The AFL, the Victorian government and the Melbourne Cricket Club have a $500 million contract for the grand final to be played at the MCG until 2057.
That deal was signed in 2018, but the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic in Victoria has effectively, for this year, ripped the agreement up, with Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday all but conceding that the game would have to move.
As the state governments brush up their bids, we assess the case for and against each state as host of the 2020 premiership decider.
Venue: Optus Stadium
COVID-19 crowd cap: 30,000 if the grand final is held on October 17, possibly more if it’s October 24 (normal capacity is 60,000).
Last weekend Fremantle vs Sydney was played before a crowd of 24,714 on Saturday, and 27,339 were in the house for West Coast vs GWS on Sunday.
Quarantine? Yes. Anyone travelling to WA for the game, including players and officials, still have to quarantine for 14 days.
The case: WA Premier Mark McGowan has repeatedly said his state has the best stadium for the game, but crucially won’t budge on quarantine expectations for AFL sides.
He also said the state has not “hunted” the grand final like Queensland.
A full crowd at Optus Stadium would mean a bigger financial windfall for the debt-ridden AFL too, reportedly $27 million.
When asked about an October 24 grand final in front of a full crowd in WA, McGowan said: “That’s one of the queries they’ve [AFL] put to us, we’re obviously getting health advice around that and we’ll get back to them with that health advice shortly”.
Venue: The Gabba
COVID-19 capacity: There are hopes for a 30,000 crowd at a Gabba grand final, but this is less certain than WA (Gabba capacity is 42,000).
There were almost 14,000 at the Gabba on Sunday for Brisbane’s win over St Kilda, which is close to the current restricted limit.
Quarantine: No. By the final round all teams will have been in either Queensland or South Australia for two weeks. Anyone making a late-season dash from Victoria would have to complete two weeks quarantine though.
The case: Without Queensland this season simply would not have worked, and the AFL’s financial black hole would have been significantly larger.
The state has allowed AFL teams to hub in the state and has made its stadiums available for games to occur and crowds to attend – crucial for television and fan revenue.
This goodwill looms as key in the AFL’s decision-making.
A grand final in Queensland would be a win for the AFL in a growth market, where television ratings are up (admittedly off a low base).
Venue: Adelaide Oval
COVID-19 capacity: Currently just over 10,000, but there are hopes it could be raised to 25,000 for a grand final (normal capacity is 53,000).
Quarantine: No. With most clubs based in Queensland by the end of the season travel between that state and SA for AFL clubs and officials does not require quarantine.
The case: Early in July South Australia didn’t come to the table when the AFL wanted to establish hubs in the state.
The re-developed Adelaide Oval is arguably the best place to watch footy outside of the MCG.
New South Wales
Stadium: ANZ Stadium
COVID-19 capacity: Not clear at the moment. This week’s A-League semi-finals will have 25 per cent capacity at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta.
25 per cent of ANZ Stadium’s 83,500 is almost 21,000.
Quarantine? No. All teams are in Queensland and SA so can travel to NSW.
The case: Both the Victorian government and the MCC – both have a say in the decision – are opposed to New South Wales getting the event, therefore it looks almost impossible.
The ANZ Stadium surface has long been a problem during AFL games.
Source & More: https://www.theage.com.au/