AFL locks onto primetime Grand Final

First-ever night time grand final confirmed for October 24.

The AFL Grand Final will take place on Saturday October 24 in a history-making nighttime match.

CEO Gillon McLachlan announced 30,000 spectators would safely attend the event at the GABBA, at a press conference today on the Gold Coast.

Updated: AFL confirms a 6:30pm start Qld time (7:30pm AEDT Melbourne).

The change follows a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also contingency plans in case of a positive COVID-19 breakout including a shift to Adelaide Oval.

McLachlan said bids by all states to host the event had been impressive and competitive.

The AFL reviewed bids to host the Grand Final at the Gabba in Queensland, the newly built Optus Stadium in Western Australia and the recently reconstructed Adelaide Oval in South Australia.

McLachlan said, “The presentations were outstanding, and a decision was extraordinarily difficult. In the end the AFL Executive and Commission based its decision on these key criteria: Safety in the best environment for all; Integrity and the need for uncompromised games in a high performance environment; our Fans and the engagement of existing and new supporters; Financial Support for our game in a year where revenue has been so impacted; and the Legacy in the long term vision for our game.”

It will be the first time in AFL history the game’s showpiece event is held away from Victoria. It has been played away from the MCG just once in the last 74 years, when it was hosted by Waverley Park in 1991 due to reconstruction works.

Entertainment is yet to be confirmed but McLachlan said Australian acts would star.

The Grand Final will return to the MCG next year, which now has the event until 2058 -extended by one year.

Seven CEO and Managing Director James Warburton said: “The Grand Final at the Gabba is the culmination of an incredible season of collaboration with the AFL. Together we’ve been able to deliver a top-quality broadcast schedule in a season like no other, and it’s a testament to the strength of our partnership that the fans have continued to see great footy throughout.”

Managing Director Seven Melbourne and Head of Network Sport Lewis Martin commented: “We applaud the AFL’s decision to play the 2020 Grand Final at the Gabba. It’s just reward for the way Queensland has stood up in the competition’s season of need and will also ensure – on the back of another Lions’ finals push and the Suns’ rise in 2020 – that footy continues to go from strength to strength in the Sunshine State. We’d also like to acknowledge the incredible effort of the clubs to keep the season on track and now on the verge of a thrilling finals series. At Seven, we’ll roll our sleeves up and get ready to deliver an AFL Grand Final of epic proportions to all Australians, one that will be part of a truly historic day of sport that also features the 100th running of the iconic Cox Plate.”

Seven will announce more details of its Grand Final broadcast in the coming weeks.

39 Responses

  1. Seems from reading AFL Commentators thoughts on this, that really it came down to a crowd of 30,000 at the GABBA (42,000 capacity) is going to look better than the same at Optus Stadium (60,000 capacity) or Adelaide Oval (55,000 capacity) as both offered the same crowd size of 30,000, so it’s what’s going to look good on TV. WA apparently said that by October 24th they may allow more into the Optus, however couldn’t commit on it, so yeah 30,000 scattered in the stands on a 60,000 capacity just wouldn’t have looked the same, same with Adelaide Oval, so I’m sure the commentators are correct in their assessments (they did read all the proposals handed to the AFL). AFL State or non-AFL State they will get 30,000 at the GABBA as let us not kid ourselves the majority ogf that will be Corporate anyway, like for the MCG there are 30,000 tickets put aside for that, won’t go into it all but…

    1. >> so it’s what’s going to look good on TV. <<

      If that was the case the GF would be in Adelaide. Fact is, the AFL have only survived the year because of Queensland – giving them the GF is the honorable thing to do.

      1. Yeah I’m talking what the AFL Media Reporters (Fox Sports, Herald Sun, The Age, Adelaide Now, Perth Now and etc., etc.,) are saying this morning. 30,000 in a 42,000 venue is going to look better than 30,000 in a 55,000 venue, the view is if South Australia had have gone to 40,000 it may have got the rights to it.

