scale redevelopment which commenced with the building of the Andrew Johns Grandstand in 2003. The following four years saw the demolition and rebuild of the Western Grandstand. The newly constructed Western Grandstand was first open to patrons in April 2011 for the Newcastle Knights match against St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Western grandstand features 13,500 seats, 21 corporate suites, 5 function rooms, 8 food and beverage outlets and world renowned player change room and media facilities. These facilities have won several building and construction industry awards including the 2012 Engineering Excellence Awards for Engineers, Aurecon, and the redevelopment project was recognised as the Newcastle winner of a Master Builders Association award for Commercial Projects Over $20 million in 2011.
McDonald Jones Stadium has hosted several international events in recent years including an exhibition match between the Newcastle Jets and David Beckham’s LA Galaxy, Nitro Circus events, rugby league test matches and the 2013 Special Olympics Opening Ceremony.
In 2014 McDonald Jones Stadium was granted funding to upgrade the stadium surface ahead of AFC Asian Cup in January 2015. McDonald Jones Stadium hosted four AFC Asian Cup fixtures, including the Socceroos’ Semi Final against United Arab Emirates.
In 2017, the venue hosted NRL’s All Stars match in addition to the Westfield Matildas versus Brazil match which was played in front of a record crowd for a standalone Matildas match in Australia.