Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce a partnership with Western United Football Club that will see the A-League team based at the NEC Hangar for at least the next two years.

The partnership marks a significant progression in the second stage of the club's commercial and strategic growth plan for the NEC Hangar precinct.  

In an affiliation that will see the NEC Hangar extend its capabilities as a world-class, all-purpose precinct alongside existing partner Paralympics Australia, Western United’s football program will relocate to the Melbourne Airport base from this week, with the club’s administration joining early next year.

In parallel, the NEC Hangar precinct will also expand to include elite underage AFL pathway programs and take the initial steps in the development of a new medical precinct through a partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, with the potential to broaden the scope to accommodate a range of various health services being actively explored.

With the latest $21.5m expansion to the NEC Hangar recently completed, the Bombers will soon proudly unveil their new dedicated community, education and events centre, marking the $50m precinct as the missing link in Melbourne’s north-west region for sports and community infrastructure.

03:24 Mins
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NEC Hangar expansion comes to life

Harris HMC, Kevin Sheedy and Xavier Campbell take you inside the stage two development of the NEC Hangar.

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Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell welcomed Western United Football Club to the NEC Hangar. 

“We welcome Western United as partners at the NEC Hangar and look forward to a strong partnership between the cross-code organisations over the years to come,” Campbell said.

“The partnership will see Western United primarily utilise the community oval on our training fields, with their players and staff also accessing some of the new performance and expanded office areas. While this partnership will deliver important outcomes for the Essendon Football Club, providing an important step forward in our aspirations for developing a truly world-class, multi-faceted sports and community precinct, it’s also important to note that the partnership and particularly the use of training facilities will have no direct impact on the operations of our football programs. That said, we expect the partnership over time to provide a range of opportunities for growth as our staff and players develop relationships and identify and leverage opportunities for mutual benefit.

“We continue to be proud of our long-standing partnership with Paralympics Australia, one that continues to go from strength-to-strength since 2012. The NEC Hangar will now be home to three of Australia’s premier sporting organisations, with particularly strong connections in the north-west region of Melbourne. The growth of the NEC Hangar as a vibrant multi-purpose facility accommodating both elite and community sport, also aligns perfectly with the broader growth projections of the wider Melbourne Airport precinct, specifically the Elite Park zone of which we are a proud foundation partner.

“With our existing dedicated community oval, coupled with a new community and education hub, sports museum, function centre, athlete accommodation, community health and wellbeing centre and public cafe set to be officially unveiled in the coming months, the NEC Hangar’s vision to meaningfully serve Melbourne’s north-west community will soon come to life.

“It's important for our members to understand that our number one priority when we first considered the strategic commercial direction for the NEC Hangar precinct was to protect our men’s and women’s football programs, and to ensure that they were in no way compromised. We are confident that his has been achieved and that these additions will only enhance the overall football experience given the vastly expanded capacity at the NEC Hangar."

Western United CEO Chris Pehlivanis praised the alignment between the two clubs in the new partnership.

“Our core values at Western United are togetherness, effort and growth, and this partnership speaks to those values in every way," Pehlivanis said.

“Our club has grown enormously over a short period of time and as a result, we needed to explore all options to accommodate both our staff and our players and their increasing high-performance needs.

“To be able to utilise the world-class facilities at the NEC Hangar and bring our team together was a really attractive solution for us while we build our permanent home in Tarneit.”