        I do agree though Queensland was the AFL’s lifeline for this COVID-19 Season and it is the right thing to do regardless.

  2. Remember when you sit down and watch your next game of AFL/NRL the government (state/federal) have chosen to see the priority of putting this back on before helping the 18,000 Australian still stranded overseas. When you sit down think of those families who aren’t back together because footy is more important than getting those Australians back. Where is the true priority here ….

    1. True, family’s don’t want a night game, should be for all supporters, greedy AFL and tv networks. Just ask cricket Australia how that works out for you when letting greed lead your decisions.

      1. I’m a mad AFL fan and so happy with this year they are trying a night time grand final. There’s been so much talk of it over the last few years, this is the year to do it. I do wish it was in Perth however, without QLD’s help there would be no game this year.

    2. Virtually every major sporting code on the planet plays its marquee games at night. The AFL has been very much the outlier on this to date. There’s the obvious benefits for broadcasters, but I reckon night makes a much better spectacle as well.

  3. Start moving every event from Melbourne. Melbourne Cup, Boxing Day Test, Grand Prix, Australian Open, etc. We deserve nothing. Great move from the AFL, but I’m a little disappointed WA missed out

    1. I’m sorry but you can’t have the Australian Open as a roaming event. It would cost way too much money to lay enough courts at different sites to host all the matches as well as have the space to stage all the other events on the grounds at the same time like the concerts.

    1. Yep and even in the Perth Now newspaper they and the Premier are acknowledging that:

      “I understand some WA footy fans might be a bit disappointed but we’ve been clear all along about our approach. No matter how much we may love football, sacrificing the hard border was a line I could never cross. I want to preserve the health, safety and freedoms that Western Australians have been enjoying. We weren’t prepared to compromise our health and quarantine conditions.”

  4. The GF was always going to be in Qld as soon as the Vic clubs hubbed there. Its the closes thing to home advantage the VFL can give them… If they were all based on Kangaroo Island, that’s where the GF would be this year…

    Should of been in either SA or WA. What an absolute joke.

    1. I think Optus stadium cant host GF due to sponsor rights. Even though QLD is a Rugby state, the state still hosted more AFL matches than SA and WA. AFL Grand FInal will definitely be on the primary channel in HD in all states.

          1. That’s being completely trivial and small minded. It could and would go ahead at Optus. A number of other factors lead the reason it wasn’t.

          2. Telstra are the major sponsor of NRL/State of Origin yet Perth has hosted multiple NRL matches and State of Origin at Optus.

      1. Yep and Perth would have been 3 hours for Vic, NSW and Tassie, 2.5 hours for South Aust and 2 hours for Qld, so could have had a 5pm start in WA which would be on at 8pm(ish) in the 3 hour ones, 7:30pm in SA and 7pm in Qld could have covered a lot of bases (and still in daylight out of Perth to the end). However yeah a 7pm start in Qld would work okay as at least WA get it at 5pm for pre-game stuff and 5:30pm for the Game and SA 7:30pm, anything earlier than that be problematic, tough enough for WA getting a Midday start when it’s the afternoon at the MCG.

    2. You should know that 7mate is now available in High Definition (HD) on channel 74 in the Capitals, that’s Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Been like that since the start of the year when 7food network crease broadcasting.

  5. It’s good that it is in QLD since they basically saved the AFL season, but I thought it would be at Optus Stadium with 60k capacity given they could start it at traditional time slot and it would be twilight for the easy coast which would make 7 happy. But I think they made the correct decision rewarding QLD!

    1. Yes I’m sure it’ll take in untold millions into the economy considering you cant cross the border ,I live here and I don’t think AFL is that popular here, Perth would have been better in my eyes.

      1. I live here too. I’m well aware AFL’s not the primary code, but I think people realise the significance of the event being held here. With the MCG contracted until the 2050s for the GF, it’s likely to be the only occasion in many of our life times it’s being held away from that ground.

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