In 1880 Canterbury Cricket and Athletics Sports Co. Ltd was established. In 1882, Edward Stevens and Arthur Ollivier initiated the purchase of a parcel of swampy farmland (the actual cricket ground was in low-lying area and basically sitting on a large pool of saturated land) which became Lancaster Park, and Lancaster was the name of the farmer and previous landlord. For Stevens, this was a transaction through his company, Harman and Stevens, on behalf of the owner, Benjamin Lancaster. Canterbury Cricket and Athletics Sports purchased 10 acres 3 rods 30 perches (4.426 hectares) for £2,841 at £260 per acre (NZ$ 1284.95/hectare). In 1904 Canterbury cricket would become the sole owner of the ground. Then in 1911 the Canterbury Rugby Union became co-owners with the Canterbury Cricket Association over the ground. An Act of Parliament in November 1919 vested title to Lancaster Park in the Crown, and established the Victory Park Board to take responsibility for its management.
JADE Stadium Limited was established in December 1998 to manage the existing facilities on behalf of the Victory Park Board and the Christchurch City Council. A five-member board of directors, drawn from Christchurch's business community and the Christchurch City Council, governed the company.
In 1881 the first cricket match to be played on the ground was scheduled for the opening on 8 October, but it was cancelled because of rain. An athletics meeting became the first event held on the ground, on 15 October.
In 1912 a "Floral Fete", a festival, was held to raise funds to clear the debt of £2,000 in order to prevent the ground being cut up into building sites.
The financial difficulty the ground faced was so great that during New Zealand's involvement in World War I in 1915 the main oval at Lancaster Park was ploughed up and was used as a potato field in an attempt to raise more revenue.
The embankment was expanded in 1957, increasing the capacity to 33,000. Two new stands were opened in 1965 further increasing the capacity to 38,500. In 1995 the Hadlee Stand opened in tribute to the successful cricketing family which came from Canterbury. The Hadlee stand was the first stand to be demolished due to earthquake damage. In 2000 saw the demolition of the embankment and No. 4 stand and the opening of the DB Draught stand (renamed the Tui stand in 2006) and the Paul Kelly Motor Company Stand (West Stand). Both stands sustained severe slump damage during the earthquake in 2011. Although deemed repairable it is unlikely they will be as the cost would be too expensive.
As part of a $60 million redevelopment for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the Eastern Stands (No. 1, 2 and 3 stands) were demolished and replaced with the new Deans Stand. The Stand was designed to reflect the newly completed Western Stand. The total capacity was 38,500 and was to be raised to nearly 45,000 with temporary seating for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, in what would have made it the second largest stadium in New Zealand after Eden Park.
On Tuesday, 22 April 2008 a press release was issued announcing that the new East Stand, built to replace stands demolished in 2007, as part of a redevelopment of the Ground, was to be named the Deans Stand when it was officially opened in January 2010. The Deans Stand has a seating capacity of 13,000. The stand was severely damaged in the earthquake when the piles it stood on were violently forced up and then down in a wave motion. It is slated for demolition.
The Deans name has been a part of rugby at the stadium for more than a century. Bob Deans was an All Black and also captained the team, Bruce and Robbie Deans were both All Blacks and members of the Canterbury team with Robbie also coaching the Crusaders, Bob's brother Colin played rugby at the ground, Bruce & Robbie's father
Tony played cricket on the ground, and in the sixth generation of the family
Milly Deans is a member of the Canterbury women's rugby team. The name Deans is also the family name of the first successful settlers in the city with brothers John and William Deans building their house in 1843.
The stadium was closed because of the severe damage sustained during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The first of its stands, the "Hadlee Stand", has been demolished. Seven 2011 Rugby World Cup matches scheduled for the stadium in September were moved to other venues. Demolition of the rest of the stadium is expected to start in December 2017 and take approximately one year. There is a rebuilding proposal to move the ground to within Christchurch's Four Avenues inner city boundary. In the meantime, games would be played in the site of Rugby League Park.